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September 1962

The Etiology of Idiopathic Epilepsy.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(3):221. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720030067013

Readers expecting a unified exposition of the etiology and psychological patterns associated with epilepsy will be disappointed by Dr. Geist's clinical potpourri. Substantial sections of the book are devoted to a pedestrian account of basic psychoanalytic theory and to the history, rationale, scoring, administration, and interpretation of a wide variety of psychological tests. Since most of this material is not directly germane to the subject matter of epilepsy, its inclusion seems inappropriate.

The research section of the book contains surprising methodological weaknesses: (1) The sample is inadequately defined, e.g., number of subjects in each subgroup, which subjects took which tests, etc. (2) Test results are simply tabulated and receive no statistical treatment for significance. (3) True-False responses to single items are used to justify far-reaching clinical interpretations, e.g., statements about "the oral-erotic stage of psychosexual development" are made solely from the item "I do not like to see women smoking."

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