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November 23, 1907


Author Affiliations

Professor of Nervous and Mental Disease, Jefferson Medical College; Neurologist to the Philadelphia Hospital. PHILADELPHIA.

JAMA. 1907;XLIX(21):1729-1733. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25320210001001

This paper is prompted by the fact that of late various views have been enunciated which bear vitally on both the nature of hysteria and on its position in our nosology. It has seemed to me that the recent tendency has been to include under the term of hysteria symptoms that really belong to other affections, and further to apply interpretations that are fundamentally defective. Thus, a change in the personality such as gives rise to a multiple personality must certainly be admitted to be the exception and not the rule, and to claim disintegration as the essential feature of hysteria seems to me to be an error. It mistakes that which is merely an occasional epiphenomenon as the essential cause of the affection. Again the view that has lately been advanced by Babinski, that the symptoms of hysteria owe their origin entirely to suggestions from without, especially to suggestions

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