Charles Benedict Davenport.

The feebly inhibited; Nomadism, or the wandering impulse, with special reference to heredity, Inheritance of temperament online

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This is an emotional state in which the elements of behavior are on
the whole the opposite of those shown in the hyperkinetic state. This
state is characterized by psycho-motor retardation ; all movements are
slow and made with difficulty. The hypokinetic individual seems
unable to initiate movements, or does so with difficulty. Thought and
action are retarded ; the emotions (in contrast with those of the hyper-
kinetic) are unbroken and stable, but relief is often in tears. Anxious-
ness, brooding, worry over trifles, fear of organic disease and of impend-
ing death, and other painful mental states are present. A sense of
self -insufficiency and unworthiness and deep sinfulness often develops,
with or without hallucinations. There is usually a high blood-pressure.
If the hyperkinetic seem to lack inhibitions so that the mental machine
runs wild, the hypokinetics are over-inhibited. The brakes are on too
hard, and the emotional machine can hardly work at all. This state,
like the hyperkinetic, is frequently (usually in young persons) a transi-
tory one; and in the course of days or months the normal mood is
restored.

As with the hyperkinetic, so with the hypokinetic, two states, bor-
rowed from the old psychology, may be recognized. The phlegmatic
temperament is characterized by quietness, seriousness, conservative-
ness, pessimism. The person of melancholic temperament is unrespon-
sive (often mute), lachrymose, given to worry, weak and incapable,
feels life a burden, often longs for death as a relief.

3. THE ALTERNATION OF HYPERKINESIS AND HYPOKINESIS.

It is common to find persons whose mood varies greatly, from grave
to gay. At one time they will be very active and sociable, jolly and
self-confident; at another they will be plunged into the slough of
despond and feel quite incapable of doing anything. Examples of this
type are found among men of genius as well as among others. For
example, the first biography I pick up is a life of Harriet Beecher
Stowe (Fields, 1898). At the age of 1 6 years she wrote her sister: "I



74 THE FEEBLY INHIBITED.

don't know as I am fit for anything and I have thought that I could die
young, and let the remembrance of me and my faults perish in the
grave. * * * YOU know how wretched I often feel, so useless, so
weak, so destitute of all energy." At other times she was extremely
energetic and effective.

Very clear is the description given by Geoffroy (1861) of a member
of the Institute of France who shows the two moods. In the hypo-
kinetic phase he enters the room of the Institute "without saying a
word to his colleagues, goes to his place, appears sad and downcast,
indifferent to all that is said and never speaking." When, on the con-
trary, he is in the hyperkinetic phase "everyone notices his entrance,
he talks to all, goes from place to place, speaks at each instant, con-
stantly makes objections. After he has reached his home his activity
continues. He writes continuously and dictates numerous memoirs
to two or three secretaries whom he has under orders." Here the
alternation is from a phelgmatic to a nervous mood.

When the moods are extreme we have typical manic-depression or
circular insanity. One example is cited by Hammond (1883, pp. 571,
572) . A man patient of his, 27 years old, "when suffering from melan-
cholia, took no interest in his affairs, but left everything to his partners
to manage. It was impossible to rouse him sufficiently to get him to
look into matters, and, when his advice was asked, he either gave the
first reason that occurred to him or declined to express an opinion."
But in the elated state "he was meddling in all departments of the
business, suggesting this thing and the other, making extensive pur-
chases without consultation with the partners, and selling things at
less than cost. He even rented an adjoining building, so as to be
ready for an extension of the business, which he proposed to make in
a short time. At home, there was fully as great a change noted."
Here the alternation is between states which, while not extreme,
approach the melancholic and choleric. Under the influence of Krae-
pelin, "manic-depressive insanity" has come to be regarded as an
entity in psychiatry; but in so far as this classification assumes that
the two moods are fundamentally associated, it would seem to be a
departure for the worse from the old ideas of mania, melancholia, and
circular insanity.

4. "NORMAL" MOOD.

"Normal" may be regarded as a state, which is certainly not more
common than all the other states, in which the possessor is uniformly
cheerful without being boisterous, easy-going, calm, sensible, well-
balanced, and en rapport socially. The possessor works and plays
moderately, laughs quietly, does not weep easily, feels little drive, and
on the other hand is always responsive and cooperative.



