This paper is an attempt to correlate certain psychical phenomena with groups of clinical symptoms and to assess the biological value of functional nervous diseases. An emotional tone indicates the reaction of an organism to its surroundings, emotionalism being characteristic of either harmony or discord. This dual aspect has an important bearing on the genesis of certain clinical states. It is pointed out that an acute difference exists between reproduction and flight when considered from various standpoints. The emotion of tenderness never has a sudden conscious onset and its maximum period is maintained for some time. Fear, on the contrary, has a sudden onset, and its maximum intensity is attained immediately and rapidly declines. The mental state of the animal, when afraid, is one of confusion, but in the case of the tender emotion, one of concentration on a specific object. The emotions are further compared in relation to the re-inducibility of the emotion and the state of the animal in the intervals. The value of emotional control is contrasted. In the case of reproduction this may be harmful, whereas in fear, the value is reinforced by control. In considering psychical dissociation the author thinks that a terrifying experience subjected to amnesia, is always re-experienced de novo, as far as the empirical ego is concerned. The associated emotionalism eventually disappears unless the initial experience recurs. The degree of amnesia developed varies according to the amount of consciousattention at the time, the confusion of the animal varying with this. If the experience recurs in similar form a similar somatic response will occur. This response will tend
- 499 -
to become habitual with progressive lessening of the emotional intensity, becoming of great use to the animal. Should there be no amnesia, the ultimate exhaustion of the emotional tone leads to a de-emotionalized attitude of the animal to the incident. In the case quoted, of a cat who, when her kittens were removed, transferred her affection to the survivor of a previous litter, the emotional tone is connected more with the somatic state of the mother than with the development of the offspring. Psychical dissociation always accompanies an emotional incident unless such an incident is necessarily associated with gross anatomical alterations.
Comparing the human with the non-human animal, Core emphasizes the ability of man to recall terrifying experiences in pictorial memory and to 'control' his behaviour. In the human species, the fundamental difference is that psychical dissociation is not required for effective experiences. It is suggested that defective development of emotional control in man enables psychical dissociation to occur as in the case of hysteria; this constitutes psychical regression to a non-human type, and this dissociation is normal in childhood. Because emotional control is a recent acquisition its development may be irregular. During its development strongly felt emotion becomes separated from conative activity. Core bases his explanation of the 'terror neurosis' on this assumption. The terror neuroses become the converse of the retrograde neuroses; instead of amnesia for terrifying experiences, there is a concentration of control which ultimately breaks down. These 'instinctdistortion' neuroses are considered to be progressive as distinct from the regressive hysterical neuroses. The 'neurosis of unsatisfied desire' is also included in this progressive group and these two disabilities serve to illustrate the clinical duality of emotionalism. The term 'dysthymia' is coined for these instinctdistortion neuroses. The two groups are also referred to as 'centrifugal' and 'centripetal'. Core states that functional pain is always associated with rising blood pressure and that the combination of the two postulates the existence of dread. He distinguishes this group from the toxic neuroses exhibiting symptoms dependent upon a sympathetic nervous system. Emotionalism is divided into two clinical groups, centripetal (emotions concerned with reproduction) and centrifugal (self-preservation). Abnormalities in the sphere of dread are included in Core's memory or memo-neurosis. Having discussed psychopathology under his own clinical headings and terminology, the author gives an example of a case of agoraphobia genuinely hysterical in its inception. He states that no psycho-analysis could unearth the 'memory' of the initial incident because it was not at the time registered in pictorial memory. He thinks, however, that an approximately accurate conception of the incident might be gained through auto-suggestion. Core appears to believe that amnesia depends on non-registration of responsible experiences rather than upon repression. The
- 500 -
phobias, according to this view, would depend upon habitual action and not upon an experience registered in pictorial memory which has become dissociated and capable of a recall. He admits that certain cases have been relieved and even cured by psycho-analysis but thinks that in these cases the disagreeable experience has been registered in pictorial memory and has been so forcibly repressed that its revival is impossible unless the patient is assisted.
- 501 -
Riggall, R.M. (1926). Clinical. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:499-501