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SYMPTOMATOLOGY, PSYCHOGNOSIS, AND DIAGNOSIS OF PSYCHOPATHIC DISEASES
Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D.
Boston: R. Badger, 1914
THE SUBCONSCIOUS AND THE CONDITIONS OF ITS MANIFESTATION
BEFORE we can study the manifestations of psychopathic diseases it is well to review the subconscious, its conditions and its principal states.
The nervous centres of man's nervous system, if classified as to function, may be divided into inferior and superior. The inferior centres are characterized by reflex and automatic activity. A stimulus excites the peripheral nerve-endings of some sense-organ; at once a nerve current is set up in the afferent nerves. This current in its turn stimulates a plexus of central ganglia, the nervous energy of which is set free and propagated along the efferent nerves towards muscles and glands; secretions, muscular contractions or relaxations are the result.
Ingoing and outgoing nervous currents may be modified by the nervous centres; nervous currents may be intensified, decreased in energy or even entirely inhibited by mutual interaction. Such a modification takes place according to the law formulated by Ziehen: "If an excitation of a definite intensity (m) take place in one cortical element (b), and another excitation of a different intensity (n) take place at the same time in another cortical element (c) which is connected by a path of conduction with (b), the two intensities of excitation may reciprocally modify each other."
Although such modifications may frequently occur, it nevertheless remains true that the inferior centres are of a reflex nature. No sooner is the nervous energy of a lower centre set free than at once it tends to discharge itself into action. The physiological process of setting free the nervous energy in a central ganglion, or in a system of central ganglia, is accompanied in the simpler, but more organized, more integrated centres by sentience, sensibility, and in the more complex, but less integrated, less organized centres by consciousness, sensations, perceptions, images, ideas, and emotions.
Turning now to the superior or the highest nervous centres, we find that they are characterized by the function of choice and will. A number of impressions, of sensations, of ideas reach those higher "will" centres, and a critical, a sifting, a selecting, an inhibitory process at once begins. Some of the mental states are permitted to develop and to work themselves out within certain limits, others are given full play, while others and possibly the majority of them are rejected and inhibited. Psychologically this process expresses itself in the fiat or in the neget, in the "I will", or the "I will not." Every one is well acquainted with the will-effort, especially when having to make some important decision. These superior "choice and will" centres, localized by Ferrier, Wundt, Bianchi and others in the frontal lobes, and by others in the upper layers of the cortex, on account of their selective and inhibitory function may be characterized as inhibitory centers par excellence.
Parallel to the double system of nervous centres, the inferior and the superior, we also have a double consciousness, the inferior, the organic, the reflex consciousness, the subconsciousness, and the superior, the controlling, the choosing, the critical, the will-consciousness. The controlling consciousness may be characterized as the guardian consciousness of the species of the individual.
From an evolutionary, teleological standpoint we can well realize the use of this guardian consciousness. The external world bombards the living organism with innumerable stimuli; from all sides thousands of impressions come crowding upon the senses of the individual. Each impression has a glandular affection, a motor reaction which if not counteracted may end in some possibly harmful or fatal result. It is not of advantage to the organism to react on all impressions, coming from external stimuli; hence that organism will succeed and survive in the struggle for existence that possesses some critical, selective, inhibitory “choice and will” centres.
The “choice and will centres” permit only a certain number of impressions to take effect, the rest are inhibited, only those impressions that are advantageous to the life existence of the individual are allowed to take their course; the other are nipped in their bud. The guardian-consciousness wards off as far as it is able all the harmful blows which the stimuli of the environment incessantly direct against the life of the individual.
