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September 1962

Cultural Aspects of Delusion.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(3):219-220. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720030065011

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This well-known investigator of symbolic behavior and communication processes has extended his study of brain-damaged humans to psychotic patients in the Virgin Islands, where he spent two-and-one-half years in a psychiatric wing of a general hospital. Since his major hypothesis states that the social context of the psychotic patients' problems determines the content of his delusions, Weinstein chose the population of the Virgin Islands, where several fairly isolated cultures exist simultaneously within a small area.

Delusions of psychotic patients are considered as ways of adaptation to stress specific to the culture, rather than as wish-fulfilling fantasies, denials, or projections derived from internal conflicts. Weinstein considers that, "Delusions are considered as symbolic or socially organized units rather than psychological or physiological entities."

In situations of stress, as in impairment due to brain injury, language becomes more primitive, its symbols more condensed and concrete. Among the regressed modes of

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