Historical Perspective

  • William T. McKinney


It is important early in the course of this book, which attempts to provide a conceptual framework for a new area of psychiatry, for the reader to gain a historical perspective on some early research relevant to later developments. If this is not done there is a danger that history will repeat itself. As will become apparent, this would not be all bad since there were some extremely important early contributions which laid the foundation for much of the current research activity in this area. However, there were also some major problems, including the fact that the early origins of what might be called “comparative psychiatry” actually began outside of clinical psychiatry and proceeded along a different pathway. The techniques and terminology were foreign to most clinicians, and there was a tendency either to ignore the emerging body of animal behavior research relevant to psychiatry or to overembrace it with a premature application of clinical labels to behaviors shown by animals in laboratory settings. Examples of these problems are given in this historical overview.


Historical Perspective Psychosomatic Medicine Specific Syndrome High Nervous Activity Current Research Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • William T. McKinney
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin Medical SchoolMadisonUSA

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