In the normal condition of man the superior and the inferior centres work in perfect harmony; the upper and lower centres and their concomitant forms of consciousness are a unity, forming one conscious, active personality. Under certain conditions the two systems of nerve-centres may become dissociated. The superior centres, with their critical, controlling consciousness may become inhibited, or cut off, split off from the rest of the nervous system with its reflex consciousness which is thus laid bare, open to the influence of external stimuli or suggestions. The inferior reflex consciousness constitutes the subconscious. The subconscious is the highway of suggestibility. The subconscious is manifested or laid bare by inhibition of the inhibitory centres, or in other words, by a disaggregation of the superior from the inferior centres, followed by an increase of ideo-sensory, ideo-motor, and sensory-secretory reflex excitability. Psychologically regarded, inhibition of the controlling, waking consciousness results in the uncovering of the reflex consciousness, the revelation of the subconscious.1
To get at subconscious states definite conditions must be strictly observed, no matter what the method of procedure is.
The first and general condition of experimentation on the subconscious is fixation of attention. I ask the patient or subject to look at some particular point chosen by me, the time of fixation usually varying from two to five seconds. Fixation of attention is an important condition of access to the subconscious.
The next condition is distraction of attention. The subject or patient has for a brief time, varying from a few minutes to hours, to fix his attention on some irrelevant point, spot, thing that has no connection with the material of the experiments or with the matter under investigation.
In all my experiments on the subconscious I have always had to guard against variety of impressions. Slight noises, coming from the adjoining rooms of the laboratory, are distinctly unfavorable to the experiments. There must be monotony. The subjects have to be accustomed to the conditions and objects in the room. A new impression, however slight, always proves a disturbance.
Limitation of voluntary movements is another important condition. While fixing their attention the patients or subjects have to keep as quiet as possible; otherwise they are disturbed, the attention begins to wander, and the work has to be abandoned for the time being. The subjects should be asked to make themselves as comfortable as possible, so they should not have to change their position during the investigation, and have their limbs relaxed. The condition of limitation of voluntary movements must be strictly observed.
Limitation of the field of consciousness may also be considered as one of the important conditions of investigation of the subconscious. This condition is in fact a result of the former ones, namely, fixation of the attention, monotony, and limitation of voluntary movements. For when these last conditions are present, the field of consciousness becomes contracted and limited to a few sensations and ideas. Contraction of the field of consciousness may, however, be effected where the other conditions are absent. A sudden, violent impression may instantly effect an enormous shrinkage of the field of consciousness, and then the other conditions will naturally follow, or rather coexist. Consciousness will reverberate with this one violent sense impression and will thus attend to the latter only. There will also be monotony; since a sudden violent sense impression tolerates few neighbors, and drives out fresh incomers. Voluntary movements become limited, the body becomes paralyzed and relaxed.
Work on the subconscious can not be successfully carried on without the condition of inhibition. I ask the subject when he concentrates his attention and fixes it on a dot or object that he should try, as much as it is in his power, to banish all ideas, images which have no connection with the object in the focus of consciousness, that he, should make his mind a perfect blank, and inhibit ideas, associations which may arise before his mind's eye and claim attention. This condition, of course, is rather a hard task for the subject or patient to comply with, still it is observed as far as it is possible.
The very last, but not the least condition, in the experiments is immediate execution. The subject has to perform the act required by the nature of the experiment as soon as he perceives the signal.
We may now make a synopsis of the conditions necessary for reaching the subconscious strata of the mind in the normal waking state:
(1) Fixation of the attention.
(2) Distraction of the attention.
(4) Limitation of voluntary movements.
(5) Contraction of the field of consciousness.
(7) Immediate execution.
The conditions of distraction of attention and immediate execution are requisite for suggestibility in the fully waking states. The induction of more or less stable subconscious states is brought about under persistent action of five factors:
(1) Fixation of attention.
(3) Limitation of voluntary movements.
(4) Contraction of the field of consciousness.
It should be clearly understood that the factor of limitation of voluntary movements means essentially bodily relaxation.
The study of subconscious states is of recent origin, but it is now daily growing in importance. The mechanism of the human mind, the more elementary psychic processes are not directly given to the immediate introspective knowledge of self-consciousness, the results alone are given. It is the subconsciousness that one must look to in order to grasp the full meaning of the workings of the mind.
