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July 1962

Visual Distortion Test: A Measure of Ego Strength?

Author Affiliations

Attending Psychiatrist; Chief, Adult Psychiatric Outpatients Service, The Roosevelt Hospital, New York City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(1):30-38. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720010032005

In February, 1959, a schizophrenic patient of mine, a man of 30, was fitted with eye glasses to correct his myopia. On the way from the optician to my office he had a brief episode of depersonalization: "I felt in my skin there was a different person. ... If I wrote my name I'd have asked myself: Who is this guy? To tell the truth, I felt quite uncomfortable." As it turned out, my patient's myopia had been slightly overcorrected. It was this chance observation which gave rise to the present study. It raised the question whether there was a causal connection between the patient's passing state of depersonalization and the slight distortion of his visual world caused by the new eye glasses.

To test this hypothesis I designed a simple experimental procedure. A random selection of patients from the Psychiatric Service of Roosevelt Hospital and

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