INHERITANCE OF TEMPERAMENT. 75

5. GENERAL FACTS OF HEREDITY.

An examination of the family histories of the hyperkinetic and hypo-
kinetic indicates that in some families there is a prevailing tendency for
the one condition, in other families for the other, while still other
families show the mixed state or a stable mood scattered among the
other moods. Examples of these families are given in the pedigree
charts. Attention may be drawn to Nos. i, 3, 22, 31, 35, and 45 as
examples of prevailing hyperkinesis, and Nos. 25, 34, 36, 52, and 80 as
of mixed or circular types, while 17, 55, 58, 61, 65, and 74 show a large
proportion of stable or near-stable individuals.

III. HYPOTHESIS AS TO HEREDITY.

How can we bring under one general scheme the inheritance of these
various types of mood? After several preliminary trials the following
hypothesis was selected for detailed testing:

There is in the germplasm a factor, E, which induces the more or less
periodic occurrence of an excited condition (or an exceptionally strong
reactibility to exciting presentations) and its absence, e, which results in
an absence of extreme excitability. There are also the factor C, which
makes for normal cheerfulness of mood, and its absence, c, which permits
a more or less periodic depression. Moreover, these factors behave as
though in different chromosomes, so that they are inherited independently
of each other and may occur in any combination.

What the nature of these factors is, whether they affect primarily the
development of certain parts of the nervous system or the secretions
of certain glands, is not known and is not involved in the hypothesis.
It is even conceivable that each state may be due to more than
the pair of factors here suggested; but if the hypothesis fits the facts
it would indicate that in the factors E and C we have the predomi-
nating influences that control mood.

IV. TEST OF THE HYPOTHESIS.

1. METHOD.

The general method employed in the test of the hypothesis is as
follows : From the family histories available for the study of mood, 89
were finally selected as sufficiently full for the purpose. There was no
selection of these family histories because it was foreseen that they
would supply facts fitting the hypothesis, and no rejections of any
histories because they afforded statements opposed to the hypothesis.
In these 89 family histories were found 146 matings that could be
used because the mated pair, their parents (usually), and certain of
their offspring were sufficiently described for the purposes of the test.

Let us consider, first, the case where a person of pure, excitable
strain (2) marries one of a pure unexcitable strain (62). The gametes
are respectively E, E, and e, e, and the zygotes are E e. This is the



76 THE FEEBLY INHIBITED.

FI generation. If two persons who are simplex in the excitation factor
mate, we have the possible zygotic combinations in generation F 2 :
E 2 , Ee, and e 2 , of which the middle term will be as frequent as the first
and last together. Similarly, where a pure cheerful (C) and a depressed
(c) strain are mated, in the F 2 generation, C 2 , Cc, and c 2 combinations
will be found. If, finally, the mating be made between the Ee hybrids
and the Cc hybrids, we may get in a hybridized population no less than
9 combinations. These are listed in table A, which gives the zygotic
formula and with each a coefficient indicating roughly its relative
frequency, also a term which indicates the extremes of fluctuations of
mood of the person with the zygotic formula. One notes that, in
table A, it is assumed that there is typically a difference in the mood of
a person with two doses or only one dose of a determiner ; that two doses
of the E factor produce the choleric temperament, while only one dose
results in the nervous temperament; that two doses of the C factor
result in a normal, cheerful state, while if only one dose is present the
individual has a tendency to appear phlegmatic, and if C is wholly
absent, to appear melancholic. This difference in the expression of a
trait according as it depends on a duplex or simplex condition of the
determiner has been repeatedly noticed and is perhaps the general
rule. Yet all students of genetics are aware that in some cases the
traits arising from the simplex and the duplex conditions of the deter-
miners are indistinguishable, while in some other cases in the simplex
condition the trait may even fail to arise. These experimentally
observed facts have to be taken into account in comparing observed
behavior with probable zygotic constitution.

TABLE A. Zygotic formula of descendants of a mixture of excited and depressed strains.

