Part 7 out of 8
members of the Freudian school as sexual. This latter interpretation and
extension of the connotation generally accorded by us to the term sexual we
surely have no right to give it.
Clark, of New York City, is the author who has carried out the Freudian idea
to its ultimate conclusion. I refer to his series of three papers in the
Medical Record, and call particular attention to his last (third) paper in
which he has fully elaborated his theory of the meaning of tics.[*]
 His three papers, which appeared in the Medical Record, New York, in the
issues of February 7 and 8, and March 8 1914, are entitled: (1) "Some
Observations upon the Etiology of Mental Torticollis," (2) "A Further Study
upon Mental Torticollis as a Psychoneurosis," and (3) "Remarks upon Mental
Infantilism in the Tic Neurosis." A fourth paper by Clark on tics appeared
in the Medical Record of January 30, 1915.
[*] J. Sadger has also come to similar conclusions.
Clark's conception of the meaning of tic movements and of the mental state
characteristic of ticquers must be here given. Although not denying the
basic neurotic constitution present in ticquers, Clark sums up by giving the
following definite and fully developed theory:
"The ticquer has a strong sexual attachment; this is so strong that the love
instinct ineffectually sublimates the hate instinct and in the warring
conflict doubt and physical and psychic inadequacy arise. The situation
continues and generates mental, and physical infantilism, which in turn make
for increased feelings of tension. Motor and psychic restlessness succeed.
The motor expression manifests itself most often in habit movements of
disguised sexual significance (autoerogenous pleasures) a form of physical
stereotypy, in its broadest psychophysical meaning. The mental state often
pari passu takes up obsessive thinking and various physical acts and
thoughts are formed as defense mechanisms, born of conscious guilt. The
motor habits are usually inhibited or displaced in part, and the tic remains
as a motor symbol, usually in itself non-sexual, as a fragment of the former
complete habit movement. The mechanism of the completely evolved tic is
either a conversion (hysteric) or substitution (obsessive) mechanism or
By these who have studied Freudism this will, in a way, be understood. For
these who have not it may be more difficult of understanding without
somewhat further elaboration or explanation. In this connection I must again
mention that the Freudians include tics under their obsessive (obsessional)
neuroses. The theory of the mental mechanisms and evolution of these states
is given in the attached quotation, which is taken verbatim from Clark's
"The affect of the painful idea does not become transformed into physical
symptoms, as in the conversion mechanism of hysteria, but affixes itself to
other ideas not in themselves unbearable, thus producing by this false
relationship a substitutive symptom or obsession.
" . . . In all such obsessive neurotics the transformed reproaches which
have escaped repressions are always connected with some pleasurably
accomplished sexual act of childhood but may be almost entirely lost. The
obsessive acts really represent the conflict between impulses of opposite
instincts, love and hate, which are usually of equal value. The warring
conflict engendered makes for a curiosity to discover the meaning of life
forces (sexual largely) and the desire to know the end thereof. The
nuclear-complex of all this is a precociousness of emotional life and an
intensive fixation on one or the other parent or brother or sister. The
intensive love fixation waxes the stronger as the unconscious hate requires
increased barriers against its breaking through into the main or everyday
personality. As a result of these conflicts the will is partially weakened,
there is an incapacity for resolution, first in the realm of love alone;
then later succeeds a diffusion or displacement of the mechanism all over
the field of activity. A series of secondary defense mechanisms are now
brought in and these may enable the obsessive person to get square in a
limited way (as religious practices enable many to do). Some special
adaptation is required sooner or later, and the individual, having used up
all the helps, then falls back upon the different forms of obsessive acts
and thinking. Thus the obsessive neurosis is generated."
Clark then proceeds to explain:
"If one is not permitted to draw deductions from a few data as to the
further genesis of the tic disorders, we may still hold out a tentative
hypothesis, pieced together from many sources that a certain type of nervous
make-up is inherited. In such the emotional life is precocious much beyond
the intellectual faculties. The ticquer in infancy has the emotional
feelings of love and hate of an adult. Their very precociousness aids the
parental fixation and adhesion, and makes it the more difficult for the
libido to detach itself at the proper age. One should bear in mind that the
parental fixation in itself does not directly produce the mishaps of adult
life but this small fault in infancy generates wider and wider
maladaptations as development progresses. It is these latter glaring faults
and trends that make for the character defects, and these really break down
the final effort at adaptations and adjustments producing the tic or
obsessive disorder. But the essential nucleus of the defect is lack of
balance, precocious parental fixation, and continued attachment to the
parent-stem, that makes the adult defect possible. The very infantile
precociousness of the emotions argues for the hereditary transmission of
destructive temperamental qualities. Here, as elsewhere in tracing
hereditariness in so-called functional nervosities, one should take as the
unit character for study the mental traits or trends and exclude definite
disease entities applied to ancestral disorders. I believe it is not too
suppositious to think that many of these variant individuals are really
atavistic in makeup and have continued from one generation to another
special defective traits of emotional makeup which are fortunately denied
the average individual."
The writer cannot understand how the theory which he has taken the trouble
to so fully present in the above quotations can be maintained. Jones and
Clark both assert that the tics or habit spasms as probably of the same
nature as the obsessions in general. Moreover, Jones agrees that "familiar
examples of compulsion in a slight degree are the obsessive impulses to
touch every other rail of an iron fence as one walks past, to step on the
cracks between the flagstones of the pavement, or not to step on them, and
so on." A little reflection will show us the impossibility and illogicality
of viewing all these conditions as being fundamentally of sexual origin. Let
us follow the argument. If tics are of sexual derivation, as the Freudians
here openly maintain, then it must follow that those familiar examples of
compulsion, such as the obsessive impulse to touch every other post, etc.,
are likewise of sexual origin. This conclusion is forced upon us, since,
even according to Jones, the only difference between the marked tics and the
lesser manifestations is one of degree.[*] Now, these slighter impulsive
tendencies to which we have here referred are very frequent in all children
and by no means infrequent in grown-ups. They are habitual movements, which
may be of transient duration only or may, by repeated performance, develop
into more or less fixed habits. If, then, these habits are of sexual
significance, it must follow that all other habits, especially if associated
with a certain degree of consciousness or awareness, are in like manner
symbolical of the past infantile and early childhood sexual activities and
tendencies. This conclusion is, as is seen, inevitable, if we believe in
the Freudian theory of the pathogenesis of the tics. However, since this
leads us to a reductio ad absurdum, we must, of course, reject the
explanation which has been offered by the Freudian school.
[*] The accompanying mental state characteristic of ticquers is absent in
habits. We can stop doing the latter when our attention is directed to
them; not so in tics Meige and Feindel have discussed these and other
Perhaps I should also mention the fact that all of these symptoms or
tendencies which one finds in ticquers occur in other individuals who do not
present tics; and, furthermore, that all normal individuals possess these
qualities or tendencies in varying degrees of intensity and in varying
combinations, and that this applies to adults as well as to children,
although, of course, they are seen most characteristically in children. I
may further add that the difference between the mental infantilism which we
find present in the tic psychoneurosis and that which we observe in other
(normal and abnormal) conditions is one of degree rather than of kind.
Therefore, the most we can say of the mental condition in ticquers is that
there is an exaggeration of the mental infantilism or a fixation at or
tendency toward regression to this type of thinking or of reaction. And this
leads us to the further conclusion--and it is this point which I desire to
bring out in this connection--namely, that since the difference between the
mental infantilism in all of these conditions is relative, being one of
degree and of proportionate relationship or at any rate of genesis,
evolution and meaning, it naturally follows that what is in the conclusions
of Clark, as mentioned above, asserted to be an absolute and basic principle
or truth applicable to the tics, must consequently be true, but in different
degree, of all the other conditions of a similar or allied nature. Surely
the motive source is fundamentally the same in all of these conditions.
Furthermore, tics occur in animals, especially in horses; and the whole
picture, physical and mental, of tics in horses resembles that which we find
in human beings, particularly idiots and imbeciles, with tics. And the
ultimate, fundamental meaning and motive source of tics in man is and must
be the same as that of tics in horses.
To put Clark's idea in a nut-shell, it may be said that he believes that the
primary purpose of tics is not that of a protective, defense mechanism
against unpleasant situations in life but that of obtaining really
pleasurable gratifications to the psyche, these autopleasurable acts being
based on inherent defects and having a sexual significance in the sense in
which sexuality is conceived by Freud. The protective, defense mechanism
is, according to this view, but secondary to the primary and
fundamental purpose of obtaining the autopleasurable gratifications to the
Although approving of the analytic and genetic tendency displayed by Freud,
Clark and the Freudian school in general, it is regrettable to me that the
analytic tendency and reconstructive efforts of the Freudians in the field
of neurology and psychopathology have been seriously marred by their
insistence on forcing all observed physical and psychical phenomena and
reactions into line with their fixed sexual theories and their special
psychology, which is basically wrong in many fundamental and important
The writer will agree with the Freudians that there must be a cause for the
appearance of these tics. This cause existed in the past. It has in the
course of time been forgotten, but still exists somewhere in the
subconsciousness or memory. This forgetting has been brought about by a
process of dissociation from the original exciting cause. But the writer
will not agree that this dissociation has been, of necessity, brought about
by psychic repression on the part of the individual, that by psychoanalysis
the condition can be traced back to the sexual activities or tendencies of
infantile or early childhood origin, or that the condition may be cured when
the original cause is made known to the patient through psychoanalysis,
without the training of the will so necessary in this condition.
Thus the analytic tendency of the Freudian school is to be highly commended.
But this analysis should not be limited to sexual analysis, but should
include a consideration of all of man's instincts. Nor should the analysis
be limited to present-life psychic factors alone, but should be viewed from
a psychobiological standpoint. In this way only will all antecedent
causative factors--physical and mental--be included in our analytic
observation and speculation.
To fully discuss or to prove the error of Clark in his conclusions would
necessarily lead me into a general discussion of Freudism, which I cannot do
in this place, since the ramifications are too numerous and the problems
involved would lead to lengthy and tiresome discussion, pro and con. I must,
however, mention the exclusively sexual standpoint assumed by the Freudian
school in their interpretations of physical and psychical activities, their
classifying of all activities characterized by a certain rhythmicity and
periodicity, and accompanied by a certain degree of satisfaction-- in other
words of all autopleasurable activities--as sexual (in the Freudian sense),
and the neglect of comparative and behavioristic psychology with proper
consideration for man's phylogeny and ontogeny or of his true genetic
history, from the racial and world history and not alone from the
individualistic psychological standpoint. As a matter of fact the
conception of sexuality assumed by Freud and his followers has undergone
many changes and is by no means definite and clean cut in its outlines. A
criticism of the conception of sexuality cannot be entered upon here. I may
merely state that what is an absolute and fixed law for the tics, what is
the fundamental and basic explanation or theory of the genesis and meaning
of the tics must apply also to all habit movements wherever and whenever
they occur, and, in like manner, to all habit formations of whatever nature.
And since our habits are but the prolongations of our instincts, the latter
also would be included within the purview of the same generalization. In
other words, if all tics have a sexual meaning, then all instincts, which
means the vital energy of man, has the same meaning. This question I have
discussed in another place and cannot enter upon here.
 A Critical Review of the Conception of Sexuality Assumed by the Freudian
School. Medical Record, March 27, 1915.
Without furthur elaboration or discussion I am content to give the Freudian
conception to you as I have outlined it above and to let it stand for what
it is worth.
I may say that in the physical aspect of tics we have a specific somatic
manifestation which, if explained, should, in a way, be the gateway toward
the understanding of the many somatic symptoms which we find in the
psychoneuroses and psychoses.
THE EVOLUTIONARY, PHYLOGENETIC STANDPOINT
A year or more before Clark's paper appeared, I had arrived at certain
general conclusions regarding the subject of tics.
