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June 1962

The Microgeny of Thought and Perception: A Psychiatric Contribution

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(6):454-468. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710240050002

Microgeny, as defined by Werner,79 is the sequence of the necessary steps inherent in the occurrence of a psychological phenomenon. Microgeny is thus the immediate unfolding of the phenomenon. For instance, in the act of reaching a judgment or simply of perceiving something, the subject goes through different stages which lead to that judgment or that perception.

These stages occur in a very short period of time, often small fractions of a second, and generally without the subject being aware of them. Most of the time the subject is aware of the stimulus or of the initial and terminal steps, but not of what takes place between them. The S-R formula, or a psychology predominantly oriented toward this formula, tends to neglect microgenetic processes. As we have already mentioned, most of these processes are deprived of subjective experience: As a matter of fact many of them

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