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Table of contents
PREFACE
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-6
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-1
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-2
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-3-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

belief constantly conclude the discussion with an expression of doubt and 

uncertainty. Even if the majority of authorities are inclined to reject 

maternal impressions, the scientific eminence of those who accept them 

makes a decisive opinion difficult. The arguments against such influence 

are perfectly sound: (1) it is a primitive belief of unscientific origin; 

(2) it is impossible to conceive how such influence can operate since 

there is no nervous connection between mother and child; (3) comparatively 

few cases have been submitted to severe critical investigation; (4) it is 

absurd to ascribe developmental defects to influences which arise long 

after the foetus had assumed its definite shape[192]; (5) in any case the 

phenomenon must be rare, for William Hunter could not find a coincidence 

between maternal impressions and foetal marks through a period of several 

years, and Bischoff found no case in 11,000 deliveries. These statements 

embody the whole of the argument against maternal impressions, yet it is 

clear that they do not settle the matter. Edgar, in a manual of obstetrics 

which is widely regarded as a standard work, states that this is "yet a 

mooted question."[193] Ballantyne, again, in a discussion of this 

influence at the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society, summarizing the result of 

a year's inquiry, concluded that it is still "_sub judice_."[194] In a 

subsequent discussion of the question he has somewhat modified his 

opinion, and is inclined to deny that definite impressions on the pregnant 

woman's mind can cause similar defects in the foetus; they are "accidental 

coincidences," but he adds that a few of the cases are difficult to 

explain away. At the same time he fully believes that prolonged and 

strongly marked mental states of the mother may affect the development of 

the foetus in her uterus, causing vascular and nutritive disturbances, 

irregularities of development, and idiocy.[195] 

 

Whether and in how far mental impressions on the mother can 

produce definite mental and emotional disposition in the child is 

a special aspect of the question to which scarcely any inquiry 

has been devoted. So distinguished a biologist as Mr. A.W. 

Wallace has, however, called attention to this point, bringing 

forward evidence on the question and emphasizing the need of 

further investigation. "Such transmission of mental influence," 

he remarks, "will hardly be held to be impossible or even very 

improbable," (A.W. Wallace, "Prenatal Influences on Character," 

_Nature_, August 24, 1893.) 

 

It has already been pointed out that a large number of cases of foetal 

deformities, supposed to be due to maternal impressions, cannot possibly 

be so caused because the impression took place at a period when the 

development of the foetus must already have been decided. In this 

connection, however, it must be noted that Dabney has observed a 

relationship between the time of supposed mental impressions and the 

nature of the actual defect which is of considerable significance as an 

argument in favor of the influence of mental impressions. He tabulated 90 

carefully reported cases from recent medical literature, and found that 21 

of them were concerned with defects of structure of the lips and palate. 


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