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March 7, 1964

Does Thinking Precede Feeling?

Author Affiliations

Glen Falls, NY

JAMA. 1964;187(10):781. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060230109034

To the Editor:—  If, according to the quote appearing in The Journal one week earlier, "The value of a hypothesis is inversely related to the number of acceptable alternatives,"1 then the hypothesis of Beck, as discussed in an editorial in the Dec 7, 1963, issue (JAMA186:946) may be of doubtful value. Beck seems to say that in the condition termed neurosis, there is first something called a thinking disorder, and that secondary to, and because of this, there occur abnormal variations in moods.There are at least two acceptable alternatives to Beck's hypothesis. The first could be termed the feedback loop theory. This states that the relation between so-called thoughts and feelings may be illustrated by the closed loop feedback model. In this mechanism, feelings influence thoughts which in turn influence feelings, by a mutual causal process.2 This could be called a neurocybernetic theory and has

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