Page:The Scientific Monthly vol. 3.djvu/486

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


interpreters of Freud. The psychologist's interest in this movement lies in its possible usefulness in analyzing character. The analysis of personal character, like the analysis of emotions, has always resisted the efforts of the psychological laboratories. I believe all psychologists will agree with me when I say that no laboratory-developed test has ever enabled us to tell whether a man is at heart a liar, a profligate, or a coveter of his neighbor's wife.

Suppressed Wishes expressed in* the Slips of Every-day Lifb

In social gatherings where there is some slight emotional strain and the customary control over speech is off, we find numberless examples of the expression of the suppressed wish. If we were to make a tabulation of such slips met with in a single week, the list would be long. Most of the slips reveal too much to be put down in print. But I can mention some of the types usually met with.

An elderly bachelor, the friend of the family, squires his friend's wife to a dance. He introduces her as " Mrs. S. " (giving her maiden name instead of her married name, "Mrs. J."). If taxed with pos- sessing the wish that the woman were single so that he might have an- other chance, he would indignantly deny that any such thought had ever crossed his mind. This is probably true in the sense that had any such wish crossed his mind in his ordinary waking moments it would have been put down immediately — ^repressed. It is rather in- teresting to note in the above case, which is an actual one, that later in the evening the " Mrs. J." referred to, after having danced with a man other than her escort, shortly afterwards introduced her partner as "Mr. J." (her husband) I It is of course unusual to find material so readily as this. I noted another and common type of slip the same day as the above. A woman of my acquaintance had to go to the New York Central Station to meet three girl friends en route from Boston to Washington. She decided to buy some flowers for each of them. I went to the florist shop with her and to my surprise she pur- chased only two bouquets, saying: A likes violets, but B is fond of orchids." When we reached the sidewalk I asked her why she dis- liked '^C^' so much. "Why do you think I dislike her?" she asked. " Because," I said, "you have done all in your power to annihilate her — ^you have forgotten to purchase any flowers for her." She showed confusion but gracefully admitted that I had saved her from making a serious favs pas. To take revenge, however, she gave me my just deserts by saying: "I can't bear to be around a man who has your view of life." (She afterwards admitted, however, that '^C" had been for many years a thorn in the flesh.)

Slips are often expressive of wishes which bear on the pleasanter side of life. I mislay my cane and umbrella, both of which I prize

VOL. ni. — ^33.

�� �