1. E2C2, choleric-normal.

2. E2Cc, choleric-phlegmatic.

1. E2C2f choleric-depressed (melancholic).

2. EeCz, nervous-normal.

4. EeCc, nervous-normal (phlegmatic).
2. Eec2, nervous-depressed (melancholic).

1. C2C2, normal.

2. C2Cc, normal-depressed (phlegmatic),
i. C2C2, normal-depressed (melancholic).

It is assumed, also, that the mixed or alternating states are due to
the concurrence of the presence of the excited and the absence of the
cheerful factors. It seems probable that, as experience shows, these
two states should not occur simultaneously, but should alternate. How-
ever, as psychiatrists know, the separation in time of these opposing
traits varies greatly, and not a few cases are known where the elated
and depressed states seem to appear in an intimate mixture. This
mixed condition is fully described, for example, by Stransky (1911,
PP- 57-65). It appears in transition from the elated to the depressed
phase, but also wholly independent of such transition. The mixture
may be a very intimate, strictly simultaneous one, i. e., at the same



INHERITANCE OF TEMPERAMENT. 77

time manic and depressed components are interwoven, or such compo-
nents may follow one after the other in quick succession.

The next step is to see whether, upon applying the most probable
zygotic formulae to various pairs of parents, the distribution of mood as
found in the offspring is such as would be called for by the hypothesis.
From our family histories 146 matings were chosen on the basis of
such fullness of knowledge that the probable zygotic constitution of
parents and offspring could be inferred.

The criteria of suitability of the zygotic formula are these: First t
the zygotic formula is ordinarily one that corresponds to a set of char-
acters found in the individual, as summarized in table A. Thus, if
the person is liable to periods of marked excitement (without corre-
sponding periods of depression) he is assigned the zygotic formula
E 2 C 2 . For example, the formula is applied in mating la to a man who
is "a great fighter of ugly, disagreeable disposition." In 16, to a man
who was of a surly, disagreeable disposition; would beat his children,
was hyper erotic and brutal to his wife. In mating 3 , to a man who would
periodically roar and scream and struggle violently. In mating 8, to
a woman who at 46 years began to have violent spells of laughter and
rage and to want to shoot her friends; at the hospital she was dis-
agreeable and profane; discharged at the age of 50 years, she is now
disagreeable when crossed and has fits of unreasonable laughter.

When the non-excited state shows certain elements below the normal
the formula I^Cc is applied. Thus, in mating 2 the mother is subject
to attacks of mania, is violent, nomadic, and has hysterical spasms.
But she has been, at times, depressed and emotional. The prevailing
fabric in her attacks is violent, restless, emotional; but this is mixed
with a religious and depressed thread.

When the patient shows at times a clear alternation of elated and
depressed states of approximately equal degree, the zygotic formula
202 is applied. Thus, in mating Sob, the father, in a State hospital,
had unsystematized, exalted, morbid ideas; became homicidal, sleep-
less, restless; at times dull, confused, resistive; at others, exalted,
talkative, silly, and violent. This is a nearly typical picture of the
manic-depressive. His daughter, when she "came out" at 19, was the
belle of a southern city and for 2 years led a very gay life ; was attrac-
tive to men and became engaged to two of them ; smoked 40 cigarettes
a day ; took a good deal of champagne and one cocktail after another.
At a summer house-party she became suddenly depressed and home-
sick and returned home, keeping in the house, reading and sewing,
until December, occasionally saying she wished she were dead. Again,
after a slight operation, she broke off her engagement and was depressed
for a year. The next year at the seashore she became noisy, screaming,
using bad language, and "turkey- trotting" in public places; in the
house, tore down curtains, and at the hospital was over-active and



78 THE FEEBLY INHIBITED.

over- talkative ; had a rhyming tendency, a flight of ideas, and a desire
to dance.

The normal-depressed condition to which the formula e 2 c 2 is applied
is exemplified in the mother of mating 86c. She is apt to worry and
brood, but never to speak of her troubles ; she is permanently depressed
even when well, and, after the birth of her last child, she began to talk
incoherently and to entertain delusions; her mind became confused;
she spoke of suicide and asked to be hung. Her mother (mating 866)
was a nervous, quiet woman, who cried easily and worried constantly.
At the age of 25 years she had a spell of exceptional depression and acted
and talked wildly; she is said to have been poetical.

To the normal individual is assigned the formula e 2 C 2 . This formula
is frequently applied to a person of whom we have only the statement
that he was normal. It is properly applied to a person who has no
extremes of mood. Such, e. g., is the father in mating 15. For many
years he taught school; he has a generous disposition; is religious but
not narrow; he liked the country best, but moved to the city for his
wife's sake; after her death he returned to the country and engaged in
farming. Again, mating 2, the father is a hardworking farmer, even-
tempered, industrious, temperate, and patient with his wife.