G. Stanley Hall has arrived at similar conclusions in his inspiring
Synthetic Genetic Study of Fear and I wish here to acknowledge my
indebtedness to his paper for making my own ideas clearer to me, for having
given me broader standpoints and for clearly presenting a theory which shall
form the basis of the remainder of this paper.
 In the American Journal of Psychology, Vol. XXV, in the July issue et
Let us first take up the tic movements and see whether we can arrive at a
rational explanation for their appearance.
The different varieties of tic movements embrace the entire field or range
of systematic, physiologically coordinated voluntary muscular activities.
The main types of tics may be enumerated at this point: facial tics, which
are the most frequent and which may be tonic or clonic, are tics of mimicry
and express emotions; tics of the ear or auditory tics; nictitation and
vision tics, particularly of the eyelids; tics of sniffing; tics of sucking;
tics of licking; tics of biting and of mastication, and mental trismus; tics
of nodding, tossing, affirmation, negation, salutation and mental
torticollis; trunk, arm and shoulder tics; snatching tics; the professional
or occupational spasms, which are really a special atypical form of tics;
walking and leaping tics; tics of spitting, swallowing, vomiting, eructation
and wind sucking (aerophagia); tics of snoring, sniffing, blowing,
whistling, coughing, sobbing, hiccoughing; tics of speech, including all
sorts of sounds, stammering (in some cases), habit expressions, echolalia
It is thus seen that we have here physiological and biological acts of
different manifestations and purposes.
The tic movements have a certain significance at the time of their
performance. The physiological functions are definite.
The Magnan school insisted that tics are not morbid entities but episodic
syndromes of mental degeneration. Charcot referred to tic as a sort of
hereditary aberration, which, I may add, is surely true when we view it from
the phylogenetic standpoint, as representing a resurrection of what was at
one time a normal tendency or reaction. Noir has called attention to the
fact that the movements found in the tics correspond to the infant's
spontaneous muscular play, which means the muscular play of all mankind.
These authors were directing their efforts in the right direction. To
appreciate this we need but remember that the mechanisms or the
potentialities for the movements are inherited and have a phylogenetic
significance. At a lower psychic level, far back in our phylogenetic racial
history, all of these movements, perhaps then in a rudimentary form, had a
single, original meaning. This meaning was self-preservation, and it was
because of its value as a means of adaptation or reaction to the
environment, with the consequent maintenance of self-preservation; that the
movements or the mechanisms of the movements were selected for survival and
for hereditary transmission as inherent, unconscious, organic mechanisms,
processes or engrams. The original, phylogenetic significance attained at a
low cultural or psychic level, relatively unconscious, may or may not later
be consciously associated or dominate its subsequent functioning. But its
primary, biological significance, its real raison d'etre is to be found in
the phylogenetic, racial history of man. The present life history with its
varied experiences do but act as stimuli or as exciting factors to bring
once more into activity functions which have been preserved in the organic
structure of the nervous system.
In our return to phylogenetic, ontogenetic, rudimentary, unconscious,
organic reactions, to atavistic, prehistoric, performed, embryonic, immature
methods of response, the vestigial remnants, revivals of long ago, which
have been submerged but which now reappear due to our reversionary
tendencies--uprooted by dissociation, disintegration or regression, with its
lapse or descent to low cultural or psychic levels--these old components
which reappear or rather fall apart and appear as independent activities,
are exaggerated, inflated, caricatured or excessively performed. In our
devolutionary tendency toward ancestral methods of reaction, the individual,
resolved, so to speak, into his proximate elements, permits or is compelled
by biological determinism to permit these split off tendencies to break
forth once more, albeit in exaggerated fashion, as if let loose from the
leash of control by the higher nervous centres, and reanimified,
intensified, and magnified, our infantile, archaic, instinctive, inherited,
hidden, phylogenetic tendencies or activities held sway.
It seems to me that it is well worth while to quote at some length from G.
Stanley Hall, that great exponent of genetic psychology and all that it
stands for. His very stimulating and inspiring paper on fear, to which I
have already referred, is freely quoted in the following paragraphs.
According to geneticism, Stanley Hall tells us, all responses to shock are
vestiges of once useful reactions. In fact, the shock neuroses and shock
psychoses, if analyzable psychogenetically, "would be found to be reversions
to, and also perhaps more often than we suspect, magnifications of acts and
psychic states that were at one time the fittest of which our forebears were
capable. However, all the pathological phenomena of today are not mere
revivals of the acts and states of primitive man and his ancestors, but
"they are often, on the other hand, grotesque variants and intensifications
of phylogenetic originals that were more sane and simple if also more
generic. Shock symptoms may thus be symbols of long past racial experiences
which when we have learned to interpret them more fully will tell us much of
the early history of our phylum." It is the outbreaks of emotion which
"mark the incursions of the race into the narrow life of the
 Loc. cit., pp. 178-179.
 Loc. cit., p. 179.
 Loc. cit., p. 183.
Furthermore, "the central nervous system differs from all others in that it
is par excellence the organ of registration and of physiological memory. It
is there that the traces of ancestral experience are stored so that almost
nothing that was ever essential in the development of the phylum is ever
entirely lost. Hence suggestive as are many physical traits of our racial
history, the intangible psychophysic traits must be assumed to be both far
more numerous and more indelible.
"While these faint tendencies often crop out in a behavioristic way, by far
the most of them need some stimulus of individual experiences to awaken
them, and still more exist only in the slight facilitization of impulses or
permeability of nervous centres, lability of molecular or neural tensions,
or as preferential re-enforcements, in one rather than in another direction
 Loc. cit., p. 351-352.
It is obvious that motor expressions of shock or motor methods of adaptation
or reaction are much older and far more prominent than psychic. But although
a changed environment made the old types of defense obsolete, they still
persist, "in a sthenic if somewhat now inco-ordinated way, and when they are
called into action now they evoke a faint phosphorescence of the old
 Loc. cit., p. 197.
In brief it should be said that no matter how refined and how highly
cultured we are, we still fear and react to emotions "in the same terms of
the same old gross organs and functions as do the brutes."
 Loc. cit., p. 197.
As I have stated in a previous paper, the pathogenesis of tics and
allied conditions can best be appreciated by viewing the subject from an
evolutionary standpoint. In our reactions and adaptations to the varying
experiences with which we meet we respond by one or more of several methods
of motor reaction. These motor expressions are of increasing complexity as
we ascend the scale of evolution and development. One of the simplest kinds
of adaptation is by simple, reflex muscular action, the response being
anatomical and not physiological in its extent. Then come our simple
physiological reactions. A more complex reaction is by those
physiologically co-ordinated motor reactions or movements which go to
comprise our pantomimic movements. This is seen most characteristically in
our facial expressions, gestures, mimicry and dancing. Still higher up in
the scale we find our conduct and feelings as exemplified in our speech. And
finally, highest of all, we must place our conduct as shown in written or
printed language. This is a brief outline of our evolutionary and
developmental ascent and of the increasing complexity and refinement of our
 Tics. Interstate Medical Journal, January and February, 1915.
In our motor adaptations we respond in one or more of these ways. When for
some reason or another one outlet us denied us, we find avenues of
expression through one or more of the other paths. Now, the manner and
degree of our response is dependent on our stage in evolution and
development, on the development of our senses, on our instincts, feelings
and emotions, on our intellect and experiences. Unable to find expression by
means of writing or speech, we instinctively fall back upon and seek
expression by a less refined method, one earlier acquired and thus lower in
the scale of evolution. This has a more or less general application
throughout the scale of human (individual and social) conduct. It is an
application of the universal law of adaptation to existing conditions in the
best manner possible under the circumstances. We may thus lay down in a
general sort of way a conception which I like to call the theory of
psychophysical progression, fixation and regression along evolutionary and
developmental lines. In the case of tics the regressive or devolutionary
aspect comes in for special consideration. We may react mainly physically,
or mainly psychically. But as a rule we react by both physical and psychic
means, the manner and degree of our conduct being determined, as above
mentioned, by our stage in evolution and development.
How does all this preliminary and general discussion apply to the problem of
the tics? The relation seems to me to be most intimate and most important.
The tics are methods of response or reaction to certain external irritations
or ideas, this response being the manner of adaptation. The response may be
mainly motor or mainly psychic, most frequently psychomotor. When the source
of irritation and the cause for action is known, our conduct is more
specific and is apt to be less diffuse, less inadequate, less indefinite.
In our reactive adaptations, which, as explained above, are greatly
dependent upon our psychophysical make-up or constitution, we protect
ourselves consciously or more or less unconsciously against disagreeable,
inimicable, unpleasant or irritating environmental factors, physical or
psychical, by bringing into activity certain psychical or physical or
psychophysical reactions or processes. The special defense reactions
brought into the foreground are those which follow the line of least
resistance, due to hereditary or environmental construction, or are those
which were most intensely stimulated or irritated and the most biologically
useful and adaptive at the particular moment or under the special
circumstances. The young child's reactions are preponderately motor, or at
any rate psychomotor and not purely psychic. When there are sources of
irritation or bodily or mental discomfort, there is a more or less general
bodily reaction, psychophysical in nature. When the irritation is definite
and clearly recognized by the child, the local motor response is also apt to
be definite. When, on the other hand, the irritation is but vaguely
perceived and not clearly appreciated or localized, we find that the child
may show a general diffuse reaction, or even, in some cases, a reaction
limited to certain regions as determined by the reaction taking place along
the line of least resistance. This is plainly seen in the conduct of the
physically sick child. Every pediatrician will find ample proof in support
of this statement in his observations of the defensive reactions of the ill
When this irritation along a certain nerve path is oft repeated or quite
constant, we have a consequent repetition of the defensive reaction,
whatever it may be. This performance may be so frequently repeated that the
idea of irritation or mental conflict or the anticipation or the expectation
of a repetition of same may be quite sufficient in itself to arouse this
reaction. It may become so habitual that, even though no such idea be in
the mind, there may be a repetition of the movement whenever the individual
is nervously excited or upset, whenever there is any mental stress, strain
or discomfort. And we may go even further and say that as a result of some
unusual mental struggle, some excessive mental strain, defense or adaptation
is brought about by regression or resort to a tic, this being conditioned by
the fact that for the particular individual under discussion this is the
easiest, most convenient or most immediate form of reactive response. The
discharge is, as is seen, along the line of least resistance. This line of
least resistance is determined by the organic nervous constitution and by
certain life-experiences or habit-formation factors. In some cases the
movement, once initiated, may be continued long after the disappearance or
cessation of the external irritation, because of the sense of relief or
satisfaction or pleasure[*] which is obtained by the performance of the tic.
In many instances the habit has become rather fixed, and, as a relief from
the struggle to do or not to do the movement, and because of fatigue in the
effort to inhibit or control the movement, the individual adopts the path of
least resistance, best for immediate relief from mental struggle; and as a
psychobiological effort at self-preservation and self-gratification, as
immediately as possible and at any cost to be paid in the future, he gives
vent, as it were, to the movement.
[*] This is not, of course, of a sexual nature the Freudian school
The psychic symptoms may come on at a later date than the motor symptoms or
simultaneously, although, of course, the early life history, in childhood
and puberty, for example, if we are dealing with an adult, may show, at
least in a certain proportion of cases, that the individual was of a
psychopathic type, perhaps somewhat shut-in or asocial. If the appearance of
the psychical symptoms be simultaneous with that of the physical symptoms,
we can understand at once how, like the motor symptoms, they may be repeated
time and again. In many instances, at least, the psychic symptoms arise
later, being added to the motor symptoms. These later psychic symptoms may
be a direct reaction to the source of irritation, or may be occasioned by
the dissatisfaction at being unable to control the movement in question.
