" run wild" is known as abnormal dissociation.
An abnormal dissociative activity is the most characteristic feature
of mental diseases. Anesthesia, for example, is a 'frequent symptom
in persons afflicted with extreme hysteria-that is, there is
an apparent loss of sensibility in one or more parts of the body.
When this anesthesia occurs the process of dissociation has been
abnormal. It has removed from the patient's consciousness sensory
impressions that rightfully belong there.
Thus, some spot on the surface of the body may appear insensible
to touch or pin-pricks, or even burning. The anesthesia may apply
to any of the other organs of sense. The sense of hearing
PATHOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF
may be lost, or taste or smell. One or both eyes
may be blind. Any one or more of these defects may appear, and
yet the general health of the sufferer may apparently be undisturbed.
One of the first things that a psychologist does who is investigating a case
of this sort is to test the senseorgans of sight, feeling, taste, hearing,
and so on, as the condition of these functions has much to do with the state
of mind of the subject. Thus, the deafness of one or both ears and the susceptibility
of the subject to musical sounds, as shown by ringing a tuningfork close to
the ear, are important parts of the diagnosis.
Now, the startling fact for us in these cases is that the sufferer actually