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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 14, 2009

DISSOCIATION OF PERSONALITY AS A NEWS STORY

JAMA. 2009;301(2):226. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.941

The remarkable case of dissociation of a personality described by Dr. Morton Prince1 is well known to the medical profession. The subject is one that calls for careful investigation—in the interests of science at the hands of psychologists and neurologists, and in the interest of their potential patients at the hands of the profession at large. It is, however, an altogether different thing to publish the details of such investigations as a spice to whet the appetite for morbid curiosity of a sensation-loving public, as has been done recently by the publication of a story of the newspaper stamp made out of this case by a writer in the Ladies' Home Journal. Of course no one can prevent a “story” being made out of the contents of a book that can be purchased through any bookseller. It should be remembered, however, that this book is of a professional character and is of such a price as necessarily to minimize the likelihood of its being widely read outside of the clientèle for which it was written and it suitable. But we trust that the suggestion that the newspaper publication of this lurid story received the sanction of Dr. Prince, as might be inferred from the publication of Dr. Prince's portrait and the statement that it is based partly “on personal interviews with the author,” is incorrect.

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