The degree of reaction, its duration and severity, depend upon the
hereditary and developmental make-up of the individual and the severity,
frequency and duration of the irritation, physical or psychical. The psychic
element is particularly apt to vary. The more neuropathic and psychopathic
the make-up the greater is the reaction.
Where mental enfeeblement or mental disorder exist, the severity and
chronicity are apt to be still greater.
There is thus a fixation, or rather a regression or reversion, oft repeated,
to a type of reaction of a very infantile, primitive sort, farther down in
the scale of evolution and development.
This picture may be further complicated by so-called neurasthenic,
psychasthenic, hysterical or other reactions. Naturally one would expect to
find these conditions, especially the more aggravated forms, in individuals
of a neuropathic and psychopathic family strain, and who themselves are
neuropathic or psychopathic or both.
It may be mentioned here, as is clearly appreciated from what has been said
before, that there is an interrelationship between the tics on the one hand
and the symptoms which we discover in the psychoneuroses, psychoses and the
mentally unstable on the other.
In all of these conditions we find a cortical origin for the disturbance,
there is a lack of will power, of inhibition and of control of the lower
centres, there is a nervous and mental instability with a tendency toward
regression or dissociation, and the assumption of more or less independent,
almost automatic activity, this activity being characterized by its almost
(relatively) infantile, primitive, archaic makeup.
Were I to take up any one of the tics as an illustration, this general idea
could be applied very nicely. But I shall not present any illustrative cases
in this paper. I shall leave it to the reader, however, to explain the
genesis and evolution of, for example, facial tics (which are so common)
from this standpoint.
In passing I may say that the tic movements may have a special, individual,
psychological significance. But this is by no means necessarily so.
Frequently, I am inclined to believe usually, these movements result rather
merely because there has been effected a psychobiological reaction,
following the theory of psychophysical-progression, fixation and regression
with involvement of the nervous paths most seriously affected or most easily
In the case of the tics, therefore, it is as if the various tic movements
are being used in reaction to or in adaptation to sources of internal or
external, physical or mental irritation, for the protection, defense or
self-preservation of this or that particular part of the nervous system--as
if the movements which we find in the tics and which are the expressions of
certain engrams, neurograms, mnemes or organic memories, are existing in and
for themselves, except that, in the tics, they are reacting with and for the
psychophysical organism, the organic make-up or personality.
The individual, as a biological unit, is reacting to the particular
situation which presents itself by the tic mechanism.
By granting the phylogenetic, racial significance we also give the basic,
psychophysical meaning of tics in all ticquers.
How is it that these activities may come into play again? What brings them
to the surface once more?
There are many factors which come in for consideration in this connection.
In the first place the basic cause is the instinctive, organic,
psychophysical make-up of the individual. Whether and which functions
re-exist as of old and respond as means of adaptation and self-preservation,
depends on the stability and the weaknesses or defects of the nervous
mechanism or system with its various parts, systems, functions or inherent
psychophysical dispositions on the one hand, and the life-experiences and
the immediate inciting factor on the other hand.
A neuropathic or psychopathic or neuropsychopathic constitution with its
usual causes (germinal, intrauterine or extrauterine, usually of a toxic,
infectious or disturbed metabolic nature, and including particularly
alcohol, syphilis and nutritional disorders) may form the ground work. This
predisposition may be congenital--that is, present from the date of birth,
although not necessarily germinal in origin, or it may be acquired at some
period in life from physical or psychic causes. In this connection the
infantile and early childhood history are very important. Consequently the
diseases, training, example, education and opportunities in childhood and
infancy are of very great significance, the parental training and example
and the home conditions having a most intimate relationship to the
development of many of these tics. Imitation and mimicry here play a decided
role. Spoiled children, too quickly satisfied or over repressed, are apt to
develop tics. External somatic irritations may be the starting point in some
(not in all) cases. At other times an idea (normal or abnormal) may incite
the tic movements. Auto and hetero-suggestion, hypochondriacal ideas,
hysterical symptoms and obsessions may, particularly in adults, initiate
tics. Obsessions are especially apt to produce habits or tics, if they
produce any motor reaction. Tics may develop into obsessions and vice versa;
or both may co-exist simultaneously and be unrelated. The original ideas
which led to the movements vanish while the movements survive. In the insane
various sorts of delusions may be the groundwork on which a tic may later
develop. Habit movements, which represent purposive physiological acts
which have become automatic and not inhibited (hence showing weak will
power) and which seek strongly for expression, which the individual
struggles against and endeavors consciously to inhibit and overcome after
the tendency is fairly well developed, may eventually become impulsive and
irresistible with the ultimate evolution of the psychic state which is
characteristic of ticquers. Automatic habits and mannerisms or stereotyped
acts are of course not tics but the latter are but caricatures of the former
with an added characteristic mental state. Tics, as mentioned earlier in
this paper, are thus pathological habits.
Tics may also be but the symbol for a vague feeling of tension, irritation
or stimulation, which seeks relief or expression by the performance of the
Emotional stress and strain, fright, fear, excitement and mental shock can
arouse a tic. Mental conflict and unrest has not received that degree of
attention which it surely deserves. Clark and the Freudian school have
definitely called our attention to this aspect. Bresler refers to tic as a
motor reaction to original mental shock, so that it is in fact a psychic
defense reaction of expression. Dupre has stated that emotional shock may
act as a possible exciting cause of tics, as at times of obsessions. Meige
and Feindel have asserted that fear may excite a movement of defense, and
although the exciting cause has vanished, this movement may continue to
persist as a tic. They also mention that in ticquers we frequently find the
impulse to seek a sensation and to repeat to excess a functional act.
That there is a weakness of will power in the ticquer, with a lack of
control or inhibition over the lower neurones normally regulated by the
higher co-ordinating centres, so that certain automatic activities become
dissociated and exist more or less independently, is generally acknowledged.
In fact it must be said that tics are reactions of the organism, of the
organic make-up, the psychophysical personality, as a response to
irritation, excitation or stimulation, sensory, nervous or psychic! It is a
means of relief of tension, of organic reaction or adaptation, not
necessarily conscious but frequently unconscious and automatic, as in fear.
Starting in this way it may persist. In the tic we see a method by which
the individual or organic personality has met a certain difficult or
undesirable or disturbing situation. It is thus a constitutional, biological
defense reaction, psychophysical in nature, with a reversionary tendency
(when viewed from the evolutionary standpoint), and hence is indicative of
degeneration, this term being used in the racial, biological, phylogenetic
and ontogenetic sense.
There is not such a far cry from the simplest tic to Gilles de la Tourette's
disease or maladie des tics with its more pronounced signs of psychophysical
deterioration and dissociation. The tendency is a degenerative one-- a
prolapse to ancestral methods of reaction, a dissociation or disintegration
of the personality, a lack of control over more elementary activities. We
should therefore appreciate the need of early recognition and treatment of
tics and fixed habit movements, especially since there is a tendency to
spread, for the tics to multiply, and for mental symptoms and reactions of a
hysterical and psychasthenic nature to appear, if they do not already exist
or have not existed before the onset of the tic.
In brief, then, tics represent the emotional reactions and feelings of the
individual--the loves and the hates, the likes and the dislikes, the wishes
and the fears, the cravings and the dissatisfactions, the bodily and mental
tension, unrest, excitement, discomfort and disequilibration. In other words
the ticquer feels and speaks and acts by the tic. He lives by, in and for
his tic. He is attempting to meet certain situations of a disturbing nature
and to obtain equilibrium and equipoise by compensating for his feelings of
inefficiency and unrest by the tics. It is an organic, constitutional,
psychophysical, biological means of adaptation.
PROGRESSIVE EVOLUTION OF THE CONDITION
We now come to the progressive evolution of the motor manifestations and to
the mental aspect of this condition.
Concerning the mental state characteristic of the ticquer it is generally
agreed that there is a polymorphic psychic defect or disorder which shows
itself particularly in a precocious or hyperemotional condition, in a lack
of will power and of inhibitory control, leading to a state and feeling of
doubt, indecision, incapacity, insufficiency and unreality, of inferiority
and self-depreciation, with a tendency towards morbid self-absorption,
egocentricity, self-observation, auto-and hetero-suggestion, with the
consequent development in many instances of so-called neurasthenic,
psychasthenic, hysteric and various psychotic reactions. I am not prepared
to say definitely how frequently the mental state, in lessened degree,
precedes the outbreak of the tic movements. This may be present in a certain
proportion of cases, but is by no means always present and it is even
questionable whether the predispositional mental condition is the ground
work in the majority of patients.
Tics, it is true, are especially apt to develop in individuals with a
neuropathic or psychopathic history or heredity. In other cases this
history is not obtainable, the individual having been apparently perfectly
normal up to the time of the outcropping of the tic. In these cases shock
is apt to bring on the outbreaks and so one may say that the instability had
been latent and that a severe shock was sufficient to bring it to the
surface. We must remember, in all these cases, that the mental state which
we see in the ticquer is but an exaggeration of that which appears in many
children, and is similar to that which appears also in other psychoneurotic
states, and in fact the germs of this condition may occur transiently in any
of us. This psychic condition may frequently but does not always precede the
appearance of the tic movement. But it is only after the appearance of the
motor manifestations of tic that the mental state becomes prominent or
develops where it was not noticeable if not absent before.
Be that as it may, or even granting that in most patients the characteristic
mental state or the neuropathic or psychopathic make-up exists in some
measure to an abnormal extent, we do know that once the tic movements have
made their appearance and begin to spread, so that the individual is thrown
into the struggle to perform or not to perform the movement, the development
of the psychic state which we find so patent in the more pronounced forms of
tic, thereafter more or less rapidly occurs, no matter what the mental
condition of the ticquer may have been previously. I am also not prepared to
discuss here at any length the phylogenetic or ontogenetic significance and
the biological genesis and meaning of the various mental trends of the
ticquer, but I may say that they too have been acquired in the course of
evolution, for certain very definite reasons which need not concern us here,
although it can be appreciated that the biological motive of
self-preservation played a most important role in their genesis and
APPLICATION OF ADLER'S THEORY OF THE NEUROTIC TO TICS
The progressive spreading of the tic movement which so commonly occurs, as
well as the evolution of the mental aspect which develops subsequent to the
appearance of the tic movement, may be very nicely understood if we adopt,
for our present purposes the recent theories of Alfred Adler, of Vienna,
concerning the makeup and development of the neurotic. This we may do
without committing ourselves, at this moment, one way or the other, with
regard to the correctness or incorrectness of Adler's views as applied in
toto to the neurotic.
 Ueber den Nervosen Charakter, 1912. See also Adler's Studie uber
Minderwertigkeit von Organen, 1907.
One should note that Meige and Feindel were, in a way, on the threshold of
this theory when they said that tic, like the other psychoneuroses, is due
to some congenital anomaly, an arrest or defect in the development of
cortical or subcortical association paths--unrecognized teratological
In a very few words Adler's theory may be given as follows: Adler assumes
that there is definite somatic inferiority (based on anatomical and
physiological changes) as the basis or foundation for the neurotic soil.
The neurotic consciously comes to realize the unconscious, organic, somatic
inferiority, and the endeavor to effect a psychic compensation or to make up
for these organic deficiencies by certain definite mechanisms, frequently
results in an overreaction or over-compensation. He thus overdoes himself in
efforts to make up for his inferiority, and in these endeavors he
necessarily makes use of unusual means and devices. It is this effort which
is the great motive force which dominates the life activities of the
individual and which compels him to seek as his ultimate object or final
goal a state which is best described as one of complete masculinity, of full
manhood, of self-maximization, of the will to live, to become powerful and
to seek supremacy or "the will to power" (Nietzsche). In following this goal
he goes to extremes and employs peculiar methods and devices, most of which
have for their object the concealment of his defects, and it is these
overcompensatory efforts and these peculiar devices resorted to, which go to
form the peculiarities or traits of the neurotic. According to Adler's
theory, the conscious efforts of the individual for psychic compensation or
overcompensation (for the unconscious, organic deficiencies) leads to a
resulting feeling of insufficiency, of incompleteness, of inferiority, of
unreality, of anxiety, of inability to face reality. Thus the mental
symptoms or characteristic mental state, being but the conscious recognition
of the unconscious inferiority, become especially pronounced when there is a
failure of compensation, or, in other words, when the individual is unable
to meet with or adapt to the situation which at the moment presents itself.
