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January 1943


Author Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, the University of Chicago, and Research Associate, the Otho S. A. Sprague Institute CHICAGO

From the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Medicine, and the Otho S. A. Sprague Institute, the University of Chicago.

Arch NeurPsych. 1943;49(1):43-48. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1943.02290130051005

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Clinical psychotherapeutic methods, once mystic, then largely empiric, have only recently begun to acquire a demonstrable psychobiologic rationale. As a contribution from the field of comparative dynamic psychology, I shall attempt to show in this report that therapeutic technics developed in the study of experimental neuroses in animals conform with certain fundamental principles of behavior, which also govern the psychotherapy of human subjects.


Production of Neuroses in Animals.  —By means of an automatic conditioning apparatus, cats were trained to lift the lid of a box to secure food in response to one or more signals in various sensory modalities. As a control procedure, the box was then locked, or the animal was otherwise mechanically frustrated in its food taking; under these circumstances the conditioned responses to the feeding signals were rapidly extinguished, but no other behavior abnormalities developed. If, however, the food was made freely accessible after

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