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September 1955

Transient Disturbances of Thought Processes and Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

Salt Lake City

From the Clinical Psychology and Neurology Services of the Veterans Administration Hospital, Fort Douglas Station.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(3):287-291. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330150053007

Psychological testing of epileptics has been primarily directed toward investigating over-all impairment in intellectual functioning, patterning of test scores, or deviations in personality structure. Clinically, however, epilepsy manifests itself characteristically by episodic transient phenomena. It has been suggested by one of us (H. B. H.) that such transient phenomena might be represented in the results of psychological testing by nonanswer responses, responses which indicate a momentary deviation from an established goal idea (for brevity, subsequently designated NR's). These responses are inconsistent with the patient's over-all performance. For instance, one of the subtests, Picture-Completion of the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale,4 consists of sketches in which there is an essential part missing. A patient may have proceeded about halfway through this test, mentioning missing parts, and then, instead of saying that the door handle (or some nonessential part) is missing, may comment, "The door is too big," or "The door is open,"