October 1976

Cognitive Performance in Conversion Hysteria

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(10):1250-1254. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770100112011

• In order to test some neurobiologically based assumptions pertaining to attention and memory dysfunction in conversion hysteria, a series of tasks was given to 17 hospitalized patients with hysterical conversion reaction and to a control group of nonpsychotic patients under conditions of nonstress and stress. The results indicated significant differences in performance between hysteria and control subjects. The former group, in comparison to controls, had heightened suggestibility, greater field dependency, and greater impairment of recent memory and vigilance-attention. A discriminant analysis indicated the feasibility of using such tests as objective diagnostic criteria for hysteria.