Tourette: His Syndrome is Only the Start

Georges Gilles de la TouretteMind Hacks has some great coverage of a recent article in European Neurology about Tourette and his forensic use of  hypnosis. I could paraphrase it, but why not just give you a taste of their take, and then you can click through to the whole item.

The 19th century French neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette is best known for Tourette’s Syndrome, but a fascinating article in European Neurology traces his interest in the criminal uses of hypnosis.

It is full of surprising facts, like that he was shot in the head by a delusional patient who believed that she had been hypnotised against her will, and that he eventually died in a Swiss asylum after developing psychosis caused by syphilis.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

3 thoughts on “Tourette: His Syndrome is Only the Start

  1. hmm, I always question the branding of women as “delusional” when reading history– especially history written by neurologists.

    There are always reasons (delusional or not) why people believe they are being controlled. For instance, did he attempt hypnosis on this particular woman? Did she experience rape or some other traumatic event by him or someone else shortly after? Even if hypnosis doesn’t work, people always feel as though they should have been able to stop the act after the fact; therefore making them question why they couldn’t. Hypnosis was not the only “delusional” thing “normal” people believed in during the 19th century.

    It might be interesting, but this isn’t good history. However, it poses some great questions for scholars to begin with.

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