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How We Detect the Feeble Minded and Save Them trom Crime
to Decrease the Number of Criminals by Scientifically Diagnosing Mental and Moral Defectives and Placing Them Where They Can Do No Harm and Where There May Be Hope for Their Redemption. NEW YORK Is the first metropolis In the world to scientifically systematize the study nnd disposition of its mentally and morally deficient child population ? its "potential criminals." "With 15,000 oi these unfortunates reported by public and private schools and protectories, nnd with city institutions lor 6uch cases hav ing a total capacity of less than 5,000, the need of such a centralized method of examination, classification and continuous observation, la manifest. The lifting out and sequestration of the morally deficient, on account of their contaminating Influence. Is of first Importance. For the first time this Is made possible and effective by the "clearing house" method, with lis scientific means of diagnosis and its super vision of all cases discovered. The organizer and head of the Clearing House for Mental Defectives is Dr. Max Gus tav Schlapp, an eminent authority on mental diseases, both here and In Germany, professor of neuropathology in the .Post Graduate School and Hospital. He also occupies the post of psychiatrist to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. By Dr. Max Gustav Schlapp, Director of the New "iork Clearing House for Mental Defectives. EVERY 'arge city faces a grave problem in connection with its child population of mental defectives. These unfortunates must to regarded as potential criminals. In many Instances they are already morally, aa well as mentally, deficient, and have a con taminating influence upon normal children in tie schools, in the streets, in the homes wherever they are free to come and go. The problem is to discover these cases early in their development, to place them where there is hope for their redemption, thereby limiting the bad influenco they exert and reducing the supply of underworld material. Up to the present time no metropolis has put into operation a satisfactory solution of this problem. Each maintains various public institutions to whlcn the mentally deficient are committed, often without any exhaustive examination inio their condition, without thor ough Inquiry into their personal and family history and without means of systematic ob servation of their subsequent careers. Facilities lor the care and treatment of these cases are always Inadequate. Lack of system in their discovery, diagnosis and com mitment results in overcrowding existing in stitutions with a larse percentage of compara tively mild cases while many others for whom immediate attention is imperative ? for the public good as well as their own?are neg lected. This state of affairs in New York City is at tempted to be met by the establishment of a Clearing House for Mental Defectives?a cen tral organization of efficient examiners, nurses and social workers?conducted under the De partment of Public Charities, to which all cases are sent aa discovered, which makes ac curate diagnoses of all cases, classifies them, and recommends commitment according to the j-?T?" urgency of the cases and existing facilities for their treatment. The first step In attempting to solve the problem of tho mentally deficient child is to discover as accurately as possible the degree of his defectiveness. The observer, noticing the Mongolian idiot as he sits staring stupidly ahead of him, with open mouth, will say that It is no difficult matter to see that he is defin itely deficient. It. is true that no mental test is required in this case. The dcfects are ob vious. But it is also true that this helpless idiot does not represent that class of mental defectives which, is most dangerous to society. It is the high-grade imbecile and the moron that constitute the real menace to the com munity. In the case of these high-grade de fectives diagnosis was formerly difficult and uncertain. It depended to a great extent on the subjective standard of the examiner. For instance, there was no segregation of these cases in the schools, for no child who could learn to read and writo was regraded as feeble-minded. "Stupid," "dull" or "stubborn" they might be called, but they were not recog nized as definitely defective, because there was no standardized scale of mental develop ment by which they could be measured. Rinet and Simon, two French psychologists, undertook to standardize a scalo of tests whereby the mental ago of an individual might be objectively determined with some degree of precision, just as his height and weight have been determined for a long time. Other psy chologists have submitted tests for the detec tion of feeblemindedness, but. the Binet-Simon scale is most widely accepted and is the one we use in the Clearing House. By means of this scale we can tell not only that a child Is defective, but also approximately HOW iIa fective he is?for example, whether he has developed to the ago of three years, seven I)r. Max (iustav Schlapp, l'rotessor of Neuropathology, Post Graduate School and Hospital, New York, and Director of the Clearing Houso for Mental Defectives. years or ten years, etc. In scores of cases that come to the Clearing House it would bo difficult to tell the