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Saul, L.J. (1962). The First Five Minutes. A Sample of Microscopic Interview Analysis: By Robert E. Pittenger, M.D., Charles F. Hockett, Ph.D., and John J. Danehy, M.D. Ithaca, N. Y.: Paul Martineau, 1960. 264 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 31:276-277.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:276-277

The First Five Minutes. A Sample of Microscopic Interview Analysis: By Robert E. Pittenger, M.D., Charles F. Hockett, Ph.D., and John J. Danehy, M.D. Ithaca, N. Y.: Paul Martineau, 1960. 264 pp.

Review by:
Leon J. Saul

This fascinating bidisciplinary study applies anthropological linguistic analysis to the first five minutes of an initial psychiatric interview, the first interview reported in The Initial Interview in Psychiatric Practice by Gill, Newman, and Redlich.

The pages are cut horizontally. The upper parts present a transcript of the interview, as a stenographer would take it down. They also present a transcription, all the audible items that ordinary spelling omits: pronunciation, intonation, location and duration of pauses, sighs, gasps, coughs, and the like, and also rate, register, volume, and tone quality. The lower halves of the pages contain the analysis, particularly of the transcription. This is a new way of promoting scientific understanding of the nonverbal elements of communication, the 'paralinguistics' (which of course are in part linguistic). This work will undoubtedly be welcomed by the psychoanalytic psychiatrist. He hears much about nonverbal communication, whether through actions and movements (kinetics) or in qualities of verbal delivery; but he had best stay on his own solid ground of content, dreams, and common elements in associations until he has enough knowledge of nonverbal communication to use it with sureness. The book shows very clearly how much must be learned and formulated and how much training will be required to use it for understanding the patient and for treatment.

The authors undertook this high-magnification microscopic study as an experiment and were rather surprised when it yielded some suggestions of general principles. These are not new, but they are expressed in a rather novel way, and they are valuable in several ways. They confirm some other kinds of expression of unconscious motivation. Some of the principles discovered by the new method may be summarized more or less as follows.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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