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October 29, 1892

SOME CHARACTERISTICS DISPLAYED BY THE HUMAN MIND WHEN PLACED AT A DISADVANTAGE—A PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY.Read before the Section of Neurology and Medical Jurisprudence at the Forty-third Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, held at Detroit, Mich., June, 1892.

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1892;XIX(18):520-522. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420180014001i

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When the traveller in the dusty and parched desert, views the mirage afar off, promising water to his burning lips, and the cool shade of green trees to his heated and weary frame, he hastens his pace, that he may the more speedily enjoy the refreshment and repose that seem to be almost within his grasp. But as he journeys onward, the pleasing vision recedes; it slowly fades—it disappears. Yet, how real, how true it seemed! Had some accident turned the beholder from his path, and he had failed to detect the illusion,his convictions would ever have remained true to the idea, that the phantom picture was a veritable reality. Indeed, thoughts and convictions, and conduct legitimately derived from a belief in the material certainty of the scene—though erroneous and possibly criminal—could by no fair rule be imputed to him as an agent truly responsible.

To illustrate the mystic snare

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