In these forced efforts at defense and compensation there is a resort or
regression to older, infantile, child-like, archaic types of reaction, of a
physical or mental nature, which are thus the protective defense mechanisms
or symbols. The struggle of the neurotic consists particularly in the
conscious appreciation of his goal and of his deficiencies of makeup and in
the attempt to reach his goal of full manhood and self-maximization in spite
of his handicapping deficiencies.
Without discussing the exact status of this theory in the case of the
psychoneuroses and their related conditions in general, we may, as mentioned
previously, very conveniently use this theory in the elucidation and
understanding of the further development of the tic condition.
Let us first consider the spreading of the tic movements. We know how in the
ticquer one tic movement may disappear only to give way to another, or one
after the other an increased number of tic movements and also of definite
compensatory movements not of a tic nature but of the nature of antagonistic
gestures and stratagems may make their appearance. The latter may in certain
instances become habit movements and eventually real tic movements. One
movement after the other may be resorted to, some perfectly consciously,
others more or less unconsciously, as reactions of the personality, of the
organic makeup or psychophysical constitution. These movements are adopted
by the patient, frequently more or less unconsciously, in order to attain a
state of equilibrium and rest, and in order to hide and make up for the
defect (the tic movements) of which he is aware. In these efforts he
overdoes himself and instead of hiding the movement he exaggerates it and
even resorts to further movements in his struggles to compensate, to adapt,
to conceal, and to flee from a state of mental disarrangement to a state of
Now, most of our gross reactions are of a psychophysical nature, so that we
find that when the old types of defense or of activity are called forth (as
they are in the tics, as explained earlier in this paper, from the
evolutionary and phylogenetic standpoint), the resulting actions, now
reanimified, appear in exaggerated form, and also tend to "evoke a faint
phosphorescence of the old primordial feeling." This probably results in the
outcropping of the various psychic trends which appear in the ticquer and
which increase in degree and in number. The most common of the resurrected
psychic trends is the general tendency to dissociation or disruption of the
personality with the reanimification, in varying degrees, of certain mental
deficiencies and inferior types of reaction which are indicative of the
relative failure of the patient to measure up to and efficiently deal with
and adapt to the struggles of life as he must face and meet them. And so,
many undesirable and inferior kinds of mental trends come forth and hold
sway. The basis of their appearance is the lack of will power and of control
over these various trends which were previously more or less completely held
under control but which are now impulsively forcing their way to the surface
and being unravelled. These trends are characterized by their relative
immaturity, their infantile-like and archaic type. And so we have the states
of indecision, of doubt, of uncertainty, of inferiority, of depression, of
unrest, of self-depreciation, of self-observation, of auto and
heterosuggestion, of egocentricity, of self-criticism, of inhibition of the
expression of the personality along the broader, social lines of effort.
The groundwork for added states (hysteric, psychasthenic, and others) is
here very fertile.
The law of psychic ambivalence and ambitendency, as so nicely developed by
Bleuler, here shows itself in marked degree. There is both the positive
and the negative tendency toward the performance and execution of these
activities and reactions which are necessary for the living of a life of a
high or low degree of efficiency, so that the ticquer is obsessed by the
problem of "to do or not to do." This added factor leads to an exaggeration
of all the unfavorable psychic tendencies which have made their appearance,
and the intrapsychic struggle goes on with increased vigor.
 The Theory of Schizophrenic Negativism. Translated by William A.
White. Nervous and Mental Disease. Monograph Series, No. II.
The entire mental picture which we find in the most extreme forms of tic
could be beautifully elaborated along these general lines. For example, the
ticquer becomes asocial, seclusive and shuns society because of the
consciousness of the condition and the exaggerated sensitiveness. This
represents compensatory, defensive methods of concealment. Absentmindedness
and the inability to concentrate the attention are conditioned by the great
degree of attention devoted to the tic. The mental dissociation or
disintegration leads to an inflating of the emotional aspect of the
patient's mental life with a resulting increased nervous irritability and
reaction and a heightened degree of susceptibility to emotional
disequilibration and fatiguability of the mental faculties. The lack of
self-assertion, of confidence in himself, and the feeling of inferiority and
insufficiency are natural consequences of the general picture. The
inhibition of even, unhampered self-expression is always observed.
In tics, it must be noted, there is regression to more inefficient and
inferior methods of response and adaptation, the types of activity being of
a somatic and psychic nature. Following the regression and owing to constant
repetition and habit formation there is a gradual fixation to certain
methods of response which become the lines of least resistance and this is
followed by progression and development of the general picture to other tics
and psychic symptoms.
In general we note that the psychophysical reaction which we come upon in
the tics leads to the unearthing of various psychophysical types of
reaction, this unearthing consisting of disintegration or regression or
dissociation, the repressed, hidden, unconscious, phylo and ontogenetic,
archaic and relatively infantile-like activities, tendencies and
possibilities coming to the fore and unfolding themselves.
It is here seen that this broad genetic standpoint is one of the greatest
contributions to psychopathology and is of infinite aid to us in the
understanding of the problems which confront us in the domain of
psychopathology and psychiatry.
Comparative and animal psychology and the study of the reactions of
children, of primitive races, and of the mentally disordered give us a
splendid opportunity for studying it and unravelling the meaning of the many
somatic and psychic manifestations which are exhibited to us in the
psychoneuroses and psychoses and in tracing out the racial history of man.
Is it not plain that an understanding of the genesis and meaning of tics
opens the gateway to the elucidation of the origin and significance of the
psychoneuroses and functional psychoses--of reaction types of various kinds?
THE INDIVIDUAL DELINQUENT. By William Healy, A. B., M. D. (Little, Brown &
Co., Boston, 1915.)
It is a rare and pleasant experience to meet a book on such a general topic
as delinquency, which has not as its raison d'etre the exploitation of some
over-worked hypothesis. The Director of the Psychopathic Institute of the
Juvenile Court in Chicago has, however, not only avoided this danger but has
given psychologists, jurists, and penologists such a report of his five
years work as not one of them can afford to overlook. As the title of the
work implies, the material is drawn from the individual study of the
delinquent. He presents the results of the unbiased investigation of the
discoverable factors in the production of criminality in 1000 recidivists,
who were mostly, though far from exclusively, adolescents-- the period when
factors, both internal and external, are most easily determined and
A careful perusal of the introductory chapter on methods reveals both the
thoroughness and open-mindedness of the author. He demonstrates that no
satisfaction was gained by the finding of any special mental or physical
abnormality, unless a more direct relation could be shown with the crime
committed than is established by mere coincidence. It is particularly
satisfying to note the precautions taken in the application of set tests,
how careful Dr. Healy and his assistants have been to determine the
completeness of cooperation on the part of the subject and to weigh this
factor in evaluating the results. One soon reaches the conclusion that the
author's own series of tests are much more likely to lead to reliable
diagnosis than the series of Binet, which demands so much of the rather
specialized capacity of abstract formulation. Healy's tests, on the other
hand, deal fairly with the primitive, untaught mind and that which has an
unequal and deceptive development of language ability. In connection with
these tests, it is interesting to note, by the way, that he finds
irregularity in results (or cooperation) to be so often associated with
epilepsy and depletion from sex over-indulgence that it may be taken as a
suggestive diagnostic feature.
The value for the reader in discovering the eclectic view-point and critical
conservatism of an investigator lies in the confidence which these qualities
beget in the reliability of results. One can read most of "The Individual
Delinquent" to learn facts without the distraction of critical uncertainty.
With this in mind, therefore, a few of his conclusions, picked mostly at
random, may be quoted. An important factor in the production of delinquency
he finds to lie in the premature appearance of adult sex development--a
precocity which he regards as dangerous because it seems to be correlated
with a stimulation of sex instinct before adult inhibitions appear. In girls
(not in boys) he finds a distinct tendency to general physical
over-development as compared with the norm of the same age. In this
connection it is striking to find how many of his cases, which seem to
exhibit ingrained criminal tendencies, are delinquents only during the
period of adolescent instability. The various statistics are naturally also
of extreme interest, particularly since they are the result of examination
of 1,000 cases, chosen for this purpose only when there were sufficient data
secured to make the individual study relatively complete, and since they are
so at variance with the publications of others who have approached criminal
statistics to prove a theory rather than to learn facts. He finds alcoholism
in one or both parents in 311 cases. He cannot determine any direct
inheritance of criminal tendencies as such, but regards them as indirectly
of great importance as there were 61% who showed distinct defects in the
family antecedents. He thinks that stigmata of degeneration are probably
better correlated with mental defect and also with nutritional or
environmental conditions than with criminalism as such. Followers of
Lombroso will be disappointed to read that he found only 83 epileptics, or
possible epileptics, among his 1,000 cases. A full two-thirds of the cases
presented no symptoms of mental abnormality while only one tenth were
definitely feeble-minded. These are but scattered data; no digest, which
might be taken as substitute for the book itself, would be advisable.
It is to be expected, of course, that psychologists (and particularly those
interested in dynamic psychology) will find mixed pleasure in reading this
work. The section on "Mental Conflicts" must appeal to all with its
practical demonstration of what can be done by psychological analysis to
abolish anti-social tendencies in many puzzling cases. There will
undoubtedly be disappointment in his failure to make general psychological
formulations, but, as the critics would differ amongst themselves as to what
these formulations should be, Dr. Healy's silence is here probably a wise
conservatism. At the same time there is certainly exhibited a tendency to be
rather too individual and give too few generalizations. This is evidenced by
his failure to regard as a factor in one case what has been admitted as such
in a slightly more obvious instance. To cite one example: On page 192, he
speaks of the inheritance of hypersexual tendencies; on page 166, we find:
". . . immodest behavior and use of obscene language on the part of a
parent, which we have so frequently found to be one of the main causes of a
girl going wrong . . . " Somewhat similar results are thus ascribed once to
heredity and again to environment. At this stage of our knowledge it would,
of course, be foolish to eliminate any specific inheritance as a factor, but
it is surprising that in the former case he does not consider environment as
a factor, although he elsewhere gives striking evidence of unconscious
influence proceeding from one individual to another via sex initiation.
It is possible that this lack of a broad psychological view point-- this
example chosen is far from isolated--is connected with a specific, and most
definitely serious, defect in the book. The treatment of the psychoses is
distinctly unsatisfactory. Apparently the author has had to rely on the
literature for his preparatory experience and has been fortunate only in
some cases, if we may judge by his references. The most satisfactory group
he describes is that of the traumatic psychoses and there he follows Meyer's
admirable study. On the other hand, in introducing the Dementia praecox
group, he makes no specific mention of any one of the cardinal symptoms of
disassociation or shallowness of affect, scattering of thought, and
delusions or hallucinations. His nearest approach is when he says:
"Variations in the way of excitement, with dullness and paranoidal
excitement are seen during the course of the disease." This is followed by
the description of a case which he says contains the symptoms typical of the
psychosis but in which no pathognomic abnormality is mentioned except
negativism-- a vague term whose meaning varies with the observer.
