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Unformatted text preview: rutches, or jumped blithely out of bed, or used
their arms, perhaps for the first time in years. Hysteria has caused more talk of the influence of mind over
body than all other manifestations of mental peculiarity put together. Wherever there is anything to be gained
by hysteric paralyses, these appear in much greater frequency than under ordinary circumstances. Thus the
possibility of recovering damages seems to play a role in bringing about a paralysis that defies treatment until
the litigation is settled; similarly the possibility of being removed from the fighting line played a large part in
the causation of war hysteric paralysis.
3. A group of sensory phenomena is conspicuous in hysteria, sometimes combined with the paralyses and
attacks but often existing alone. A part of the body will become curiously insensitive to stimulation. Thus one
may thrust a pin into any part without evoking any pain and APPARENTLY without being felt; one may rub
the cornea of the eye, that exquisitely sensitive part, without arousing a reaction; one may push a throat stick
against the uvula as it hangs from the palate without arousing the normal and very lively reflex of "gagging."
These insensitive areas, known as stigmata, played a very important role in the epidemic of witchcraft hunting
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the witch was so diagnosed if she felt no pain when a needle
was thrust into her. Mankind has often enough worshiped the insane and mentally aberrant and has as often
been diabolically cruel to them.
What has been stated of the paralyses is true of the insensitive areas; they correspond to an idea of a part and
not to an anatomical unit. Thus a loss of sensation will reach up to the wrist (glove type) all around, front and
back, or to the elbow or the shoulder, etc. No organically caused anaesthetic area ever does this, and so the
neurologist is able, usually, to separate the two conditions. And the anaesthesias yield as do the hysteric
paralyses to a variety o...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11