July 10, 1926


Author Affiliations

By Ernst Kretschmer, M.D., A.O., Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tübingen. Translated by Oswald H. Boltz, M.D., Senior Assistant Physician in the Manhattan State Hospital in New York City. Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series, No. 44. Pp. 120. New York: Nervous & Mental Disease Publishing Company, 1926.

JAMA. 1926;87(2):119-120. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680020047032

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This monograph is not a clinical treatise on the symptoms and diagnosis of hysteria but a study of the dynamics of the hysterical reaction from a psychologic and neurophysiologic aspect. The author attempts, with admirable lucidity and simplicity, not merely to interpret the symbolism of the symptoms but rather to establish how they come about; to show how a tremor, an anesthesia or a paralyzed limb can arise and be maintained on the basis of some emotional conflict. The material studied is chiefly that of the war hysterias, but the arguments adduced serve equally for those of civil life. The explanations offered are based on a study of reflexes, their conditioning and the influence on them of conscious or volitional innervation. The hysterical reactions are more primitive, or "childish," than those of conscious selection, and are "release" manifestations brought about by paralysis of higher mechanisms through the shock of emotional

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