Not unnaturally with such unfamiliarity, the psychosis is a "dispensation of
Providence." There is no evidence that to him psychiatry is as much a
problem of every day life as it is of institutional care of the insane. We
can, therefore, find such a statement as this:
"The mental findings and the conduct determined the fact of aberration and
that is all that should be necessary for immediate court purposes. Further
business of diagnosis should be left to a psychopathic hospital."
It is true that responsibility may and should be evaded when the psychosis
is full-blown; but how about the innumerable cases of incipient psychotic
disturbance which grade over into the "mental conflicts?"
In harmony with this diffidence is the repeated hope for aid from the
Abderhalden. or some similar reaction. For instance:
"The newer methods of diagnosis of Dementia praecox we look forward to for
help in one place where discrimination is important."
But surely a psychologist cannot hope to predict conduct by physical
findings! If Dementia praecox postulated criminality, the situation might
be different, but, as it stands, the reaction would only be of value in the
doubtful cases-- cases which are so many of them non-institutional.
With this vague conception of the psychoses it is not surprising to find
that diagnosis used faute de mieux. For instance, in describing Case 169,
of "pathological lying," he says:
"We could not in any way find evidence of mental peculiarity but we did
question his story because of intrinsic improbability." Rather conflicting
statements! Later on, he explains, the case was diagnosed as one of
"epileptic psychosis" because the subject developed convulsions, although
there is no evidence, or even claim, presented that the lying was an
equivalent, or in any way correlated with the epilepsy except as a
Such faults in a book of this sort are serious but only in so far as the
work is theoretical. The main object of the book is to present facts in an
unbiased way and for the first time we have them in anything like
completeness. The importance of Dr. Healy's labors cannot, then, be
overestimated. His publication will be eagerly welcomed by the army of
workers who see a few cases at various stages of delinquency and who long to
know authoritatively what the types are, how they develop, what the outlook
is, and how that may be modified by appropriate treatment. We owe him much.
JOHN T. MACCURDY.
HUMAN MOTIVES. By James Jackson Putnam, M. D. Professor Emeritus, Diseases
of the Nervous System, Harvard University. Boston. Little, Brown & Co.,
1915; 12mo. Price $1.
According to the publishers' announcement this is a study in the psychology
and philosophy of human conduct, based largely on the author's use of the
Freudian psychoanalytic method of mental diagnosis. The editorial
introduction by Dr. Bruce consists in a brief outline of the subconscious
mind. The author's preface, aside from anticipating the main features of the
book, makes the announcement that the latter is based very largely on the
personal experience of the last two years. The author gives one the
impression that this period represents to him one in which he has to his own
satisfaction mastered the relationship between psychoanalysis on the one
hand and our current conception of moral philosophy, ethics and religion on
the other. During this period he has "studied motives at close range."
The work consists of six chapters and of these the first two deal with the
philosophic method of viewing man, while the others are devoted to
psychoanalysis. In the last chapter the author makes suggestions as to the
possibility of synthesizing the two methods.
Human motives are either constructive or adaptive. The former are
associated with conscious reasoning and will, the latter with emotional
repressions. The former represent aspirations and are much higher than they
seem, since every man has an ideal--"getting out the best that is in
himself." He is a "lover of the best" and will die for and live for mere
ideas and abstractions like patriotism. He is assumed to be free because he
voluntarily creates, and is as free as anything in the Universe; and he is
free because he can choose. But where there is freedom there must be
clashing and compromise and repression. Among repressed subjects are
prejudices and superstitions, which, while irrational, unconsciously affect
our conscious motives.
Man has feelings of humanity and brotherhood but has also the feeling of
separate individuality which comes from the egoism of the young child. The
instincts also come into play in the conflict between duty to others and
love of self. No one, however good, can escape this conflict.
The old teaching as exemplified in philosophy and religion is based on a
study of man at his best, man in the abstract. This is incomplete because it
cannot promote such feelings as sympathy and understanding among men.
Something has always been needed to supplement it and this is found in
psychoanalysis in which conditions are reversed.
Religion the author regards as an existence which is in harmony with that of
the "universe-personality." If we have the attributes we give to the Deity
as reason, love (disinterested) and will, we should seek this harmony. The
"world of sense" is antagonistic to this conception, in that it leads us to
reject all other than sense knowledge. Our notions of love, honor, power,
justice cannot spring from the sense-world. We must look beyond the
latter--a mere illusion--to find the true, immutable. Mind cannot be
evolved from life but must pre-exist. God and man must be conceived in the
same way--both represent a totality of expressions of world will, both
create and persist in their creations. Man must be regarded as creating his
thoughts and acts, even his own body. Every portion of the universe is
responsible for every other portion. Man, though ever changing, represents a
"self consciously unified person" and therefore feels responsible for all he
has ever done or ever will do. Freud himself, as the author states, never
cared to generalize on the subject of psychoanalysis.
The book proceeds with a general outline of psychoanalysis which need not be
reproduced here. The subject of sexual repression, so far from being
exaggerated by Freud, is completely borne out by centuries of teaching by
the Church that all sexual matters must be repressed, because they proceed
solely from the flesh, the material world. As we have seen, however, the
author with others--both Freudians and non-Freudians--makes the libido a
form of creative energy, which attitude lifts it above the purely material
plane. Complete suppression of anything which will not down is regarded as
unwise hygiene of the soul, and the results of psychoanalysis, both as to
cause and cure of neurotic disturbances, amply sustain this view. A man's
unbidden thoughts are part of him and must be acknowledged.
Psychoanalysis cannot be employed upon a number of subjects at once. It lies
between physician and patient, teacher and pupil. The unconscious but active
motive must be brought under the conscious will. The fantastic world of
childhood must be re-created. The teacher, dealing with childhood has an
advantage over the physician who applies his analysis to adults.
The child should be encouraged to show all that is in him, and at the same
time must learn to regard himself less as an individual and more as a social
unit. He should do things which divert him from himself.
In psychoanalysis an act is nothing, a tendency everything. The latter must
be changed. In analysis of one's self one must avoid all tendency to self
depreciation, since all must make mistakes. One should also distrust in
himself whatever savors of emotional excess.
There is no radical difference between the neurotic and sound subject in
respect to the presence of unreasonable fears, compulsions and obsessions.
Stress of circumstances causes even the normal man to show objectionable
traits. Mental disease-phenomena, like physical, indicate natural
reactions, or "attempts at repair" such as are found in the organic and even
Treatment by psychoanalysis represents an education--the removal of
inhibitions which are fixations or arrests.
The fifth chapter is in a way a resume of what the author had previously
said. He also seeks to reduce his teachings to a tabulation. The
rationalisation or adaptation of life progresses in proportion as the
individual is mature, but here maturity is by no means equivalent to age.
The process also is active in the immature child.
A subject is usually quite unaware of his fixations and explains the results
of his internal conflicts by false reasoning. Rationalisation in this
connection becomes a bad habit.
All motives are creative. The act is not the result of the immediate motive
but of all those which preceded it. The final act throws no light on the
In speaking of certain adults as children who never grew up, we are
referring to a much larger class than is commonly understood. All who attain
mature years with fixations are to be regarded as children. All
individualists belong here unless their individualism is merely a stepping
stone to altruism. Indeed, we see in all men a desire to place themselves
on a pinnacle. This craving seeks expression in a thousand acts. Even if
outgrown it may assert itself in times of stress. It is of benefit at times
when individuals espouse just but unpopular causes. What we ordinarily call
courage involves self assertion but a higher courage is involved in
refraining from certain things.
All individuals also have occasional cravings to get away from
responsibility and back to rest and pleasure. We long to get back to a
theoretical state of childhood, as the infant longs to return to his
For a number of reasons this not a work to be criticized. The author does
not mean to be dogmatic. His dicta, while they may have the ipse dixit
flavor, are not meant to be axioms. The creative energy of the mind can
formulate these dicta and they must clash with the convictions of others. It
is easy to deride the method as a method, but we must judge it by its
results. In Emerson's hands it became a profound stimulus to thought to
people of quite dissimilar mental makeup. In like manner the author's work
will prove of the highest suggestive value to the reader, and especially the
materialistic reader. But aside from the general character of the book we
must not forget that it has a very definite object, to wit, to elevate
psychoanalysis to the highest planes of philosophical speculation and to
remove the prejudices of those who profess to go to the other extreme and
see in it only the slime of the pit. The author's attempt to bring it in
unison with the eternal verities is deserving of the highest commendation
and illustrates his deep faith in the nobility of this new resource for
understanding the spiritual side of man. L. PIERCE CLARK, M. D.
EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: VOL. I, THE ORIGINAL NATURE OF MAN VOL. II, THE
PSYCHOLOGY OF LEARNING. By Edward L. Thorndike. Published by Teachers
College, Columbia University, New York, 1913.
In the first three chapters of Vol. I Professor Thorndike introduces what he
calls the 'original tendencies' of man. These are the simpler and what have
often been called the 'instinctive', or 'innate' forms of behaviour. And
they are here taken as innate, in contradistinction to learned; as the
inherited dispositions on which the character of the adult is built. In
Chapters IV to X, inclusive, these original tendencies are enumerated and
described. This is a valuable, although somewhat unordered, inventory of
the more elementary human activities. A wholesome step is taken in
replacing the terms 'pleasure' and 'pain' (subjective categories supposed
from time immemorial to account for many sorts of reaction and to be the
basis of the learning process) by the more objective terms 'satisfiers' and
'annoyers'. The author inclines away from the common idea that very young
individuals exhibit random or diffuse activities
A curiously baffling and admirably sceptical chapter on the Emotions (XI) is
followed by a largely destructive chapter on Consciousness, Learning, and
Remembering, in which Prof. Thorndike is in point of literary style almost
at his worst; and in some cases incoherent (e.g. p. 185, middle). The
chapters on the Anatomy and Physiology, on the Source, on the Order and
Dates of Appearance and Disappearance, and on the Value and Use of Original
Tendencies seem to the reviewer inconclusive and uninspired. There are
shrewd and interesting remarks here and there, particularly those of a
destructive intent, which the older reader will appreciate; while on the
whole he will wonder whether the author has, in these last four chapters,
any other than the whimsical aim of producing bedlam in the minds of his
Vol. II is a long treatise of 452 pages on the faculty of Learning. The
author would probably reject the suggestion that he is dealing with his
subject in the spirit of the faculty psychology. Learning, he would say, is
an empirical fact, which he is simply describing. So also, however, the
'faculties' are empirical phenomena--attention, memory, and all the rest.
The question is, do Prof. Thorndike and others like minded analyze the
phenomena in a way that reveals their mechanism, or in the unfruitful manner
of the faculty psychology? Is, for instance, the mind an aggregate of the
following "functions that have been, or might be, studied:--Ability to spell
cat, ability to spell, knowledge that Rt 289 equals 17, ability to read
English, knowledge of telegraphy,. . . . ability to give the opposites of
good, up, day, and night, . . . . fear and avoidance of snakes, misery at
being scorned," etc., etc. (p. 59)? To the reviewer it appears that these
'functions' are cross-sections of the mental life which reveal NOTHING of
the mind's real mechanism. This way, surely, lie the maximum of pedantry
and the minimum of scientific insight. The volume as a whole may be
recommended to those who wish to ascertain to what extent academic
psychology of to-day is still dominated by the spirit of faculty psychology.
E. B. HOLT.
SLEEP AND SLEEPLESSNESS. By H. Addington Bruce. Little, Brown & Co.
Boston, 1915. Pp. vii, 219.
