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TitleHuman Nature in Light of Psychopathology
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Page 1

HUMAN NATURE
IN THE LIGHT OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

BY

KURT GOLDSTEIN

SCHOCKEN BOOKS· NEW YORK

Page 2

Copyright © 1940, 1963 by the "President and Fellows
of Harvard College

This volume consists of the William James Lectures delivered at
Harvard University 1938-1939. It is reprinted by arrangement with

Harvard University Press.

First SCHOCXEN PAPERBACK edition 1963

Library of Congress Catalog No. 63-20262

Manufactured in the United States of America

Page 135

COMING TO TERMS 123
those representing the reflex reaction and those in
other parts of the organism ~ are not only con-
comitant but constitute a unit, no part of which can
be changed without changing the other parts,
including the reflex reaction. This is very often
overlooked because part of the organism which is
considered as unrelated to the reflex reaction is
artificially held constant. On the basis of observation
we have to say that constant reactions in one part
of the organism are phenomena corresponding to an
artificial maintenance of a constant condition of the
rest of the organism. They are thus in effect re-
actions of the whole organism, where by artificial,
experimental means the reactions in the rest of the
organism are held in a definite, constant state.

There do not exist discrete, individual reactions
of parts, as combinations of which the behavior of
the organism can be understood. On the contrary,
only knowledge of the whole organism leads us to
understand the various reactions we observe in
isolated parts. The response to a special stimulus
depends upon the significance of that stimulus for
the performance required of the whole organism at
the moment of stimulation and is intelligible only
from this point of view.

I should like to demonstrate this by an example.
The tendon reflex is usually considered as the con-
traction of a muscle as the result of the stimulation
of its tendon. V ~ry careful investigations by a
physiologist, Hoffmann, have shown that the tendon

Page 136

124 HUMAN NATURE

reflexes are not elicited by the stimulation of the
tendon but by the tension of the muscle which is
produced by the striking of the tendon. Hoffmann
therefore called these reflexes "proprioceptive" re-
flexes (Eigenreftexe) , reactions to stimuli arising
through the processes in the functioning of the
stimulated apparatus itself.4 The reflex action takes
place in the following way. The muscle is stretched
abnormally by the stroke. This tension is followed
by a reflexively produced innervation by which the
muscle is brought back to the average state of tension
of the muscle. This is the activity of the tendon
reflex. The reader will remember that to the change
produced by a stimulus belongs the process of
equalization by which the state of excitation is
brought back to the "average" condition which makes
possible the best performance. Here it makes
possible the exact innervation of the muscle. The
correct innervation corresponds to a definite average
tone of the muscle.

The average state of tension of the single muscle
is not determined by the condition of the muscle
alone but by the situation of the whole organism.
This might be demonstrated in the following way.
If you jump down a steep incline in such a way that
you always touch the ground first with your heel,
then the muscles located on the anterior part of
the lower segment of the leg and the quadriceps
are first passively stretched and then contracted
reflexively. This very sensible reaction seems to

Page 269

INDEX 257
Psychoanalysis, 161, 164 ff.;

methodological approach of,
165

Psychotherapy, 162, 168

Race, 196
Races and the range of variabil-

ity, 198
Racial prejudice, 196
Reflex, conditioned: 133, 158;

in man and animal, 134; and
the nature of man, 13S

Reflexes, meaning of, 133
Reflex theory, 121
Religion and superstition, ll5
Remembrance, 153, 158, 160
Repression, 158, 160, 206
Reversion of actions, 127
Rigidity, 17
Rothmann, Eva, 246
Rubin, E., 19, 243

Scheler, Max, 8, 241
Scheerer, M., 2, 245, 248
Schizophrenia, 64
Science, holistic approach in, 3;

nature of, 231, 234; task of,
21

Self -defense, 237
Self-restriction, 202, 206
Self-sacrifice, 229
Shifting, 53
Skepticism, 226
Social contact, 202
Social contract, 2ll
Social norms, 202; and sublima-

tion, 202
Social organization, 208, 223,

230

Society and the individual, 214
Society, sick, 221
Sorting tests, 70
Speech, 69, 216; and abstraction.

70 ff.; and representation, 74;
of animals, 83; automatisms,
82; and real speech, 82 ff.

Specificity, 173
Species, 210
Stern, William, 215, 246, 248
Stimulus, effect of, 12, 13
Stimulus bondage, abnormal, 16
Stimulus-response theory, 128
Storch, A., 244
Submission, 204
Substitute reactions, 99, 159
Suicide, ll6
'Symbols in science, 27

Technology, 233
Tendency to actualize oneself,

140
Tendency to self-restriction, 202
Tension, release of, 140, 227
Test methods, 188
Therapeutic situation, 162, 168
Time, 46, 186
Threshold, change by stimula-

tion, 14; constancy of, IS
Tolman, E. C., 129, 247
Training, I3S
Type, 177, 185, 188, 190
Tyranny, ll8, 221

Ulich, R., 249
Unconscious, ISO, I6S ff.; in

the psychoanalytic sense, I6S
Urbild in knowledge, 24

Page 270

INDEX

Variability of individuals, 194,
198

Verbal possessions, 81
Vigotski test, 64

Warren, 128
Weber-Fechner law, 241
"We," the 208; and the realiza-

tion of the individual, 2 II
Weisenberg, Th., and McBride,

C., 244, 245

Wertheimer, M., 181, 248
Wheeler, R. H., 128
Wilder, J. H., 243, 247
Woodworth, R. S., 149, 200,

247, 248
World, organization in normal

persons, 67; in patients, 67

Zener, K., 247
Zucker, K., 244

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