The British Journal of Psychiatry


Seventeen patients with conversion hysteria were investigated. Of these,11 did not habituate, that is they continued to show an alerting response after 20 presentations of a standard stimulus. In this they showed a greater disability than any other neurotic group, and this defect was paralleled by a life history of inadequate social function.

The remaining 6, although not 'normal', habituated normally, recovered quickly, and performed adequately within the community.

The appearance of two such distinct groups is discussed in the light of Slater's study of 1965.