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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Gillespie, W.H. (1945). Behavior and Neurosis: By Jules H. Masserman. (University of Chicago Press; Cambridge University Press, London, 1943. Pp. xv + 269. Price, $3.00; 18s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 26:81-82.

(1945). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 26:81-82

Behavior and Neurosis: By Jules H. Masserman. (University of Chicago Press; Cambridge University Press, London, 1943. Pp. xv + 269. Price, $3.00; 18s.)

Review by:
W. H. Gillespie

This book is a valuable and important effort to bridge some of the gaps between animal and human psychology, psychopathology and physiology. It is especially to be welcomed that a psycho-analytically orientated investigator should be working in a field for so long cultivated only by reflexologists and behaviourists. The main aim of the book, indeed, is to show that the facts of 'conditioning' and the production and cure of experimental neuroses in animals can be satisfactorily understood only in terms of fundamental psycho-analytic and psychobiological principles, and that the theories of Pavlov and his followers are inadequate to explain the facts.

Masserman lays down four cardinal dynamic principles of behaviour, derived from Freud. First, behaviour is fundamentally motivated by the needs of the organism; second, it is contingent on the demands of the milieu, external and internal, in so far as this is imbued with a configuration of meanings for the individual; third, behaviour is not always a simple and direct fulfilment of elementary needs, but is in large part symbolic and substitutive; and fourth, the motivations of behaviour may become 'conflictful' either through conflict between inner needs or through difficulty in adjustment to complex and contradictory external symbolisms, and this may lead to 'neurotic' or 'psychotic' behaviour.

For Pavlov, behaviour was built up from reflexes. He conceived a reflex as a unitary, stereotyped reaction mediated by a definite sensorimotor engram, and he actively discouraged any mention of the part played by motivation in establishing 'conditioning'.

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