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Weinshel, E.M. (1956). Journal of Mental Science. CI, 1955: A Dynamic Theory of Anxiety and Hysteria. H.J. Eysenck. Pp. 28-51.. Psychoanal Q., 25:459.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Mental Science. CI, 1955: A Dynamic Theory of Anxiety and Hysteria. H.J. Eysenck. Pp. 28-51.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:459

Journal of Mental Science. CI, 1955: A Dynamic Theory of Anxiety and Hysteria. H.J. Eysenck. Pp. 28-51.

Edward M. Weinshel

Eysenck believes that the psychological—especially the psychoanalytic—theories of personality are not firmly established 'with the same degree of experimental care and sophistication as are the facts on the side of learning theory'. Progress in this problem will be 'purely at the semantic level' as long as workers are content to base their views on 'nothing better than clinical insight, psychoanalytic beliefs, and evidence collected from the patient on the couch'. With seemingly naïve disregard for the complexity of human behavior, Eysenck establishes some postulates to clarify personality. These hypotheses and the experiments by which he attempts to validate them derive from observations of Hull and Pavlov on individual differences of excitation and inhibition; and here Eysenck apparently lumps together observations on dogs and humans in a somewhat indiscriminate manner. He then establishes first the postulate of individual differences: 'Human beings differ with respect to the speed with which reactive inhibition is produced, the strength of the reactive inhibition produced, and the speed with which reactive inhibition is dissipated. These differences themselves are properties of the physical structures involved in the evocation of responses.' To complete his theory he adds one further postulate: 'Individuals in whom reactive inhibition is generated quickly, in whom strong reactive inhibitions are generated, and in whom reactive inhibition is dissipated slowly are thereby predisposed to develop extroverted patterns of behavior and to develop hysterical psychopathic disorders in cases of neurotic breakdown. Conversely, individuals in whom reactive inhibition has developed slowly, in whom weak reactive inhibitions are generated, and in whom reactive inhibition is dissipated quickly are thereby predisposed to develop introverted patterns of behavior and to develop dysthymic disorders in case of neurotic breakdown.' He discusses a number of experiments in support of these postulates.

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Article Citation

Weinshel, E.M. (1956). Journal of Mental Science. CI, 1955. Psychoanal. Q., 25:459

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