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Patterns of Meaning in Psychiatric Patients—Semantic Differential Responses in Obsessives and Psychopaths.

Samuel J. Beck
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(1):110-111. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730130112024.
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The semantic differential is one of those rigorous techniques born out of psychology which has seeded the thinking in several areas of the social sciences. The present Maudsley monograph reports an investigation in which it was applied in psychiatry. The population samples consisted of 20 obsessive-compulsive patients, and 20 psychopathic patients who were "defined as anybody in whom the main features leading to treatment where repeated open aggression, violence, screaming, theft, or drug addiction (excluding alcohol)." Only two patients were drug addicts. A control sample consisted of 30 orthopedic patients "not psychiatrically ill." Ages, sex, intelligence, education, and social class "were closely matched" for the three groups (p 31, all quotations).

Towards mapping out their "semantic geography" the investigator designated 18 concepts along the following dimensions: (a) personal (myself, my father, my mother) and (b) emotional, 15 concepts distributed in the areas of anger-hostility, fearanxiety, and


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