Cultural Aspects of Delusion

Louis L. Lunsky, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(4):533. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620280133035.
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The analysis of symbolic behavior and communication, which was first described by Sapir and Whorf, is extended by Dr. Weinstein in clarifying the role of psychotic processes as a mode of adaptation in the social field. In previous publications the author described brain damaged patients, including those with diffuse injury or brain stem lesions, who then developed obscure language and gestural patterns which were nevertheless integrated patterns with social and dynamic significance. The thesis of this research is that symbols and symbolic behavior are structured early and provide one with a sense of reality. Under the stress of illness, whether it is organic (brain damage) or functional (schizophrenia), we select early learned preferred systems of intimate communication.

The author chose the Virgin Islands to investigate the significance of cultural factors in delusions. There are four subcultures extant in these islands: native (British and American Virgin Islanders), continentals, French, and Puerto


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