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April 1919


Author Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Neurology, Tufts College Medical School; Chief Medical Officer, Outpatient Department, Psychopathic Hospital

Arch NeurPsych. 1919;1(4):459-470. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1919.02180040078004

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On the capacity to choose between competing stimuli, ideas and purposes rests the fate of the personality. Throughout life the choice lies not between absurdity and truth, reality and unreality, but between the various degrees of better and worse, between ideas or purposes which may be said to represent different points of view, different attitudes, rather than any more fundamental difference.

Despite this fact, in the tests used in psychology and psychiatry, the question of choice, as between different phases of reality, is not studied. The Binet tests, which measure intellect, usually deal with simple problems to which only one correct answer can be made. In this respect they resemble the ordinary examination paper, and have for their paradigm the mathematical answer in which choice, at least in elementary mathematics, does not enter. Most of the situations in life, as has been stated before, in which personality and character appear

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