Journal article

Attention in hysteria: a study of Janet's hypothesis by means of habituation and arousal measures.

T Horvath, J Friedman, R Meares

Am J Psychiatry | Published : 1980


Toward the end of the 19th century, Janet suggested that the fundamental disorder in hysteria was one of attention. The authors examined this idea in a study of habituation. Patients with a history of prolonged conversion symptons (N = 11) showed a severe impairment in habituation when compared with patients with anxiety neuroses (N = 10). This finding cannot be explained in terms of arousal and suggests that selective inattention is deficient in hysterical individuals.