place of an individual in the scale of mentality without these tests. Examinations at the Clearing House begin at 10 o'clock in tho- morning. The examiner comes into tho clinic, where the patients, most of them children, sit with their shawled mothers, waiting. Each has a little ticket which tells his number, and he waits his turn. Nearly every ono has also a letter from or is accompanied by a teacher, a nurse, a social worker or a probation officer. The attitude of the patient toward the ex amination makes all the difference in the world. The idea that an ordeal is at hand must be dispelled. The examiner speaks cheerfully to the patient, calling him or her by name, and inviting him in to "see some pictures," "play 6omo games," or what not. It is surprising how well this works, especially with the chil dren. It is only tho exceptional patient who resists, weeps, and refuses to be reassured. Almost always he follows tho examiner read ily into the little room where the test is to be made, for tho feebleminded aro singularly credulous and confiding. The name and address of tho patient, with his clinical number, are all ascertained from the card which ha gets when he enters the clinic. The examination begins with a ques tion as to his birthday, and how old he is. NText he is asked about his school training; does he go to school? If so, where? If not, did he so to school at one time, and for how long? Did he go to school in Europe, etc. This information la necessary for a proper e&timute of the patient's pertormance In the tests. An Italian woman of thirty, who has never gone to school in her life, will react dif ferently from an American child of twelve, who is at present In school, even though they may bo at the same stage of mental develop ment. After these facts have been ascertained, either from the patient or those who accom pany him, there is no stereotyped method of procedure. Almost every case requires a slightly different manner of approach. A feebleminded man twenty-five years old is apt to tly into a temper if the examiner, estimat ing his mental age at four years, starts off with the question, "Are you a man or a woman?" Tha retarded child of eleven years collapses in discouragement if the first task set for him is .to put dissected bentences to gether. After long experience, however, one attains an extraordinary degree of facility In estimat ing a patient and In quickly deciding which questions aro most suitable as an approach to his case. Thus the actual order of tho questions and tests cannot be stereotyped, but the questions themselves are always exactly the same, for the form of each question has been standardized as well as the answer to it, and the time in -which tho reply is to be g^ven! 38 J 2 3 <f 5 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 15 M 15 16 17 18 19 20 Vr? YEARS OLD Dr. Schlapp'a Chart, Showing the Ages of 1,000 Mentally De ficient Children Brought to the Clearing House by Parents and from Public and Private Schools. It Will Be Seen That the Periods of Pu bcrty and Adole scence Reveal the Highest Percentage of Mental Deficien cy?350 in Every 1,000; Ages, too. When Public School Attendance Is Com pulsory, and When Moral Delinquency Ib Mont Apt to Manifest Itself. When a test Is passed successfully, tbe ?*' aminer marks it plus (+); vhen tha P* falls In a test the examiner marks it (?). When t- o patient makes a mistake no indication of this fact is given him. He 13 encouraged to feel that he's meeting with un qualified success. Tne examiner keeps going forward into the more difficult tests till the patient has failed in all the tests for a given year; he keeps going backward into the easy tests till the patient has successfully answered all the questions in a given age. Tho mental age is then determined by beginning: with the age where all answers arc correct, and adding a year of menial age for every five pluses bo yond that age. On the back of the Blnet blank the examiner records a summary of tho oa$a. noting the mood of the paMent, whether ho is frightened, amiable, apathetic, or interested, speech de fects, and any peculiarities o! reaction that may be noteworthy. This summary is taken into account when the physician estimates the Blnet test as an aid in his diagnosis. The most difficult cases are those of the feebleminded adult3, particularly the foreign adults. They are sometimes inclined to take a gloomy view of the situation, to be resent ful, feeling that they are suspected of being "crazy." These have to be handlea carefully if any results of value a?-e to ba obtained. But the majority of feebleminded patients, both children end adults, are quite docile, and co operate readily In tns te?ts. Our purpose Is to register every mental defective in New York. W? hope to this end to inaugurate and carry out the system of finger prints, not with any idea of stamping the patient as ev?n a potential criminal, but as establishing the absolute identity of the In dividual with his reccrii in tha Clearing House. After the mental age has been established by the Blnet Test, a member of the r.edical staff, all trained neurologists makes a thorough ex amination which includes the family history as far back as tho patient's parents can possibly recall, a personal history cf the patient and a thorough physical examination. With all this data In mind, a diagnosis is made and a course of treatment decided upon, if Id ?my way medical care can Improve the general "condi tion of the patient. If it is a clear ca.Be of amentia, for which nothing but Institutional care can avail, tho one moat fitted to tho degree of feeblemindedness Is selected and recom mended to the patient's parents and guardians. Scientific Evidence of Thought T ransference or "Mental Telepathy"? Bj Prof. Sir Oliver Lodge, F.R.S., D.Sc., President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. uIf j/a expect not the unexpected ye shall not find truth."