This book constitutes the third volume of the "Mind and Health" Series. In
it the author has given an admirable and clear summary of the recent
psycho-pathological work on sleep and sleeplessness. He begins by a
discussion of the nature of sleep and considering the difficulties involved
in making such a discussion clear to the average reader, the author has done
remarkably well in summarizing the technical work along this line. He then
passes to the problem of dreams and the part played by the unconscious
mechanism involved in dreaming, laying particular and justifiable stress
upon the point, that when problems are solved or adjusted in dreams, they
have always been previously solved by a kind of unconscious incubation
during the waking moments. The chapters on the disorders of sleep and the
causes of sleeplessness are brief but comprehensive, while in the discussion
of sleeplessness important stress is laid on the mental elements involved in
every case of insomnia. A strong plea is made for the psycho-therapeutic
rather than the pharmacologica, treatment of the disorders of sleep. On the
whole the book is clearly written and can be recommended to those who wish a
brief and at the same time comprehensive account of the modern theories of
sleep and its disorders. ISADOR H. CORIAT.
To the Editor of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
I wish to call your attention to the fact that the quotation attributed to
me on p. 135 in the June-July issue of your Journal is a misrepresentation
of what I actually said. Due to an oversight on the part of the publishers
of the A. M. A. Journal, the stenographer's notes of the A. M. A. meeting
were not submitted to the members of the Section for examination and
correction. The Editor of the A. M. A Journal regretted this fact and the
discussion of my paper "The Conception of Homosexuality," from which this
quotation was taken, was published in corrected form in the Transactions of
the Section of Nervous and Mental Diseases (1913) of the A. M. A. A. A.
PATHOLOGICAL LYING, ACCUSATION AND SWINDLING. By William Healy and Mary
Tenney Healy. Pp. 278 Plus x and Indexes. Little, Brown & Co., 1915.
THE CRIMINAL IMBECILE. By Henry Herbert Goddard. Pp. 154 Plus vii & Index.
The MacMillan Co., 1915. $1.50.
CHARACTER AND TEMPERAMENT. By Joseph Jastrow. Pp. 596 Plus xviii. D.
Appleton & Co., 1915. $2.50 net.
A SURGEON'S PHILOSOPHY. By Robert T. Morris, M. D. Pp. 575 Doubleday, Page
& Co. $2.00 net.
BACKWARD CHILDREN. By Arthur Holmes. Pp. 247. Bobbs, Merrill. $1.00 net.
A MECHANISTIC VIEW OF WAR AND PEACE. By George W. Crile. Pp. 105 Plus xii.
The MacMillan Co. $1.25.
THE JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS[*]
WITH A THEORY TO EXPLAIN THE DREAM-PROCESS AS APPERCEPTIVE TRIAL-AND-ERROR.
[*] A paper read at Columbia University, April 19, 1915, at a Joint Meeting
of the New York Branch of the American Psychological Association and the New
York Academy of Sciences, Section of Anthropology and Psychology.
Copyright 1916, by Richard G. Badger. All Rights Reserved.
LYDIARD H. HORTON
HISTORICALLY speaking, dreams have always been credited with meanings; but,
in a given case, the psychologist must ask, how far does the accredited
meaning represent the mere fancy of the interpreted and how far does it
mirror actual conditions in the dreamer's mind. To seek aught beyond these
is but idle divination. For of all dreams it is true, in the words of Ralph
Waldo Emerson, "that the reason for them is always latent in the
individual." "Things are significant enough, Heaven knows;" he exclaims,
"but the seer of the sign,--where is he?"
Not till the last year of the nineteenth century, did an answer come; it was
Sigmund Freud's work, "The Interpretation of Dreams," which said, in effect,
"Here am I, in Vienna."
THE FREUDIAN PRETENSIONS
"In the following pages," he begins, "I shall prove that there exists a
psychological technique by which dreams may be interpreted and that upon the
application of this method every dream will show itself to be a senseful
psychological structure which may be introduced into an assignable place in
the psychic activities of the waking state."
The sweeping character of this pretension has not been justified. The
demonstration has succeeded only with that large class of dreams in which
there happens to be a trend of infantile reminiscence and of disguised
sexual phantasy. It fails to reveal the inner nature of other kinds of
dreams or the modus operandi of dreaming as a process of thinking. And while
it is asserted by the publishers of the English edition that the main
contentions of his book have never been refuted, the fact is that his thesis
has not been accepted by the representatives of scientific psychology, as a
solution of the problem.
The exponents of Freudian interpretations today are medical men associated
with the practice of so-called "Psychoanalysis;" which means that they are
more concerned to apply Freud's ideas for the treatment of nervous ailments
than to cultivate pure psychology. An examination of the methods they
exemplify in individual practice and in the large literature of the
psycho-analytic movement shows sufficient reason, in my view, why the
psycho-analytic theory of dreams should still be greeted with skepticism.
Psycho-analysts tell us that repugnance for the subject-matter has delayed
acceptance of their essentially sexual interpretations. But there is also a
resistance based on sound logical criticism. Judged by this standard,
Freud's theory appears dangerously inaccurate and needs revision.
THE TWO SCHOOLS OF PSYCHO-ANALYSIS
Dr. C. G. Jung, formerly a pupil and literal follower of Freud, is
attempting to reform psycho-analytic doctrine from within the fold.
Incidentally, he tells us that there is nothing essentially novel about the
technique of investigating the dream in Psycho-analysis. It copies the
methods of historical and literary criticism and consists in collecting all
the data possible about each item of the dream. These are then called the
dream material. What seems to me novel and characteristic is the
psycho-analytic method of working up this material into an interpretation by
a process of inference. Freud and Jung are today no longer in agreement as
to the details of this process. Speaking of the interpretations of these
authorities, on the basis of extended investigations of dreams on my own
part, I must say that their methods do not seem to be as rigorous, as is
required today in the investigation of literary and historical problems, nor
capable of bearing comparison with experimental psychology.
It must be acknowledged, however, that Freud has infinitely refined the
guesses of earlier generations of thinkers as to the relationship of
sleep-fancies to the waking life. He has conferred startling precision upon
the general proposition of Goethe "that these whimsical pictures, inasmuch
as they originate from us, may well have an analogy with our whole life and
fate." And he has certainly vindicated in practice that dictum of Emerson:
"A skilful man reads dreams for his self-knowledge." But he has
formulated no open-sesame, as psycho-analysts proclaim.
When it comes to the use of symbols, the Viennese professor parts company
with the Concord philosopher. The latter, as we know, decried the mystical
conception of fixed symbolism in any domain. But Freud, although
theoretically agreed, falls victim in practice to the fascinations of the
dream-book cipher method which he has condemned. The adjective Freudian is
now justly a by-word, among psychopathologists, for a stereotyped habit of
reducing each item of a dream to some cryptic allusion or roundabout
reference to the primitive demands of the infantile and sexual life. Freud's
fertility in such interpretations has led one of our best-known experimental
psychologists to say, in mingled admiration and impatience: "His utterances
are those of a poet, not of a scientist."
JUNG'S COURAGEOUS RECANTATION
As spokesman of the Zurich group of psycho-analysts, Dr. Jung has lately
protested against these arbitrary translations, which he calls Freud's
"reductive method." In formulating a more scientific method of his own,
which he calls the "constructive method," Jung reveals a change of views so
extensive as to suggest, on several points, almost a conversion to the ideas
that Dr. Morton Prince expressed in 1910, as to the insecurity of the
psycho-analytic ideas of symbolism. At that time, Jung valiantly defended
the Freudian preference for stereotyped meanings as against the Principian
idea of highly variable meanings. Now, in going to the other extreme from
Freud's cipher-like method, Jung has succumbed to the attractions of that
other popular method, equally decried by his former master: the symbolical
method of Joseph and Daniel. But at least he has bravely called in
question views which he once espoused with exaggerated positiveness.
Jung's principal amendment to the Freudian dream-analysis consists in
subjecting the literal implications of the established Freudian symbols,
such as snakes and staircases, to a further, more allegorical mode of
treatment in which the sexual meaning is greatly altered. The evidence,
which Freudians continually find in dreams, for a pre-occupation concerning
infantile and sexual needs is explained away, as merely incidental
reviewing of past experiences, in the attempt to solve problems of the
future by analogy with the past. In other ways also Jung alters his views,
notably by following Prince in explaining the dream on a broad biological
foundation, viewing it as part and parcel of the individual's life-struggle.
Yet it is difficult to see wherein the so-called constructive method really
applies, to the concrete dream, those biological conceptions of which it
makes ostentation. The practical consideration of telling the patient what
is good for him, and of keeping sexuality in the background seems to
dominate the technique. The interpretations are no more accurate than
before. There is not much to choose between the reductive and the
constructive method from the standpoint of the application of logic.
THE SUPPOSED LANGUAGE OF DREAMS
These reductions and constructions of the psychoanalytic schools appear to
be rather favorite ways of guessing than rival scientific methods.
Unquestionably, they must achieve a gratifying number of hits under the
easygoing conditions of the psycho-analytic seance. This is obviously
satisfactory to medical practice; but the danger to psychological theory
lies in the temptation to overvalue the particular technique that seems to
bring about such successes. For instance, Freud and Jung, finding it
convenient to assume that the dreamer is attempting to express his latent
thoughts by the use of metaphors and figures of speech, have unfortunately
come to regard the behavior of the Unconscious Mind as if it were employing
a secret archaic code or language of dreams. According to Freud, its symbols
have very concrete meanings; Jung, more liberal, says they are only very
general. But both authors seem to abuse the language-analogy as a guidance
in dream interpretation. That is why psycho-analytic method today suggests
not only the free play of poetic invention, but the license of mystical
If there is any present point in Emerson's remark that "Mysticism consists
in the mistake of an accidental and occasional symbol for an universal one,"
then, in speaking to the psycho-analyst, the psychologist should echo
Emerson further, and say: "Let us have a little algebra instead of this
trite rhetoric-- universal signs instead of these village symbols--and we
shall both be gainers."
The reason we shall need a little algebra, as it were, is that many
psycho-analysts have fallen into confused ways of regarding their signs and
Consider, for example, the reputed signs of the birth-phantasy, as listed by
"A large number of dreams, often full of fear, which are concerned with
passing through narrow spaces or with staying in the water, are based upon
fancies about the embryonic life, about the sojourn in the mother's womb and
about the act of birth." . . . Again, "There are dreams about landscapes and
localities in which the emphasis is laid upon the assurance, 'I have been
there before.' In this case the locality is always the genital organ of the
mother; it can be asserted with such certainty of no other locality that one
has 'been there before.' "
(What we should infer from the waking illusion of familiarity, which,
Emerson said "almost every person confesses"--on this basis--is too absurd
Statements like these, though far from syllogistic in form, are virtually
general propositions or laws to the effect that all dreams having the
designated earmarks or manifest content, possess additionally and
necessarily certain specified qualities in the latent content--in this case,
the meaning of birth-phantasy.
Freud and Jung have stood sponsors for many such seemingly far-fetched
interpretations. How do they come to be so sure of their ground?
EXAMINATION OF THE LANGUAGE-ANALOGY
Let A represent the idea in the latent content and C the corresponding
"symbol" in the manifest content. Suppose that in a number of cases a
correlation is observed between A, the antecedent latent idea, and C, its
consequent or sequential manifestation in the dream-consciousness.
Thereafter, the observer comes to interpret the re-appearance of C in a
dream narrative as a sign of the presence of the affiliated idea A, in the
latent content. And, as Thomas Hobbes phrased the matter in 1651, the
oftener they have been observed in like connection, the less uncertain is
the sign. Now this is precisely the way we come to recognize the verbal
signs of our mother-tongue. And our confidence that a given speech C' is
significant of a meaning A', in the speaker's intent, is arrived at by
relying upon, if not consciously formulating, just such a causal connection.
Where an existing language is concerned, this is a perfectly legitimate
tooling of thought. But in applying such inferences to a supposititious
language of dreams, psycho-analysts are begging the question, as well as
running into other kinds of fallacy as to the powers of the Unconscious.
