FACTORS IN MENTAL HEALTH AND ILLNESS 57 1
quite another origin for more fixed and elaborated delusions, as we shall see.
As in normal life we notice that some people are quiet when they are depressed, and others agitated, so here we have very agitated as well as retarded or even stuporous melancholias; the latter especially in younger people. All forms tend towards suicide, and as the condition is not necessarily accompanied by any of the features popularly asso- ciated with mental derangement, it happens that many, perhaps the great majority of suicides are allowed to occur in this way.
The underlying mood regularly influences the emotional reaction to the environment. So while we contemplate with gladness the signs of returning spring, the melancholia is more depressed by them. It is also a law of normal emotion that a mental process with strong emo- tional reaction tends to endow with similar emotional value any mental process with which it stands in close association. Thus if we witness a very harrowing accident on a certain street, it is not pleasant for us to pass down that street next time — we may even pass down another street, though it is no safer to do so — and what is most important, the unpleasantness of passing down this street can exist whether the memory of the accident comes into consciousness or not. Such trans- fers of emotional reaction are worse than useless in life, and the per- sonality much subject to them soon ceases to be " normal." In psycho- pathology it has long been observed that incoordinate emotional reac- tion — the "intrapsychic ataxia" of Stransky — particularly character- izes the mental pictures of certain neuroses and of dementia prcecox. The psychogenic origin of these "ataxias" in normal life is clear enough, and in these disorders it can be traced sufficiently well to make it im- probable that any new process is involved. The connection is often bizarre, especially in dementia pmcox.
Although it is far from the most difficult of psychopathological ques- tions, but little knowledge exists on the subject of the speed of the higher mental processes beyond that afforded by clinical observation. Many of its basic problems are scarcely touched. Thus we do not know whether mental time in manic excitement is quicker than normal, and if it is, at what level of the nervous system the difference lies. The elementary process of addition has been found to be somewhat more rapid, at least at first, in manic than in normal individuals, but how far this is gained at a sacrifice of accuracy, or whether staying power would be as good as normal, does not appear. There is no question however, of a specific slowing in the case of the corresponding depressed phase of the psychosis. We have spoken of it before at the motor level, and it can pervade the entire mental system. Clinically it is here known as " thinking difficulty," and is shown by general delay or loss in responses that require mental effort. It may simulate a memory