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July 10, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(2):119-120. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680020047032

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This monograph is not a clinical treatise on the symptoms and diagnosis of hysteria but a study of the dynamics of the hysterical reaction from a psychologic and neurophysiologic aspect. The author attempts, with admirable lucidity and simplicity, not merely to interpret the symbolism of the symptoms but rather to establish how they come about; to show how a tremor, an anesthesia or a paralyzed limb can arise and be maintained on the basis of some emotional conflict. The material studied is chiefly that of the war hysterias, but the arguments adduced serve equally for those of civil life. The explanations offered are based on a study of reflexes, their conditioning and the influence on them of conscious or volitional innervation. The hysterical reactions are more primitive, or "childish," than those of conscious selection, and are "release" manifestations brought about by paralysis of higher mechanisms through the shock of emotional

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