There are, of course, numerous intermediate grades, and to these the
various formulae in table A are applied, as seem most apt.

But a second criterion has also to be observed. As is well known,
persons may carry in their germ-cells determiners for "recessive"
traits that they do not show. Hence ' ' ancestry, ' ' including collaterals,
must be considered to learn the probability that such recessive trait is
carried. Since, by hypothesis, the depressed condition is due to the
absence of the C determiner and is thus recessive, likewise since a
normal state, e, is recessive to E, such determiners for recessive condi-
tions must be looked for in the family history. If the antecedent family
history is sufficiently complete, it may absolutely fix the zygotic com-
position of the individual in question, and so his gametic composition
becomes precisely known. Repeatedly, in our table, we have cases of
children to whom a zygotic formula has been applied based on probable
parental gametes. These are parents in another mating, where that
same zygotic formula has served well to interpret the conditions found
in their children. These cases are too numerous to cite. They will
be found in most cases where 2 matings in the same family have been
included in table C.

Moreover, in assigning a zygotic formula to a parent, especially if
the ancestry of the parent is imperfectly known, some account may,
occasionally, be taken of the progeny. This is done only with caution,
as it tends to test the hypothesis by a bit of circular reasoning; and
yet it is justifiable to employ the method to a limited extent where
progeny furnish the only clue to gametic composition of the parent.



INHERITANCE OF TEMPERAMENT.



79



The kinds of offspring and the proportions of each that are to be
expected from each mating are set forth in table B. This shows, for
example, that when one parent is choleric-cheerful and the other the
same, all children will be of this type ; but if the other parent is nervous-
phlegmatic, the children will be of the four classes: choleric-cheerful,
choleric-phlegmatic, nervous-cheerful, and nervous-phlegmatic. The
greatest variety (including all types) of offspring is derived from the
mating of two nervous-phlegmatic parents.

TABLE B. Most probable distributions of temperaments in the offspring corresponding to each
combination of temperamental zygotic make-tip of the parents. Assumed number to the
fraternity, 8.



Class
num-
ber in
table
C.


Nature of parental mating.


E2C2, choleric-
cheerful.


E2Cc, choleric-
phlegmatic.


E2C2, choleric-
melancholic.


EeC2, nervous-
cheerful.


EeCc, nervous-
phlegmatic.


Eec2, nervous-
melancholic.


C2C2 (normal),
calm-cheerful.


f

3

$*
ll

8 a

f


1

"4;

Id

S-3

I*


i


One parent E2 C2, choleric-cheer-
ful.
Other parent:
E2C2, choleric-cheerful


g




















E2Cc, choleric-phlegmatic. . .
E2O>, choleric-melancholic. . .


4


4
g












...




2

3


EeC2, nervous-cheerful
EeCc, nervous-phlegmatic . . .


4

2


2




4

2


2










4


Eec2, nervous-melancholic. . .




A
















5


C2C2, calm-cheerful








8












6


C2Cc, calm-phlegmatic










4










7


C2C2, calm-melancholic










8












One parent E2Cc, choleric-phleg-
matic.
Other parent:
E2Cc, choleric-phlegmatic. . .


2


A


2
















E2C2, choleric-melancholic. . .




















8


EeC2, nervous-cheerful


2


2




2


2










9
10


EeCc, nervous-phlegmatic . . .
Eec2t nervous-melancholic.


I


2


I


I


2
2


i






...




C2C2, calm-cheerful.




















ii


62Cc, calm-phlegmatic. .








2




2








12


C2C2, calm-melancholic. . .






















One parent E2C2, choleric-melan-
cholic.
Other parent:
EjC2 choleric-melancholic






8
















EeC2> nervous-cheerful




















13


EeCc, nervous-phlegmatic. . .
Eec2, nervous-melancholic. . .
C2C2, calm-cheerful.




2


2

4




2

8


2
4








14


C2Cc, calm-phlegmatic
C2C2, calm-melancholic










4


4
g








15


One parent EeC2, nervous-nor-
mal.
Other parent:
EeC2, nervous-cheerful.


2


















16

i?


EeCc, nervous-phlegmatic . . .
Eec2, nervous-melancholic. . .


I


I
2




2


2


...


i


i

2


...


18


C2C2, calm-cheerful.




















