October 1964

Taboo Topics.

Author Affiliations

Edited by Norman Farberow, PhD. Price, $4.50. Pp 140, with no illustrations. Atherton Press, a Division of Prentice-Hall, Inc., 70 Fifth Ave, New York 10003, 1963.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(4):581. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860100163054

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This volume grew from a symposium which was presented at the American Psychological Association meetings in New York in 1961. Feifel, Hooker, Murphy, Pomeroy, and Farberow presented papers on death, homosexuality, parapsychology, human sexual behavior, and suicide. The controversial themes of this text was expanded by contributions from Osgood on international affairs, Douglas on religion, Watkins on hypnosis, and Anthony on graphology.

This distinguished group of behavioral scientists might have illuminated some of these challenging areas of man's functioning. Instead, one is confronted with mundane comments on the difficulties the various researchers had in securing data. These papers can best be described as anecdotes rather than the "provocative essays" as described in the Foreword. The purpose of a scientific paper is to communicate ideas and not to fill pages with spurious comments. At times, an occasional author gives you a glimpse into the methodological difficulties, such as securing adequate interviewers

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