In experimenting on the subconscious in the normal waking state we may use two methods:
(I) The method of conscious impressions.
(II) The method of subconscious impressions.
(I) By the method of conscious impression we endeavor to reach the subconscious through the medium of impressions of which the subject is fully conscious. This method may in its turn be subdivided into:
(a) The method of indeterminate action.
(b) The method of determinate action.
(a) When working with the method of indeterminate action we allow the subject, within certain limits, of course, to do or write anything that enters into his mind at the moment the experimentation is over. In studying, for instance, the suggestibility of the subconscious we may direct our efforts to find out, say, the suggestiveness of different conditions such as the influence of the earliest or latest impressions of certain stimuli, or the effect of a series of successive frequent or coexistent stimuli.
(b) The method of determinate action, or that of choice. When working with this method we limit the subject to a definite number of actions.
Thus in studying the suggestibility of the normal individual, we may seek to determine the influence of the factor of strange, unfamiliar things and actions or that of abnormal position and so on.
(II) The method of subconscious impressions consists in arranging the experiments so as to influence the subconscious, but in such a way that the subject should not be conscious of the impressions. This method may be divided into:
(a) The method of choice distraction.
(b) The method of guesses or of subconscious impressions.
(a) By means of the method of choice we distract the patient's attention engaging it in some other direction, meanwhile influencing the subconscious in the determination of the subject's choice. The mechanism of these experiments may be arranged somewhat like the following:
A series of complicated patterns is made on slips of paper, each slip having a different pattern. The subject has to look at the drawing of the pattern for about ten seconds. The slip is then withdrawn and he has to reproduce the drawing from memory—an extremely difficult task. In my experiments on the subconscious it took the subject about fifteen seconds and more before he could make anything bearing the slightest resemblance to the figure shown to him. When the subject is through with his drawing, a cardboard with a series of numerals is shown to him, he chooses any numeral he pleases.
Now on the margin of each slip is also a numeral, so that when the subject studies his pattern for reproduction, the number impresses itself subconsciously on his mind. Even, if at first, he notes the numeral, he soon ignores it, thinking that it is the number of the drawing in the series. He soon overlooks it; he does not see it consciously any more, but sees it subconsciously. In my experiments conducted by this method, the subjects had not the slightest suspicion of the real purpose of the research. They were sure that the whole matter was concerning imitation of the patterns and that the choosing of the numeral on the cardboard was but a device "to break up the attention," in passing from one pattern to another. The subjects were so intensely absorbed in the contemplation and then in the reproduction of the drawing which was extremely complicated, that they wholly disregarded the marginal numbers.3
(b) The method of subconscious impressions helps us to determine the relations of the subconscious to the subject's self-consciousness. The mechanism of the method is simple, though important. We give the subject an impression that lies outside the range of his field of conscious sensibility, and ask him to guess the particular or general character of the stimulus or impression. We take a series of ten cards and tell the subject that on each of them there is a letter or numeral. We then put each card outside the field of his vision and ask the subject to look at it for some time and then to guess the character, particular or general.
If letter a, for example, is shown to him and he guesses it correctly, then he guesses both the particular and general character, so that we may say that every correct particular guess is also a correct general guess. If he guesses a wrong letter, say b, he guesses correctly the general character only; if, however, instead of the letter he gives a numeral, say 6, then he fails completely. If we eliminate the chance element, we have the number of cases due to subconscious vision.4
Perhaps it may be well to mention a method of approaching the subconscious or as it is put in reaching die so called "suppressed complexes." This consists in giving the patient or subject a series of words and by observing the quality of the answers as well as the time of the reply made or the association time, the character of the "suppressed complex" is supposed to be reached, if the association time is found to be lengthened. The same can be done with the galvanometric reflex. When a special "complex" associated with a suppressed emotion is reached there is a greater galvanometric deflection. The same is claimed to be accomplished with other graphic records, such as sphygmographic, pneumographic, or plethysmographic records. Judging from what Pavlow has written to me that he and his collaborators are at work on the higher nerve activity of the brain of the dog, according to the methods of conditional reflexes, then it may be possible to study man's mental life or his reactions, however complicated, from observed glandular secretions. This fantastic prospect is at present as yet in the distant future.
