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May 1962

Relation of Physiological Response to Affect Expression: Including Studies of Autonomic Response Specificity

Author Affiliations

Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago.
Present addresses: Department of Psychiatry, Montefiore Hospital, New York (Dr. Herz); Adult Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda 14, Md. (Dr. Korchin); Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago (Dr. Sabshin); Department of Physiology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago (Dr. Schwartz).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(5):336-351. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710230004002

I. Introduction  A central notion in psychosomatic theory is that emotion which is dammed-up and fails to be "discharged" leads to physiological alterations which eventuate in tissue pathology. Concerning the physiological changes accompanying emotional responses, Dunbar3 states: "If they are not discharged in action they tend to persist or to be followed by other changes, such for example as disturbed endocrine balance . . . and any state of chronic disturbance of function tends to become crystallized in structural change." Similarily, Alexander1 indicates that: "Fear, aggression, guilt, frustrated wishes, if repressed, result in permanent chronic emotional tension which disturb the functions of the vegetative organs."Manifold clinical reports have suggested that a concomitance exists between the presence or exacerbation of "psychosomatic" disorders and emotion which is repressed or suppressed. Research has demonstrated clearly that widespread physiological changes take place during the development of overt emotional states. But

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