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ON DISCOVERY AND EXPERIMENT IN PSYCHIATRY
HENRY W. BROSIN
Am J Psychiatry 1955;111:561-575.
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Director, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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Abstract

1. Research in psychiatry as in other disciplines is a vital necessity, not a luxury.2. Psychiatrists have several functions in improving research: actual participation, active and passive support, and the study of investigators. The enormous importance of unconscious motivation to work patterns is now better appreciated.3. In order to improve discovery and experimentation, we need to know more about it as an art, as a science, and as an industry. The human elements in research are only now becoming the object of serious study.4. Science as "empirically reduced empiricism" (Conant) is held to be the most advantageous strategy at this time.5. The ways in which men really work at experimentation is both a worthy and a possible object of study. The case history method is cited as a means of acquainting those without practical experience of the hazards of research.6. The need for long-term studies is emphasized. Many psychiatrists can make a personal contribution by writing of their own struggles, and also by careful reporting of their experience with professional investigators.

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