? Hcraclitus. IN a recent nrticlo I spoke of the question "whether consciousness apart from brain has any meaning" as the fundamental Issue. But this Important and profoundly difficult question is not the immediate phenomenon that the Society for Psychical Research has been investigating, is the phenomenon under discussion. The possible existence of con pciousnefs apart from brain (however obvi ously consciousness requires brain to manifest itself here and now) is not a phenomenon at all, but h. hypothesis?one that 1 spoke of as eminent!? debatable, though 1 admitted that it was the forking hypothesis to which I have been xnysMf led by long continued study of n considerable range of obscure psychical facts. Such a hypothesis does not rest solely on the occurrence Of simple telepathy, on which the present discussion hinges; It Is sustained by a good deal more. The experimentally observed fact Imme diately under consideration Is the transference *>'. iho.ught or mental Impression between a few living people, i e., between such ns have the faculty sufficiently developed, without the uss oi their normal sense organs, the conditions cl transfer being not yet known. But what the explanation of this fe.et may be is an open ques 1.1:1. !; may possibly be due to br-ln waves, er some kind of syntonic material o ethereal < onueciion between brains; for, though I think taat unlikely, it is what fonio people have sug gested and provisionally hold, finding in It an obvious analogy with wireless telegraphy; and i; that can be proved to be the explanation no question of conscl usnesa apart from brain ccrtd arise, 1. e., no such hypothesis would in that ca.;e be necessary to account for simple telepathy. The process would then take Its place a3 an extension of, or addition to tho already known ^j^thocis of transmitting thought?speech, writ ;:jg, gesture, code tignalling, etc. Some of tbesa methods would seem mysterious to a lavage. Just ad telepathy may seem mysterious to ua so long as we are unacquainted with the :..echanis:n of the process. On anything b?v yond affirming the bare fact I have been care ful not to dogmatize, though I myself a:n in clined to maintajn 'hat telepathy i? not a physical process, pan passu with the other ot long known methods of communication, but a sign or incipient outcome of a faculty auo a method essentially different. As to evidence of the existence of such a faculty, if a record is wanted, it is contained in a mass of papers published in the Proceed ings of the Society for Psychical Research, for ? serves as the hypothetical and most nearly or'hodox explanation of a multipilleity of <>he tomena which without it would be even morn mysterious; it Is the minimum hypothesis, which we feel bound to stretch to the utmost before going beyond it. If, however, direct first-hand laboratory experience of the rudi mentary stages of such a faculty is wanted? as it ought to be?it must be looked and waited for, and experiments must be tried from time to time, as in any other chance <~* success is likely to occur if observers are patient, though it is not always at hand, and my expe rience shows that sooner or later sufficiently sensitive or capable recipients?persons with adequate receptivity?will be found. Perhaps they are commoner than we think, because the test is so seldom applied. I have now an apparatus set up for examining whether traccs of the faculty exist widespread in normal peo ple. and 1 shall make report to the Society for Psychical Research in due course. Hut. whether incipiently widespread or not. and however it be explained, the faculty of telepathic receptivity certainly exists in a few people, though even in them it is by no means always and under all circumstances available. In that respect it differs from an inorganic property like radio-activity?though that, too, appears limited to a few substances and is not conspicuous or widespread. The Society for Psychical Research has dona more in the way of detecting fraud than any single person; partly, no doubt, by reason of Us wide experience; but it has also had a large experience of genuine phenomena, and by ap plication of the comparatively simple principle of telepathy to cases whore its application is not superficially obvious and where any other explanation involves a greater departure from normality it has done a good deal to mitigate superstition, to give a rational explanation of at least one kind of so-called ghost, and gen erally to induce a sane and softer treatment of n number of uncommon but genuine expe J iences. It is sometimes said?Sir Br.van Donkin eitho: says or clearly implios?that the existence of telepathy would contradict established knowledge. If that were true, it wouid indeed br: an absurdity, but telepathy