I myself have done a good deal of work with all the graphic methods, sphygmographic, plethysmographic, pneumographic, and galvanometric.4 I have taken several thousand tracings of each in normal and abnormal cases. I can say without hesitation that from a clinical standpoint their worth is nil. They are good as charts, as curves, as pictures and illustrations for the eye after the data are acquired, but as a guide for psychognostic or diagnostic purposes they are all worthless.
Neither from a practical clinical standpoint nor from a purely theoretical, psychopathological standpoint can we say that the galvanometer is of any value. We can no more study mental states with a galvanometer than we can investigate ideas and feelings with a microscope or telescope. The trouble with the medical man is that he wishes to examine mental states as he examines urine, sputum, blood, or bodily reflexes. This cannot be done in the case of mental states. There is no physical instrument with which mental states can be examined and studied. The sooner the medical man learns it, the less will he be carried away or be deceived by some new wonderful instruments for discovering hidden thoughts or measuring and photographing ideas and feelings. Introspection and observation, supplemented by the physician's or psychopathologist's introspective interpretation, will ever remain the tool of the psychologist and psychopathologist.
Similarly with the association method. Nothing is more misleading and clumsy than the association words, the replies, and the time taken. Some people may amuse or deceive themselves with it, but as to the insight which it gives into the delicate working of the human mind in general and of mental troubles in particular the value may be said without hesitation to be less than nothing. The results are misleading and deceptive. The late Professor James was fully right when he characterized this kind of psychological work as "Brass Psychology."
We can come more closely to the subconscious, in an imperfect way though, through dream states. Dream states belong to the region of the subconscious, but they reach our knowledge in a distorted and vague form, they rapidly fade away and melt under the light and warmth of the waking consciousness. It is a rare thing to remember fully a dream, as a rule but mere shreds remain, and often even these soon disappear or are totally absent on awakening. Still we must make the best we can of what is directly given to us.
Dreams may be studied either by the memorial method of self observation, by the statistical method, and by experimentation. There are five methods:
(1) The memorial method of self-observation.
(2) The statistical method.
(3) The psycho-physical method.
(4) The psycho-physiological method.
(5) The method of psychic stimulation.
(1) The memorial method consists in giving as complete an account of the dream from memory as it is possible. The dream is written down immediately after awakening, otherwise the whole may fade away altogether. Since many dreams occur during night and disappear, giving place to other qualitatively different states, and thus no memory is retained of those dreams on awakening in the morning, it is advisable for one who undertakes such an investigation to put near his bed a match, pencil, and paper, so that should he wake up any time during the night he may write down the dream immediately while he is yet in condition to catch a glimpse of the positive images left by the dream shadows.
(2) The statistical method consists in collecting dreams from many observers, classifying the dreams, comparing notes, and drawing conclusions. One, however, must use such material with great precaution as not all observers are trustworthy in such accounts. We must find out whether the records were taken immediately after the dreams, otherwise the facts must be rejected, or put at least under the heading of doubtful cases, since in such records later images from waking states may in all probability have been interpolated.
The first two methods bring us indirectly in relation with the subconscious. The other three methods bring us in more direct touch with subconscious life activities.
(3) The psycho-physical method or that of physical stimulation is the artificial production of dreams by means of physical stimulation of the special senses. The experimenter watches his subject while asleep and applies different stimuli to his peripheral sense-organs. He pinches, pricks, squeezes the hand, leg, cheek or some other portion of the subject's body, he lights matches before the subject's eyes, drops water on his face, gives him something to smell, agreeable or disagreeable; makes him taste different substances and so on. Dreams are awakened by the stimulations the summation of which finally arouses the subject. In fact, some of the dreams occur during the short period of awakening. The subject tells his dream which is at once recorded by the experimenter.
