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April 1969

The June Bug: A Study of Hysterical Contagion.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(4):489-490. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740160105015

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Although the understanding of the social phenomena of hysterical contagion would appear to be of great interest there are only a very limited number of accounts of such episodes or attempts at investigation in the literature. Incidents are difficult to locate and due to their nature can only be studied after the fact. Informants may not always be considered reliable and the possible variables may be so great in number as to fright en away the bravest of social scientists.

The authors of The June Bug: A Study of Hysterical Contagion have attempted to study such an incident, and although limited in its scope the study is a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge of human behavior. Alan C. Kerckhoff and Kurt W. Back diligently describe the difficulties of their work and possible contamination of their findings and therefore enable the reader to objectively evaluate their qualified conclusions.


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