does nothing of tiie kind; it enlarges and expands, it opens up a new chapter, but it dees not contradict. By psychical research our knowledge of fact is supplemented, but in no other way changed. The unwelcome facia will i;t into the coherent scheme of science in due course, and will dis place nothing already there, though they will remove some mistaken accretions ? tiie begin nings of a prematiffre fence or boundary. If biologists have formulated for themselves a theory that a material mode of access is the only access to mind, and material methods the only possible means of psychic intercommu nion, that theory, weil founded as it is on the positive side, may have to give way on the negative side and the word only be eliminated from the statement before it is true. Subject to correction by further experience, 1 am ready provisionally to agree that possibly the only way in which mind can act on in organic matter is through or by the aid of the brain nerve and muscle system of some living animal, and. conversely, that the material uni verse acts, and perhaps only can act, on mind by an inverse process through the sense or gans of a living person. At any rate, there Is sreat uniformity of experience in support of A New Portrait of Sir Oliver Lodge. these commonplace theses. Hut if 1 aiu asked the totally dift?:rent qucBtlon whether it Is likely that mind c;;u ever directly act on ruind without any material concomitant or interven tion, I should hav?. to say that I know no fact against it, and should wish to bo 3imply agnoa tic on tho subject were it not for tho telopathlo evidence which In rrceent times has come to our knowledge. And even then?for any inter pretation or demonstration, for any manifesta tion of tho occurronce?a physiological system of brain nerve and muscle must still be util ized, since this is the essential condition, by which wo can obtain a record of the fact or convoy knowledge of it to the world. I said this more briefly, but I thought clearly enough. in my former article. I know that it annoyB most scientists to see the word "discovery" used of a thing which to them seems impossible, namely, the direct intercommunication between mind and mind, apart from the operation of normal and recog nized sense organs. But I know what the word "discovery" means in science, and I take full responsibility for its use iu this connection. 1 will, for their edification and amusement, gibbet myself further, so I go out of my way to say that I nuite expect that the process which we call telepathy, whose laws I should be glad to understand, will be found applicable to, and will so to speak explain, or at any rate be closely connected with, those long-testified to aEd frequently encountered experience which simulate, and perhaps in some rare cases truly represent, communications from another order of mental existence which is normally disso ciated frotn ordinary matter. To flum up. Any one who limits his range of inquiry to the general categories of already acquired knowledge has a sufficiently rich and extensivo field, and, by surrounding himself with a definite boundary, is in a very strong position. Entrenched in such a fortress, Sir Ray Lankoster and those who think with him look with pitying eyes on us, who, after some exploration inside, have ventured outside the walla, and they regard with contempt any assertions as to what lies beyond the pale. They are like the orthodox mariners of old who limited themselves to the shores of the Medi terranean. cruising round Its coasts and grad ually becoming familiar with every port. The world as known to the ancients was their do main. and it was impious to sail out through the Pillars of Hercules Into the ocean beyond. Venturesome explorers who transgressed those limits and from time to time returned with legends of times and other unusual phenomena were doubtless received with disapprobation and incredulity, still more so if they ventured to deduce the possible existence of a new con tinent, which as yet confessedly they bad not reached, from evidences derived from drifting logs and a Sargasso Sea. That is my view of the position, and. unless we strangely limit the possibilities of progress before the human race in tho aeons of the future, surely tho most advanced and modern man of science must admit, In a lucid interval, that posterity will regard him as one of tho ancients, as one, too, perhaps, who is patheti cally struggling amid a welter of ignorance to hold fast to his traditions, to secure himself in his fertile little oasis of materialistic knuw edfie, to defend It against the hosts of barba rians, and to resist the unwelcome incursion of even friendly messengers from alien and distant lands. Meanwhile, wo are accused of lying, of mega lomania, of foliy and of madness. I-?et It be ao. I for one am in no hurry. I am not sorry that the present state of ignorance and prejudice surrounding this subject in the minds of! a large number of scientific men in tho year 1913 should be put on record, lamentable though it be, else posterity, familiar with a mass of developed knowledge, will hardly credit the curious obstruction which pioneers in this do main still have to encounter. Secure in the progress of the human race, we shall bide our time, -cultivate our gardons and pass on befor* any wealth of fruits can be gathered In.