In this paper Brosin reports his experience in selecting medical students. He was interested not only in eliminating men who would fail but also in selecting those who were gifted. It was decided to do pilot control studies on a number of students in different medical schools, to follow their progress through four years of school, and for some time thereafter. Two classes, totaling four hundred and fifty students, have been examined. Nineteen different tests have been given to each of them.
The results of the preliminary analysis were uniformly disappointing. There is little hope that these tests, the best available at the present time, will furnish the means of differentiation. Intelligence tests have brought out only one fact, that a man with an I.Q. below one hundred thirty on the Binet will find the competition severe both in medical school and after graduation. Brosin found that a considerable amount of neurotic disturbance is tolerated by many students. It remains to identify those assets of the ego which permit a person to work efficiently in medical school in spite of his neurotic burden. The successful student shows a relatively uninhibited work motivation and intellectual activity.
Superior ability is no guarantee of success, since personality factors, including motivation, are more important. The Rorschach, accompanied by an individual interview with a psychiatrist, is by all odds the best method known at present for selection purposes. When these two methods were combined it was found that the most successful students show accuracy of perception, freedom from obsessional concern with small details, freedom from interference by extraneous material, nd freedom from anxiety under pressure. These students are not stimulus bound, are able to retain their ability to shift easily to relevant material and enjoy a better use of abstracting ability.
The testing interview of all students should, if possible, be done by the same psychiatrist. Spontaneous association should be encouraged. In the future all the students will be interviewed by three different psychoanalytic psychiatrists. It has been found that such interviews in quick succession on the same day may alter significantly the candidate's orientation. With this approach detailed histories cannot be obtained but considerable data for genuine understanding of the person can be gained.
This very stimulating and thoughtful paper concludes with the warning that caution must be exercised by admission committees of schools to avoid an artificial homogeneity in the composition of a class.
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Grotjahn, M. (1949). The Social Service Review. XXII, 1948. Psychoanal. Q., 18:273