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(1916). Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear, and Rage. By Walter B. Cannon. D. Appleton and Company, New York and London, 1915. Pp. 311.. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(2):233-234.
(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(2):233-234
Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear, and Rage. By Walter B. Cannon. D. Appleton and Company, New York and London, 1915. Pp. 311.
This work of Cannon's is an accumulation of the results of experimental research which have been published from time to time during past years. Unlike many such accumulations, however, the chapters are not discrete entities. The whole thing is tied together in a coherent whole which makes the book a consistent and consecutive presentation from beginning to end.
The book is simply crowded with carefully observed facts about the emotions, and therefore the reviewer finds it quite impossible to attempt to even mention them all. Perhaps the most important and the most elaborately carried out series of observations are those which indicate the relation of the adrenal secretion to the sympathetic nervous system under the influence of emotional excitement. Cannon shows that without doubt under the influence of fear or rage adrenin is thrown into the blood with the result that the main stream of blood is deflected from the abdominal viscera to the muscles and central nervous system, the glycogenic reserve is liberated and appears in the blood as sugar and the fatiguability of the muscles is very greatly reduced. A number of other changes occur, but those are the main ones and serve to prepare the animal in which this emotion occurs for the supreme exertions of either flight or fighting.
The relationship, as shown in these researches, of emotion, at the psychological level and bodily changes as mediated through the sympathetic and autonomic nervous systems and the endocrinous glands, serves again to dissipate that bugaboo of psychology—the relation of mind and body—by bringing all of the various expressive mechanisms of the individual within the concept of a harmoniously acting unity. The individual can no longer be considered as made up of a body and a mind, but as a biological entity, the strivings of which are indicated at the, for example, biochemical level by the presence of an excess of blood sugar in the circulating fluid, at the physiological level by increase in the number of heart beats, and at the psychological level by what we symbolize under the term emotion. It is the integration of these several levels that make for the unity of the individual. A few more books like Cannon's and psychological medicine will come into its own.
The relation between emotional states and visceral conditions is here made perfectly evident.
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