(4) The psycho-physiological method or that of physiological stimulation consists in the artificial excitation of dreams by means of some stimulants, drugs taken before falling asleep. The dreams may be induced by anaesthetics, chloroform or ether, or by drugs such as chloral, veronal, medinal and other hypnotics.
(5) The method of psychic stimulation is the arousal of dreams by means of psychic stimuli, such as words. When the subject is in a deep sleep the experimenter in a low voice calls out some words or phrases. At first the subject does not seem to hear, but the words summate themselves at last, and the subject sometimes awakens with a start. Meanwhile the subject frequently has dreams formed by the floating images aroused by the speech. As soon as he wakes up he is to give an account of the dream, if any was formed. It is advisable, while making such experiments, to use words and phrases that are of intense interest to the subject, or words that are familiar to him, his own name, or the name of those who are near and dear to him, also names, words and phrases to which he is used to respond promptly. This may bring him out of his deep sleep, but may not have sufficient power to awaken him fully. The words or phrases will thus be enabled to arouse images which will be formed into dreams, following the summation of the stimuli. We should bring the subject out of his deep sleep by degrees.
By means of the induction of the hypnotic state or by the induction of the hypnoidal state, or the twilight state we can come in direct touch with the subconscious.
The methods of hypnotization are various, but all of them must conform to the conditions of suggestibility. We can hypnotize subjects or patients by having fixed their attention on some bright object, by fixating attention on the expectation of some sudden bright light, on a glass, a crystal, or on some object held before the patient's eyes. The patient is also told to concentrate his attention on the sounds of suggestion of sleep given by the hypnotizer.
The hypnotic state can also be induced by passes. The patient concentrates his whole attention on the passes made over him. While the patient is concentrating his attention there should not be distracting noises. He should listen to the hypnotizer's monotonous voice or to some monotonously sounding apparatus.
Any monotonous stimulation in fact will do, such as monotonous stroking or patting; uniform alternation of light and shade, such as flickering, or uniform alternation of sound, uniform movement, swinging, rocking, or rotating will bring about the effect of plunging the patient into a hypnotic state. The patient's voluntary movements should be restricted, he should keep quiet and as much as possible, have his limbs completely relaxed. At the same time the patient's field of consciousness should be limited. Ideas should be banished as much as possible. A state of monoideism should be induced. The subject should only think of "sleep, sleep, sleep." In short, all ideas and reasoning should be inhibited.
Sometimes all this can be brought about by a sudden strong stimulus unexpected by the patient. The intense emotion of fear aroused in the patient fixes the patient's mind on the stimulus which paralyses his consciousness and his motor adjustments. The patient falls into a state of physical and mental relaxation with a monotonous, consciousness, into a state of physical and mental inhibition. These procedures produce that peculiar state known as hypnosis in which the subconscious comes to the foreground.
I have for many years employed a method which gives uniformly excellent results. I wish to attract the attention of the medical profession to this method of hypnoidization, as it is not only of theoretical importance for the purposes of psychopathological analysis, but it is possibly of still greater value for practical therapeutic purposes.
In ‘The Psychology of Suggestion’ and in other works I have pointed out the following conditions of normal and abnormal suggestibility:
1. Fixation of attention.
4. Limitation of voluntary movements.
5. Limitation of the field of consciousness.
7. Immediate execution of the suggestion.
1. Fixation of attention.
4. Limitation of voluntary movements.
5. Limitation of the field of consciousness.
In the same work I come to the conclusion as the result of the investigation that "the nature of abnormal suggestibility is a disaggregation of consciousness, a slit, a scar, produced in the mind that may extend wider and deeper, ending at last in a total disjunction of the waking, guiding, controlling consciousness from the reflex consciousness. . . . Normal suggestibility is of like nature,—it is a cleft in the mind, only here the cleft is not so deep, not so lasting, as it is in hypnosis or in the state of abnormal suggestibility; the split is here but momentary, evanescent, fleeting, disappearing at the very moment of its appearance."
