Whether hysteria is determined, as Breuer1 thinks, by the occurrence of peculiar dream-like conscious states with a narrowed association capacity, and whether these are purely due to psychically painful experiences as argued by Freud,2 or whether, following Janet,3 hysteria is to be summed up as a weakness of the power of associating impressions; or whether it is an actual splitting of consciousness which more or less divides its victims into the exaggeration of many-sidedness known as multiple personality (Sidis4); or whether, with Sollier,5 we conceive hysteria as an inopportune sleep or numbness of a part of the cerebrum, all clinicians agree with Babinski6 that the most conspicuous and invariable characteristic of a hysterical patient is suggestibility.
As nothing is more detrimental to the progress of science than to call by the same name phenomena which differ in essence, it would be eminently desirable that students
WILLIAMS TA. THE PRACTICAL IMPORT OF RECENT WORK ON HYSTERIA. JAMA. 1912;LIX(25):2224–2228. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270140028009
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