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July 12, 1947


JAMA. 1947;134(11):938-941. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880280014003

In discussion on the subject of emotions and thought processes with medical students, I stress that much thinking is uncritical and emotionally determined. As an illustration, the students are asked for their concept of pain, as one of the symptoms most commonly met in the eliciting of complaints from patients. The usual response is to describe it as a neurophysiologic process caused by overstimulation. I counter with the statement that it is the conscious perception of such a process and that without consciousness it does not exist. Furthermore, under special circumstances it does not exist when consciousness is present. A member of the class is then called to the front and placed under hypnosis, given the suggestion that he will not feel pain and then asked to open his eyes. It is demonstrated to the class that he is fully aware of what is going on about him. Next, a