We have also shown that the laws of normal and abnormal suggestibility may be stated as follows:
"Normal suggestibility varies as indirect suggestion and inversely as direct suggestion.
"Abnormal suggestibility varies as direct suggestion and inversely as indirect suggestion."
The general law of suggestibility is:
"Suggestibility varies as the amount of disaggregation, and inversely as the unification of consciousness."
It is on these general laws and nature of relation of the personal consciousness to the subconscious that I have based my method of hypnoidization. In order to reach the dissociated mental states we have to lay bare the subconscious, and this can be effected by the conditions requisite for the induction of normal or abnormal suggestibility, conditions which bring about a disaggregation of consciousness. In cases, therefore, where hypnosis is not practicable and the subconscious has to be reached, we can effect a disaggregation of consciousness and thus produce an allied subconscious state by putting the patient under the conditions of normal suggestibility: fixation of attention, distraction, monotony, limitation of the voluntary movements, limitation of the field of vision, inhibition, and immediate execution.
This is precisely what the method of hypnoidization consists in: "The patient is asked to close his eyes and keep as quiet as possible, without, however, making any special effort to put himself in such a state. He is then asked to attend to some stimulus such as reading or singing (or to the monotonous beats of a metronome)When the reading is over, the patient, with his eyes shut, is asked to repeat it and tell what comes into his mind during the reading, or during the repetition, or immediately after it. Sometimes the patient is simply asked to tell the nature of ideas and images that have entered his mind." This should be carried out in a quiet place, and the room, if possible, should be darkened so as not to disturb the patient and bring him out of the state in which he has been put.
As modifications of the same method, the patient is asked to fixate his attention on some object while at the same time listening to the beats of a metronome; the patient's eyes are then closed; he is to keep very quiet, while the metronome or some other monotonous stimulus is kept on going. After some time, when his respirations and pulse are found somewhat lowered, and he declares that he thinks of nothing in particular, he is asked to concentrate his attention on a subject closely relating to the symptoms of the malady or to the submerged subconscious states.
The patient again may be asked to keep quiet, to move or change position as little as possible, and he is then required to look steadily into a glass of water on a white background, with a light shining through the contents of the glass; a mechanism producing monotonous sounds is set going, and after a time, when the patient is observed to have become unusually quiet, he is asked to tell what he thinks in regard to a subject relating to his symptoms. He may be asked to write the stray ideas down, if speaking aloud disturbs the induced states favorable to the emergence of the dissociated mental states.
In some cases it is sufficient to put the patient in a quiet condition; have his eyes shut and command him to think hard of the particular dissociated states.
The method of guessing has been for years utilized by my collaborators and myself as a clinical method for coming in contact with the subconscious, dissociated systems of which the patient remained unaware in his otherwise normal waking consciousness. The patient is put in a chair, or on a lounge, is told to be quiet and have his eyes shut. He is then told to concentrate his attention on some of the more prominent symptoms of his trouble and tell immediately any idea, phrase, sentence, picture or image that may at that moment enter his mind. In this way we obtain scraps from his subconscious life activity, on fitting them together we have something to start with in the psychognosis of the cases.
I further combined this method with the methods of studying the patient's dreams. The patient's dreams are near the surface of his everyday waking consciousness, and since they are experiences coming from his subconscious life activity, I could, by the method of guesses, obtain the dreams which the patient experienced and which have often proved to be chips of experience which went to form his present mental make-up, and have been the cause of his present disease with all its characteristic symptoms. The patient often lived through in his dreams the events which caused his psychopathic malady. The experiences are usually obtained in chips, scraps, and bits. By piecing them together we penetrate more and more deeply into the patient's subconscious mental activity. This method of guesses together with the method of studying the dream activity yield, along with other methods, such as the direct observation of the dream activity and along with the hypnotic state, good material for psychognostic purposes.
