Recognition memory in conversion hysteria: Effect of sexual stimuli during learning

A. Dal Bo, A. Ceola, F. Brighenti, C. Semenza, C. de Bertolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hysteria has two main explanatory models: a neurobiological and a psychodynamic. Both models can predict a memory deficit, as a consequence either of a neurophysiological inhibition or of a repression produced by a conflict. The existence of a conflict can also be proved by showing the stimulating, and not the inhibitory effect that conflictual material can have when appropriately shown. Ten female hysterical patients and 10 nonpsychiatric female patients were submitted to a short-term memory test consisting of pictures. In one session all pictures were neutral, while in a second session the neutral were mixed with mild sexually charged pictures, excluded from subsequent recall. The overall performances of the two groups were not significantly different, but the hysterical patients remembered better the pictures linked to the sexual ones, while the control group did the opposite. The results are consistent with the psychodynamic model, while they cannot be explained by the neurobiological.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-539
Number of pages5
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Recognition memory in conversion hysteria: Effect of sexual stimuli during learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this