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October 12, 1940

The Varieties of Human Physique: An Introduction to Constitutional Psychology

JAMA. 1940;115(15):1303. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810410069045

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The authors point out the need for a description of human physiques which can readily be obtained and which can be of use in studies of personality and clinical problems. They outline a method for "somatotyping" an individual. It consists of photographing an individual from the front, side and back and then evaluating the figures on the negative or print. The evaluation is in part anthroposcopic and in part anthropometric. A number consisting of three digits is finally obtained. Each digit may range from 1 to 7. For example, 154 and 714 are typical evaluations. The authors claim a high degree of reliability for their evaluations. The book is easily read but unnecessarily long. Its usefulness would have been increased had it been concise. What value "somatotyping" may serve is problematic. There is without doubt a need for physical measurements on a large scale which can be used for correlation

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