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April 1963

A Dimension of Personality Organization: An Experimental Study of "Ego-Closeness—Ego-Distance"

Author Affiliations

Department of Research, The Menninger Foundation (Dr. Voth).
Director of Psychological Training, The Menninger Foundation (Dr. Mayman).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(4):366-380. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720100056007

The experiments reported in this paper originated with A. C. Voth's22,23 discovery, confirmed by him over a period of years, that the extent of autokinesis seen by patients under test conditions is predictably related to the nature of the patient's illness. Some individuals, when placed in a totally darkened room for ten minutes and asked to look steadily at a stationary pinpoint of light,* will see that light move, while others consistently report no movement at all. A. C. Voth found that state hospital patients who carried diagnoses of alcoholism, hysteria, involutional melancholia, manic-depressive psychosis, paranoid conditions, and psychopathic personality, in the main reported little or no movement of the light in the autokinetic test. Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, obsessional neurosis, or anxiety neurosis reported fairly extensive movement. In his work with normal subjects, A. C. Voth21 showed that the autokinetic phenomenon

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