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An Elementary Psychology of the Abnormal

Psychological Bulletin , Volume 31 (4): 284 – Apr 1, 1934


Psychological Review Company
Copyright © 1934 by American Psychological Association
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An Elementary Psychology of the Abnormal


Reviews the book, by W. B. Pillsbury 53-000). The author has successfully avoided any taint of mysticism or inept neurologizing, and presents a comprehensive and scholarly discussion of the many theories of the neuroses. The chapter devoted to Janet's concept of hysteria is particularly thorough and well-organized; it is marred, perhaps, by a somewhat uncritical acceptance of the dissociation hypothesis, but the positive attitude lends much to clarity and conciseness of presentation. Morton Prince's abstruse theory of multiple personality is translated into non-technical language that brings the concept within range of the student's understanding. The illustrative material is very well-handled. The summary of Freud's point of view is rendered somewhat sterile by an unsympathetic attitude and an almost total neglect of the really significant contributions to developmental psychology. Individual chapters, uniformly accurate and readable, are devoted to genius, feeblemindedness, sleep, and hypnosis, while a special chapter is also assigned to speech disturbances. Theories both of etiology and therapy are summarized concisely, and the mass of material in this most perplexing field, only too often neglected by the elementary texts, is made an integral and understandable part of abnormal psychology.
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