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August 1949


Arch NeurPsych. 1949;62(2):222-235. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1949.02310140099008

CHANGES in behavior produced by focal cerebral lesions in man usually arouse the interest of neurologists and psychologists. By contrast, alterations in behavior which appear in the course of a diffuse degenerative process in the brain are only too often dismissed as instances of "simple deterioration" or "dementia." This neglect persists despite Goldstein's1 repeated warnings that studies of cases of so-called organic deterioration may add to the understanding of intellectual function in normal and abnormal states.

It is true that the clinical picture of many of the psychoses associated with degenerative disease of the brain may appear complex, or even bizzare, and that the patients are difficult to test. Yet simplicity and complexity are relative matters depending on the investigator's point of view. If one looks for clearcut losses of specific functions, these psychoses may seem unrevealing, because the patients manifest alterations in many different performance fields. For those,