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September 1967

Psychiatric Perspectives on Normality

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(3):258-264. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730270002002

THERE IS a calculated risk in assembling a group of mental health professionals to discuss "normal behavior." To some, such a conference may seem like an invitation to frustration, since they probably have profound doubts as to whether such a phenomenon as normal behavior has corporeal existence in the real world. Others are equally positive that we know a great deal about normality. They ask why we must be preoccupied with new directions in an area which seems to be reasonably well understood as compared to our knowledge of the nuances of psychopathology. Still others are secretly bored with the very words normal behavior. They seem to be such jaded words, eroded of meaning after centuries of repetitious and stereotypic utilization in a plethora of clichés. When it comes to the concept of normal behavior, we are all like partially blind men groping with the