My clinical and laboratory researches led me, however, by degrees to the discovery of the hypnoidal state which I have since found to be of the utmost consequence for psychognostic and psychotherapeutic purposes. In fact I found that in most of the cases what I thought to be a state of waking consciousness was in reality a hypnoidal state. In directing the patient to close his eyes and keep quiet and concentrate his thoughts on a definite symptom, dream or event in his life, I found that the patient passed into a hypnoidal condition. This led me to the formulation of the method of hypnoidization, or the induction of hypnoidal states.
1. By the
subconscious is meant all processes of intelligence which are subjectively known
as conscious, but which under special conditions fall outside the range of
awareness, or of the knowledge of the individual. The subconscious is
essentially a consciousness, a consciousness other than the personal
consciousness. See "The Psychology of Suggestion," "Multiple Personality,"
"The Foundations of Normal and Abnormal Psychology," and Appendix
2. These conditions will be discussed in greater detail further on.
3. The number of choices influenced by the marginal number seen subconsciously is noted down and the total number of choices is determined.
4. To eliminate the chance element and to find the percentage of correct guesses, both general and particular, due to subconscious vision, let y be the correct general subconscious guesses; let, again, x represent the correct particular guesses due to subconscious vision, p and p1 the general and particular chance guesses. We have the following formulas (m and n being given by experiment):
(p+y) = m (1)
(p1+x) = n (2)
(p+y) are all the correct general guesses as mere general; (p1+x), again, in the second equation are the correct particular guesses as particular. From (I), we have, y=m-p (3)
These are all the correct general guesses. Now, in equation (3), p is 50 per cent., because each guess has only one alternative, letter or figure; in 100 observations, p=50; hence y=m-50.
Since there are only ten characters to guess in each particular case therefore in a hundred cases the chance element in equation  is ten, or p = 10 and x = n-10.
5. In my work on galvanometric deflections carried out with Dr. H. T. Kalmus at the Research Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at my Psychopathological Laboratory we come to the following conclusion:
"Our experiments clearly point to the fact that active physiological, sensory, and emotional processes, with the exception of pure ideational ones, initiated in a living organism bring about electromotive forces with consequent galvanometric deflections."
In my galvanometric work with Dr. L. Nelson performed on various animals, on man, frogs, rabbits and cats we arrive at the following conclusions:
1. Galvanometric deflections are brought about by psycho-physiological processes (but not by purely ideational processes) under the influence of various stimulations.
2. These galvanic deflections termed by us "galvanic reactions" are not due to variations of resistance, whether of skin or of body.
3. The galvanic reaction is the result of variations of electromotive forces produced by the psycho-physiological processes set into activity by the agency of external or internal stimulations.
4. The causation of the galvanic reactions cannot be referred to circulation, nor can it be referred to secretory currents, whether of skin-glands or of other glandular organs.
5. The central nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system are alike excluded as factors concerned in the manifestation of the galvanic reaction.
6. The galvanic reaction is a muscular cutaneous phenomenon due to the influence of various agencies, emotional, sensory, physiological, chemical, thermal, electrical or mechanical.
7. The galvanic reaction is chiefly brought about by the muscles and glands within the circuit.
8. Prolonged active peristalsis gives rise to galvanic deflections which are due to the contraction of the muscles and the action of glands involved in the process of peristalsis.
9. The galvanic reaction diminishes and even completely disappears with the repetition of the same kind of stimulation.
10. This fall or complete disappearance of the galvanic reaction with the repetition of stimulation is usually due to a decrease of sensitivity in regard to the same repeated stimulation.
11. The fall however of the galvanic reaction may also be brought about by the action of a prolonged stimulation resulting in a gradual fatigue of the muscles in the circuit.
12. The heart-beat, like the contractions of any of the other muscles, gives rise to galvanic deflections.
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