19
20


eaCc, calm-phlegmatic
C2C2, calm-melancholic. .








2


2




2


2



























80



THE FEEBLY INHIBITED.



TABLE B. Most probable distributions of temperaments in the offspring corresponding to each
combination of temperamental zygotic make-up of the parents. Assumed number to the
fraternity, 8. Continued.



Class
num-
ber in
table
C.


Nature of parental mating.


E2C 2 , choleric-
cheerful.


E2Cc, choleric-
phlegmatic.


E2C2, choleric-
melancholic.


EeCz, nervous-
cheerful.


EeCc, nervous-
phlegmatic.


Eec2, nervous-
melancholic.


C2C2 (normal),
calm-cheerful.


bo

jy

Is

11

o

$


a

oJ

Is!
E^
||

1




One parent EeCc, nervous-phleg-






















matic.






















Other parent:




















21


EeCc, nervous-phlegmatic. . .





i


1


i


2


i


i


I


i


22


Eec2, nervous-melancholic.




j


j




2


2




J


J


23


C2C2, calm-cheerful








2


2




2


2




24


C2Cc, calm-phlegmatic


. . .






i


2


I


I


2


I


2 5


C2C2, calm-melancholic










2


2




2


2




One parent Eec2, nervous-melan-






















cholic.






















Other parent:






















Ecc2, nervous-melancholic






2






4.






2


26


C2C2, calm-cheerful










4"










27


C2Cc, calm-phlegmatic










2


2




2


2




C2C2, calm-melancholic


















4~




One parent e2Qj, calm-cheerful.























Other parent:






















C2C2, calm-cheerful














8








C2Cc, calm-phlegmatic. .






















C2C2, calm-melancholic. . .
















g






One parent C2Cc, calm-phleg-






















matic.






















Other parent:




















28


e2Cc, calm-phlegmatic














2




2


29


C2C2, calm-melancholic
















4


4




One parent e2C2, calm-melan-






















cholic.






















Other parent:






















C2C2, calm-melancholic . .


















8

























It may be objected that any hypothesis may be proved by the fore-
going method, and that any parentage can be made to fit any fraternity
of offspring. But this is not true. For example, if either parent is
choleric then all of the children will be choleric or nervous. If either
parent is steadily ' ' cheerful, ' ' then none of the children will be depressed .
If both parents are steadily calm then none of the offspring will be
choleric or nervous. If both parents are melancholic, then none of
the children will be cheerful. Among the 629 progeny the unexpected
temperaments do, as a matter of fact, appear only exceptionally.
Each exception is referred to in detail. There have, indeed, been not
a few cases where additional details were greatly desired. In a few
cases it was practicable, by special inquiry, to secure additional data,
but the great expense of the special trips required for the purpose
limited such inquiries.



INHERITANCE OF TEMPERAMENT. 8 1

I am quite free to confess that the descriptions afforded were by no
means always all that could be desired. I will not deny that, in more
than one mating, I was somewhat "put to it" to account for the con-
ditions in the progeny, given on the "face of the returns, " by the most
probable zygotic condition of the parents. This is necessarily so from
the nature of the data, which are not quantitative. Indeed, no satis-
factory method of measuring emotions has yet been devised. Never-
theless, the difficulties are the exceptions and, on the whole, agreement
of findings with hypothesis was striking.

2. RESULTS.

Let us now turn our attention to table C, which constitutes the real
test of the hypothesis. This table gives the frequency of each class of
temperament in the progeny, corresponding with the different combina-
tions of zygotic constitution of the parents. All the matings in which
the parents have the same (probable) zygotic formulae are grouped
together, and these matings are arranged in order, proceeding from
the combinations containing the greatest proportion of the E factor
down to the combination containing the greatest proportion of the c
factor. Reciprocal matings are bunched together, since careful com-
parison of matings in which they were separated showed no difference ;
in other words, there is no evidence of sex-linkage. The columns
corresponding to the different types of offspring are arranged from left
to right, primarily in order of decreasing amount of the E factor and
secondarily of increasing amount of the c factor. The assignment of
one of the offspring to a particular column is made primarily on the
basis of the description of his behavior and mood recorded by the field-
worker, who, of course, had no idea that the descriptions she secured
would be used for any such study as this. It is not to be wondered at,
then, that in many cases there is no description of the mood of the
individual. Such individuals are marked X in the pedigree charts and


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