The meanings and significations of dream-items are not so simply made out as
in language. For one cannot readily make sure that the relationship or
affiliation between A and C has been observed in its purity; there is an
uncertainty coming from the possible interposition of a variable factor,
which may have vitiated the observation, as Alfred Sidgwick points out in
his "Application of Logic." So let us well consider the basis of any
inference of meaning in dreams, and how far the language-analogy applies.
THE SOURCES OF MEANING
Fundamentally, every dream, yours or mine, consists of certain more or less
clearly remembered images or ideas; and these are secondarily derived from
some mental disposition previously or coetaneously acting in the background,
as it were: i. e., persisting through its residual subliminal nervous
dispositions. This anterior phenomenon is properly called the primary idea
or image; the other, which appears (supraliminally) in the dream is called
the secondary image or idea. The dream is thus made up of collocations and
combinations of secondary images, to which is usually added a filling-in of
fancy which may be called tertiary ideas: required, to find the primary
ideas and so, the relation of one idea to another--which is the measure of
Each secondary or tertiary image, in the absence of any immediate stimulus
to account for it, may usually be traced back into a primary train of
thought left unfinished during the day. This is the conception of the
perseveration of the unadjusted, stated in 1891 by Delage, in giving his
theory of dreams. Its history runs back to Thomas Hobbes; and it has
been amplified lately by Professor Woodworth, to whom I am indebted for
unusually clean-cut illustrations of the applicability of the theory to
dream-life. The principle is a most important contribution to the study of
meaning in dreams.
More specifically, Prince, through his text-book on "The Unconscious," is
the exponent of the idea that the elements of meaning reside in the primary
ideas and must be sought there by highly specific investigations in the
given case: "the meaning is in the fringe of thought." The meaning of a
supraliminal image must be discovered in its relation to the subliminal
ideas clustering around it. This implies studying by association-tests what
James called the psychic overtones, and what Prince has, in his teaching,
called the unconscious settings-of-ideas, which determine meaning. Care
must be taken to find the real determinants, and to set aside spurious dream
material--which is not always facilitated by the psycho-analytic methods.
In order to show that one should not assume meanings by rule of thumb,
without investigations of this kind, Prince has demonstrated a case in which
typical phallic symbols, in a phobia of bells and towers, had acquired their
emotional meanings, not through sexual analogies, as Freudians would
suppose, but through actual contiguity-experience with church bells and
belfry, quite apart from sexual matters. Similarly, snakes, sticks,
circles do not necessarily carry the sexual meanings assumed by
psycho-analysts, who are over-influenced by the language-analogy.
DECISIVE VALUE OF CONTEXT AND APPERCEPTION MASS
To Freudians such statements seem paradoxical, to say the least; but the
simple fact is that never is it correct to assume, as they do, a
transcendental connection between a symbol C and a signification A, as if
the Unconscious Mind disposed of ready-made symbols of its own. Barring
words used in their proper sense, and similar borrowings from waking habit,
the so-called symbols in dreams are essentially impromptu fabrications, in
which the association is not a direct causal connection between A and C, but
a mediate association involving a third element, which psycho-analysts
usually leave out of account.
An element of this kind, overlooked in the formulation of a supposedly
simple connection between cause A and effect C, is labeled Hidden Z, by
Alfred Sedgwick. The Hidden Z in this case is what James calls the
topic-of-thought, Ebbinghaus the set-of-the-mind, and others
apperception-mass. In rhetoric it is familiar as context. It has an
important place in thought and speech. For example, when I utter the
phrase--Pas de lieu Rhone qne nous--the idea obtained is different according
to whether your language apperception-mass is set for French or for English.
It may have happened that while I was uttering the French nonsense phrase
you were hearing it as the English saying. Similarly, the traveler in Egypt
may correctly apperceive the meaning of architectural forms of temples as
phallic; whereas it would be manifestly out of context to do so in
connection with churchly edifices of the Gothic type, which do not represent
the generative powers of nature, as do the former.
Conversely, the Freudian disciple may apperceive, in error, a sexual meaning
in a dream, when the dreamer's mind contained no reference to this topic.
Hence, the interpreter must make sure that his own apperception-mass is
attuned to that of the dreamer in the given case. That is, one must be free
from apperceptive bias. One must reject all hastily formed causal laws to
the effect that C is the sign of A in every case. Otherwise absurd
conclusions must result, as in Freud's theory of the birth-phantasies. For
the same "symbol" may proceed from entirely different significations
according to the set-of-the-mind or apperception-mass. The following analogy
of Ebbinghaus puts the matter clearly: "When a train enters a large station
there are many paths over which it might pass; but its actual path depends
on the position which was given to the switches immediately before the
train's arrival." That is why one needs to detect, experimentally, the
dream material that really represents the set-of-the-mind, and thence the
significant relations called MEANING.
In this connection, I published a year ago the dream of a child of six,
containing seemingly typical phallic symbols. Not one of them could be
correlated with a sexual context; but every one was concretely shown to have
reached its position in the dream through the influence of an entirely
different set-of-the-mind. It is, therefore, not safe to assume stereotyped
meanings in dreams.
METAPHYSICAL CONCEPTIONS IN PSYCHO-ANALYSIS
There are three reasons why psycho-analysts do not more often encounter this
variable element, this Hidden Z. First, such dreams as they elect to deal
with, are mostly sexual. Second, they do not apply the methods of
individual differences which have been made so familiar and so useful by
Professor Cattell in this country.[*] Thirdly, their type of culture leads
them to study the dream extensively rather than intensively and all the
while in apparent disregard of those conceptions of physiological psychology
which we now associate with the work of Wundt, of Ladd and of Woodworth, and
with the psychopathology of Prince.
[*] The writer's present psychophysiological theory of dreams was first
broached in public, at a series of meetings on the subject of Individual
Differences, held in honor of Professor Cattell, at Columbia University, in
the Department of Psychology, in April, 1914.
To be sure, Jung's recent utterances before the Psycho-Medical Society of
London, demonstrate his dissatisfaction with the Freudian conception of the
dream; but he is still far from those studies of specific mental and nervous
dispositions to which psychology has slowly come, and for which we now have
a tool in the shape of Prince's conception of the neurogram. In
psycho-analytic work a more vague use of "dream material" is preferred and
it is only by good luck that the real settings-of-ideas come into account.
Jung, no less than Freud, has forgotten that philosophy has become
mechanistic since Descartes' famous year of 1637, and Jung would throw
us back to the early seventeenth century, with his energic conception of the
Libido, or the Ur-libido, now called Horme and sometimes merely elan vital.
And this, fifty years after Herbert Spencer's tremendous emphasis on
specific studies in reflex-action!
Fontenelle, the wittiest of Cartesians, writing in 1686, gives us a classic
tableau of this sort of speculative temper.  He pictures worthies like
Pythagoras, Heraclitus; Empedocles, as being invited to witness Lulli's
opera "Phaeton," at the Paris Odeon. In characteristic fashion, each in
turn tries to explain the spectacular aerial flight of the actor in the
title-role, from the floor of the stage to the ceiling. One says, that
Phaeton is able to fly by the potency of certain numbers of which he is
composed; another, that a secret virtue carries him aloft; still another,
that Phaeton travels through the air because he abhors to leave a vacuum in
the upper corner of the stage; and so on, with a hundred and one
speculations which, as Fontenelle remarks, should have ruined the reputation
of antiquity. Finally, he pictures Descartes coming along and saying: "This
actor is able to rise from the floor because he hangs by a cord, at the
other end of which is a counterpoise, heavier than he, which is descending."
This is mechanistic . . . If Freud and Jung had been of the party, can it be
doubted that the one would have ascribed Phaeton's aviation to a
wish-fulfilment of the flying-dream type, derived from a reminiscence of
erotic motion-pleasure in childhood, or that Jung, for his part, would
have said Phaeton was levitated by the energic force of a sublimation of the
Ur-Libido, alias elan vital, alias Horme!
* * *
VARIETIES OF DREAM INTERPRETATIONS
Let me illustrate these points of criticism of the psychoanalytic methods,
by the analysis of a sample dream; speaking first as the dreamer giving the
simple narrative; next as Freud applying the reductive method; then as Jung
employing the constructive method; and finally explaining the dream, as I
would myself prefer, by the use of what I may call the reconstitutive
method. The dream itself, for reasons, that will be obvious, I call the
"I was looking down upon a microscope from the right side of the lens-tube,
and could see, laid upon the stage, a glass slide. Under the cover-glass, in
place of an ordinary specimen, there was supposed to be a new reflex,--one
of those discovered by my friend the neurologist, Dr. X., whose scrawly
handwriting I recognized on the label. I was anxiously trying to decipher
what he had written, and was having the same trouble with it that I had
experienced in real life with the record of some of his dreams, which I had
interpreted successfully. The handwriting on the label, as I gazed, appeared
less and less like script and more like disconnected, scratchy lines or
hachures, owing to the formation of lacunae in the inky traces. It became
scratchier and scratchier as I wakened. On coming to my senses . . . "
"That is enough," we hear Dr. Freud saying, "It is obvious what kind of
reflex-action you have in mind! The word 'slide' is of a punning nature,
and in conjunction with the easy moveability of the microscope-barrel
suggests a meaning akin to that of dreams of skating and sliding, which are
usually sexual. From the standpoint of symbolics, the geometric forms and
relative positions of cover-glass and microscope suggest allusions to the
generative powers of nature--like the phallicism of the ancient Egyptian
religion, whose sacred emblems of sexual objects still confront the explorer
and the tourist. Here, the 'stage' of the microscope refers obviously to
the theatre, so often the scene of exhibitionistic activities. Your dream
represents the male and the female principles in such a manner that it must
mean a survival of infantile curiosity related to the mystery of parenthood.
Sir, this proves your Libido to have been fixated at the 'voyeur'
"Not so fast," says Dr. Jung, while the dreamer remains nonplussed at the
foregoing example of the reductive method. "It is not good for the health
to overvalue the past, as my colleague does. Nous avons change tout cela,
in Zurich. Your curiosity, according to the constructive method, is a
demand for satisfaction in new and better ways than those of infancy. I will
prove this to be so, by an investigation of the dream material. This Dr. X.,
what of him and his handwriting?"
The dreamer then explains that Dr. X. had consented to have his dreams
analyzed, and that the outcome had been the uncovering of his secret
intention to be married; the dreamer also states that Dr. X. had written
some very original papers on periosteal reflexes.
"Ah," says Dr. Jung, as it were, making quotations from his own writings,
(as indicated in italics) "one has only to hear this dream material in order
to understand at once that the dream is not so much the fulfilment of
infantile desires as it is the expression of biological duties hitherto
neglected because of . . . infantilism.() To be sure these are sexual
objects that you are looking at in the dream, as Freud would have it. But
your interest in them is not so primitive as it would seem. For do you not,
symbolically speaking, 'look down upon' them in your fancy. And moreover,
since you are looking at these emblems of parental union 'from the right
side,' does it not therefore mean that you are contemplating something
legitimate; namely, marriage on your own account-- not exhibitionism on the
part of others. One infers you wish to put away childish sex-curiosity and
fulfil your destiny as a parent. In this case symbolical value, not concrete
value must be attached to the sexual phantasy."
At this point, the dreamer makes free to admit that he is a bachelor, and
that he would not be averse to marriage if he could manage to take a wife
and at the same time keep up his research work.
"Precisely," Dr. Jung might say, rapidly turning these clues to account,
"your interest in future advancement is clearly reflected in your anxiety to
decipher the handwriting of Dr. X., with whom you have identified yourself.
You desire to emulate his scientific achievements; his published work on
reflexes excites your ambition. The handwriting on the label, which
perplexes you, is an allusion not only to his authorship but to the
difficulties in the way of your own contribution to the science of dream
interpretation. By imitating Dr. X's triumph you wish to make your marriage
possible. Your Horme or elan vital is pushing you to evolve new and higher
forms of the Libido. You are sublimating!"
