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August 14, 1937

The Human Machine

JAMA. 1937;109(7):530. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780330058030

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In spite of the fact that on the jacket of this book appear recommendations from H. G. Wells and Bertrand Russell, it is, to the American psychiatrist, a collection of unsubstantiated clichés. The publisher says that it is supposed to explain the basic mysteries of human behavior and that its author is a scientist—a distinguished English physician. What that rather prejudiced sales talk really means is that the author summarizes the simpler ideas of human genetics, gives a simple explanation of nervous integration, more or less stressing the elementary physiology of the special senses and the reactions of lower animals, and presents a superficial personal reaction toward suggestion, memory, habit and forgetfulness. A number of more or less unrelated psychologic material is collected in a chapter called "Conflicting Reactions," and some other chapters describe naively neurotic reactions. He believes in the somewhat questionable inhibitory theory of the causation of sleep

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