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November 12, 1898

A PSYCHOLOGIC QUESTION OF PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE.

JAMA. 1898;XXXI(20):1181-1182. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450200049006

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Abstract

Once in a while, but fortunately not very often, we hear of an accident by land or sea which is utterly unaccounted for on any ordinary rules guiding human conduct, and which seems to demand, or at least justify, the presumption that there are psychologic moments, in which, without any special stress or emergency, there is sometimes a sort of mental vertigo concerning more particularly the judgment of those in whose hands important interests are placed involving property and even human life. A few years ago a great English battleship went down by collision, the latter directly due to orders given by the admiral, who at the time was considered the most promising and competent of his rank in the British navy. An order was given by him, and repeated in spite of all the remonstrances that the strict discipline of the service would permit, that ignored the plainest rules

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