Readings in abnormal psychology and mental hygiene

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Reviews the book, Readings in Abnormal Psychology and Mental Hygiene edited by W. S. Taylor (see record 1927-00108-000). The reviewer maintains that the purpose and scope of the volume, quoted from the Preface, limits the field of abnormal psychology at the outset, at least for didactic purposes, to those phenomena which are, so to speak, continuations of the normal. The special fields (subnormality, psychiatry, mob psychology, etc.) as well as the extreme reaches of the subject (parapsychology) are touched on only sufficiently to show their tangential relation to abnormal psychology. On the other hand much “normal” psychology is included in the volume to show the student how substantial and “sane” are the fundamentals upon which abnormal psychology rests. This proportioning of material, which amounts to a definition of the field for classroom purposes, seems to the reviewer to be perhaps the chief triumph of the book. In the present volume there are two hundred twenty-six contributions by one hundred eight contributors. It is noted that the shortness of the average contribution and the large number of very brief selections occasionally make portions of the book seem a little abrupt to the reader. The reviewer admires heartily Professor Taylor's judgment in making the selections, but at the same time cannot resist the temptation to record a few of his personal predilections. The chapter dealing with “The Field and its Importance” seems slightly inadequate. In place of a few indecisive round figures representing the “extent” of insanity the reviewer would recommend a more graphic presentation of the social problem at issue. Furthermore the reviewer regrets certain omissions—an account of the studies of eidetic phenomena in connection with hallucinations, a chapter on constitutional types (Kretschmer, Nacarrati, etc.) too briefly mentioned on p. 653, and a glossary. Yet Professor Taylor by his skillful editing has offset so far as is possible the inherent limitations of his medium. He has provided selections which are authoritative, intrinsically interesting, and well-balanced; he has arranged them so as to secure continuity of thought and clearness; and has furnished references enough for liberal collateral reading. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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