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PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL RESEARCHES
STUDIES IN MENTAL DISSOCIATION

Boris Sidis, M. A., Ph.D., M.D.
with
William A. White, M.D., George M. Parker, M.D.

1908
Boston: Richard G. Badger

 

CHAPTER VI

SUBCONSCIOUS MOTOR MANIFESTATIONS

        PNEUMOGRAPHIC tracings were taken of the patient, first in the waking state without any stimulation, then she was hypnotized and the pneumographic tracings were continued during hypnotization and the deep hypnosis into which she passed. The patient was as usual en rapport only with Dr. W., to whom she was used and who had habitually hypnotized her. All other persons in the room were simply so many negative quantities to her, she apparently did not perceive anything which came from them, and as usual appeared to be unconscious to pain, touch, and other stimuli coming from them. The pneumographic tracings, however, clearly indicate that, although she was seemingly unconscious of different stimuli coming from other persons, her respiration responded to them. Thus, for instance, in tracing 4, Plate III, a person who was negative to the patient was tickling the sole of her foot. The patient was not conscious of the tickling and still the pneumograph clearly showed a great modification in the respiration, the waves becoming more rapid and the apices more acute, showing a rapid alternation of inspiration and expiration. Although she apparently did not hear Dr. G., still when he was telling stories to her there was a great modification in her respiration.

        Experiments were then carried on by the method of distraction. These experiments point in the same direction, viz., the subconscious presence of experiences of which the patient was directly unconscious. The method of distraction consists in the following: The patient's mind is occupied with some stimuli that fully engross the mind and meanwhile some slight stimulus, faintly perceptible, is given, a stimulus of which the patient is unconscious, and it is found out whether the patient perceives it in a subconscious form. In other words, arrangements are made to the effect of discovering whether the subconscious systems, dissociated from the general stream of the patient's personal consciousness, have perceived the stimulus and reacted to it in response. During the experiments conducted by this method of distraction, this patient was not hypnotized.

        The pneumograph was attached and the following series of experiments were made:

        During hypnosis, suggestion was made that when awake, when she heard Dr. W. knock, she would go to sleep. She was a wakened and placed in distraction by reading. When Dr. S. knocked, no result; when Dr. W. knocked, she immediately went into hypnosis.

        She was hypnotized and a post-hypnotic suggestion given to her that she should go to sleep when Dr. W. whistled. Awakened by Dr. W. counting, and told that she would awake at a certain number. Then distracted by reading. Dr. W. went to farther end of the room and whistled. She immediately went to sleep.

        During these experiments taken with sound stimuli, pneumographic tracings were taken, as shown in Plate IV.

 

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