THE RECONSTITUTIVE METHOD
"No, gentlemen," the dreamer replies at last, "your reductions and your
constructions are too easy-going, too conjectural, too much dominated by
prepossessions and the 'will to interpret.' The alleged sources or
determinants for this dream may or may not have played the parts you assign
to them; the mystery of the matter must remain inscrutable. But what your
methods, so plausible in effect, certainly do show is how easy it may be to
confabulate an explanation that goes no deeper than a phrenological reading
of cranial bumps or than a seance in the cabinet of a palmist. Let us turn
away from all this and consider what really happened, as by the grace of
luck I can bear witness. Permit me to reconstitute the dream as an actual
event, by the employment of certain clues which I was about to give when the
ready-made symbolism of Dr. Freud was interposed."
OUTLINE OF THE RECONSTITUTION
Inasmuch as the dream is one of my own, I may be permitted to testify that
it was unmistakably connected with a scratching sensation at my ear, as I
distinctly perceived on awaking. This stimulation proceeded obviously from a
mouse, which I had time to observe in close proximity, as it remained
perched on the bedclothes, until my own startled movements put it to flight.
Tracing the stimulation from this external source, I shall try to maintain
the following interpretation:--
First, that the dream is an associative reaction to the sensation of
scratching, in the form of evocations of imagery related in experience to
this sensory element; and that the dream-process was a part of the
perception, or recognition or apperception of the stimulus.
Second, that this reaction--let us name it apperception of the stimulus--
took place slowly and imperfectly, owing to the state of sleep, so that the
reaction was, to begin with, only remotely relevant to the stimulus, but
improved in relevancy with successive evocations, until the mental
representation closely approximated the character of the stimulus.
Third, that in and among the secondary images so evoked, incidental
processes of thought, tertiary compoundings of these images, were
immediately set up; the selection and re-arrangement of these secondary and
tertiary features, constituting the revelation of a significant state of
mind which had preceded the dream.
Specifically, in addition to the mental response to the external stimulus,
there was a phantasy representing an imaginary wish-fulfilment: namely the
desire to forsake the study of histology, with the eye-straining search
through the microscope, in favor of the study of reflex-action or
My contention is that this blended response to a physical and to a
psychic cue arose very naturally and simply out of a single context,
prepared by events of the night before; and I would show that by comparing
the phantasy with this context, it is possible to reconstitute the dream in
a way that amounts to a refutation of the two other interpretations, which I
have essayed in accordance with the methods of Freud and of Jung,
THE REAL CONTEXT OF THE DREAM
Our constant consideration should be for the fact, emphasized by William
James, that there is "no recall without a cue." Here we have a
scratching sensation provoked by a mouse as the immediate and demonstrated
cue. The images that followed in serial response, proved upon investigation
to have been wholly derived from a certain conversation with Dr. X., the
night before. The subject had been reflex-action and especially the
scratch-reflex of the guinea-pig as investigated by Sherrington; we had
discussed also the attempts of other authors to explain the higher mental
functions in terms of reflex-action.() My own preference for such
studies as applied to the explanation of dreams had been touched upon. This
preference had in turn been contrasted with the fact that I was at the time
of the dream called upon to spend much time studying histological specimens
through the microscope. Incidentally, I told him that this was bad for my
eyes, and likewise, I had complained that his dreams were not written out
clearly enough to suit my purpose to study them carefully. Such interest had
been aroused in the subject of reflexology, that Dr. X. and I had stayed up
late that night discussing it.
A study of the dream in the light of these facts will show how perfectly the
dreaming mind appears to have "taken advantage of" them--in reality
following cues along the lines of least resistance.
THE DREAM AS A RESPONSE TO A CUE
The Scratch-Reflex dream is then to be reconstituted first of all as a
memory-reaction determined by factors of recency, frequency and intensity in
the dreamer's experience. The operation of these factors determines the
evocation of a specific context or apperception-mass, namely the
conversation in question, whose affinity with the external stimulus
(scratching) is now made evident. The course of events can be followed so
concretely as to permit the logical exclusion of other supposed
determinants; confining the explanation as stated. The principle of the
parsimony of causes is here applied. I contend that the dream is neither an
infantile nor a sexual wish-fulfilment, all plausible analogies to the
contrary notwithstanding. Should anyone wish to urge the more remote
interpretations which I first manufactured, then the burden of proof rests
with him. And no proof is conclusive that rests on mere precedent or on mere
reasoning by analogy. The only psychological proof of an interpretation is
fundamentally the ability of the interpreter to reconstitute the dream
beyond peradventure. This I propose to accomplish more in detail, showing
the dream to be a reaction to specific cues, through a process of
trial-and-error, and to a limited degree, of trial and success.
Consider the sequence of events: the dream pictures are all related, at
least individually, to the conversation in question: microscope, slide,
reflex and "scratchiness" are all so many pictures jig-sawed out from this
very context or apperception-mass. The scratching sensation, we must
suppose, evoked these pictures serially, in the order stated. If these
images were what the psychologist calls "trial percepts," we would expect
from them just what we do find, namely, an increasing degree of
correspondence (relevancy) between the stimulus-idea and the images, as they
appear. Precisely so, the images of microscope, slide, reflex and
scratchy handwriting, as they successively come into focus, conform more and
more to the nature of the stimulus, until the approximation ends in the idea
of an all-absorbing interest in "scratchy" marks. This visual image hardly
reaches precision before it becomes translated and transposed to the tactile
field of my ear; smoothly, as if it were one magic lantern view dissolving
into another. In fine, the presentation of each image in the dream amounts
to a groping effort of the dreamer's nervous system to find a proper
experiential EQUIVALENT for the arriving stimulus. It is a trial-and-error
method of perceiving or apperceiving a stimulus by marshelling associated
ideas; in this case they are serially evoked; (what might be called "oniric
echelon"); in other cases the trial apperceptions are blended smoothly
(oniric fusion) or heaped together in rough-and-tumble fashion, a kind of
confusion (conveniently called "oniric entassement") which testifies
sufficiently to the failures of the Unconscious t o dispose smoothly of
arriving excitations, and so emphasizes; the theory of trial-and-error, as
applied to dreams.
APPERCEPTIVE DELAY IN TRIAL-AND-ERROR PROCESS
The delay in arriving at the correct apperception of the stimulus may be
referred to as "finding-time" or simply as apperceptive delay. It represents
time occupied with the reproduction of erroneous apperceptive
images--apperceptive errors. Meanwhile the stimulus-idea, that mental
element most closely connected with the original stimulus, is operating
somewhere in the brain, determining the evocation of the secondary images
that appear in the dream. This wire-pulling is done in the dark; the
primary stimulus-idea is not itself imaged, at first; neither is the context
or apperception-mass which meets it half-way, that is, becomes conjoined
with the stimulus-idea. Indeed, the images that come into the dream are only
emerging peaks of a submerged island of memory. What shall emerge is
determined by the interplay of stimulus-idea and apperception-mass, below
the level of consciousness. (A and Z are working together.)
The particular "island of memory" in this case, was an impression of the
talk with Dr. X., about histology, reflexology and dream interpretation; it
remained subliminal, evidently, except so far as portions of it were raised
above the threshold by the reproductive energy of the stimulus of
scratching. Necessarily, a process of imageless thought had taken place,
whereby the conversation was brought into play as a sub-excited
apperception-mass or setting-of-ideas for the stimulus-idea. Furthermore,
another process of imageless thought must have taken place whereby the
secondary images being raised into consciousness attained to their
arrangement as a wish-phantasy, without that preliminary tuning-up which the
principal cue (scratching) called forth, on its own account. This remains to
THE INCIDENTAL WISH-FULFILMENT
The dream, viewed as a mere wish-fulfilment, is plainly a successful
allegory. While the action of the principal cue or immediate stimulus had
served to evoke the apperception-mass or context out of which this
wish-phantasy was constructed, at the same moment, there was an ulterior
influence at work, dictating a process of re-arrangement of the secondary
images, so as to give expression to my preference for reflexology as against
histology. Besides, the ground appears to have already been so well
prepared that we can readily explain the absence of evident signs of
trial-and-error. For in dreaming that I look away from the microscope and
turn with intensive interest to the reflex, I was still only giving effect
to a preference which had already attached the emotions of liking and
dislike, to these two objects of thought, respectively. The creative fancy
in this instance, what Hobbes called the FICTION of the mind, has a very
simple task to work upon: achieving the imaginary satisfaction of unadjusted
feelings regarding the mental conflict between histology and reflexology.
The MICROSCOPE is accordingly reproduced naively with an "endeavor fromward"
attached to it, and likewise the REFLEX, with an "endeavor toward" it.[*]
Thus is the expression completed of a wish which had been partially
outspoken in the conversation with Dr. X.
[*] Hobbes, "Leviathan," Cap. VI: "These small beginnings of motion, within
the body of man, before they appear in walking, speaking, striking, and
other visible actions, are commonly called ENDEAVOUR. This endeavour,. when
it is toward something which causes it, is called APPETITE, or DESIRE; . . .
And when the endeavour is fromward something, it is generally called
AVERSTON. These words appetite and aversion, we have from the Latins, and
they both of them signify the motions, one of approaching, the other of
retiring. So do also the Greek words for the same, which are Horme and
In this connection, I beg leave to suggest that these Greek terms are more
usefully applied to dreams and to the passions in general, in their
uncomplicated primitive sense, rather than in the new way that Dr. C. G.
Jung is suggesting for Horme, as a companion word for Libido or for elan
vital. For several years, I have found it useful to employ the coined
adjectives hormetic and aphormetic to characterize the tendencies fromward
or toward, as exhibited in the association of ideas. For example, in the
Scratch Reflex dream, there is shown an aphormetic tendency regarding the
microscope and a hormetic tendency regarding the reflex.
While the external physical stimulus (scratching) must be thought of as
being represented dynamically somewhere in the arrival platforms of the
brain, it is necessary to think of the internal psychic stimulus (or wish)
as existing in the form of facilitations, or ready-made connections of ideas
and motives, as it were awaiting, in a state of mobilization, the proper
signal to discharge into consciousness. The expression of the wish thus
became accessory to the apperception of the principal cue. The accessory
wish-cue wrought its effect coetaneously, during the apperceptive delay.
Granted the correctness of this explanation, does it not clearly conform to
the statement of Emerson that "dreams are the maturation often of opinions
not consciously carried out to statements, but whereof we already possessed
[*] Emerson, R. W., "Lectures and Biographical Sketches," Vol. X, Complete
Works, p. 8; Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1904.
THE PERSEVERATION OF THE UNADJUSTED
In the foregoing words of Emerson, there is brought to bear on dreams an
energic conception of mind-action similar to that which Hobbes had developed
in his Leviathan in 1651. The latter, by analogy with conceptions of
mechanical inertia new in his time, had compared the persevering effect of
nervous stimuli to the continued agitation of waves of the sea after a
storm: "When a body is once in motion, it moveth, unless something else
hinder it, eternally; and whatsoever hindreth it, cannot in an instant, but
in time, quite extinguish it; and as we see in water, though the wind cease,
the waves give not over rolling for a long time after: so also it happeneth
in that motion, which is made in the internal parts of man, then, when he
sees, dreams, et cetera." (Cap. II)
The Delage-Woodworth conception that dreams are due to persevering effects
of unadjusted mental elements is not, therefore, entirely novel; but is
itself a maturing of opinions which have been more or less loosely
entertained by writers on dreams since Hobbes first formulated the modern
doctrine of the association of ideas,--not to go back any further. The
fertility of the conception of the "perseveration of the unadjusted" has