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Spence, D.P. (1973). Tracing a Thought Stream by Computer. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 2(1):188-201.

(1973). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 2(1):188-201

Tracing a Thought Stream by Computer

Donald P. Spence, Ph.D.

We were strolling one night down a long dirty street in the vicinity of the Palais Royale. Being both, apparently, occupied with thought, neither of us had spoken a syllable for fifteen minutes at least. All at once Dupin broke forth with these words:

“He is a very little fellow, that's true, and would do better for the Théâtre des Variétes.”

“There can be no doubt of that,” I replied, unwittingly, and not at first observing (so much that I have been absorbed in reflection) the extraordinary manner in which the speaker had chimed in with my meditations. In an instant afterwards I recollected myself, and my astonishment was profound.

“Dupin,” said I, gravely, this is beyond my comprehension. I do not hesitate to say that I am amazed, and can scarcely credit my senses. How was it possible you should know I was thinking of? Here I paused, to ascertain beyond a doubt whether he really knew of whom I thought.

“—of Chantilly,” said he, why do you pause? You were remarking to yourself that his diminutive figure unfitted him for tragedy (Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue).

After more amazed exclamations by the narrator, Dupin finally agrees to explain how he followed his line of thought.

We had been talking of horses, if I remember aright, just before leaving the Rue C. This was the last subject we discussed.

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