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The PAROXYSMAL VECTOR.  (Suzanne Deri)

The concept of paroxysmality is less known and less used generally in psychology and in psychoanalysis than that of sexuality. In medical science, the adjective “paroxysmal” is used to describe certain emotional or physiologic processes, which follow a specific pattern.

This is a pattern of periodically recurring accumulation of energy, which reaches a climax, then suddenly discharges. Graphically, there is a repeated, wave-like, rise in tension to a culminating point, followed by a plunge to a point nearly zero. Prototypical of paroxysmal discharge is the gradual approach and sudden outbreak of an epileptic seizure.

The (e) factor

The interpretation of the (e) factor is centered in this paroxysmal storing up and sudden release of energy. In the Szondi test, epilepsy is interpreted psychologically as the purest manifestation of an aggressive outburst. This conception of epilepsy coincides with that of Freud as it is expressed in his “Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” The epileptic’s mounting aggressiveness, accompanying the approach of seizure, is well known to all clinicians dealing with epileptic patients. There is an increasing irritability and motoric restlessness which sometimes reaches a point at which epileptics feel a compulsion to injure people in their environment. This period of aggressiveness is terminated by the actual attack, which is followed by coma.

The next stage comprises the so-called inter-paroxysmal period, characterized by the epileptic’s strict emotional control of his aggressive tendencies. The “e” photographs in the test are portraits of epileptic patients, in this controlled inter- paroxysmal period. In this stage, the epileptic patients are overly-good, religious, and helpful. The term “morbus sacer, denoting epilepsy in the old European textbooks of psychiatry, intends to express just this aspect of the epileptic character. Again, clinicians who have had experience with epileptic patients know very well that the kindness and help- fullness of epileptics has something of a “sticky” and a forced quality. One can almost sense the degree of energy spent on retention of this strict emotional control, which probably serves the same dynamic purpose as a reaction formation. The Rorschach records of epileptics in the seizure-free period show, usually, all the characteristics described above. Rorschach himself mentions that epileptic subjects imply value judgments in their answers and in their preoccupation with details and symmetry of the blots.

Xxx Practically all Rorschach workers studying the records of epileptic subjects have observed the predominance of stereotypy and perseveration.

All these details need mention because interpretation of the (e) factor is based completely on the assumption that the (e) factor relates to the control and discharge of aggressive energy and, therefore, reflects those aspects of the personality which are closely bound to the development of the superego.

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Factor (e +)

The (e +) constellation results from the subject’s identification of himself with portraits supposedly expressing control over the discharge of rough, aggressive feelings. Thus, (e +) is in some ways the counterpart of (s -) as indication of a dynamically active superego, which implies that it is associated with people who are concerned with questions about “good” and “bad” in general in other words, (e +) is in some ways as indication of ethical control. More than three (e +) choices suggest a reactive, compulsive control, which is likely to accompany temporary inconsistencies in behavior.

 Individuals with strong and consistent (e +) are often moralistic, critical, and are likely to suffer guilt feelings resulting from aggressive urges which never found their way to being carried out in reality.

 The control of (e +) seems to insure that whatever antisocial urges the subject experiences will not be transmitted into motoric activity. Even though both (s -) and (e +) reactions are indications of control over aggression, they seem to function in slightly different layers of the personality. In the case of (s -), the word “control” is not even quite appropriate, rather, one may discuss a transformation of outward-directed aggression, into physically passive behaviour, with simultaneous manifestations of sublimated or introverted aggression. In topological terms one could say that the (s -) reaction indicates that a transformation has taken place within the inner-personal region corresponding to aggression, while in the case of the (e +) reaction, the control function can be localised rather on the boundary of the motoric region surrounding the personality. From the psychoanalytic point of view, both can be considered as different aspects of the superego function. When (e +) is loaded, or when there are other components in the profile indicating repression, it can be regarded as a sign of compulsion neurosis. In the Szondi test, the (e +) constellation is, again, one of the few constellations, which by itself can be interpreted as a counter indication of anti- social, criminal activity.

The (e +) constellation is rarely obtained in children. Its frequency increases gradually from puberty on, and reaches its maximum (about forty per cent of the population) in adulthood, between the ages of twenty and forty. The frequency of the (e +) constellation decreases again with old age.  In clinically symptomless adults, (e +) is usually correlated with a rather high cultural level, and is found most frequently in occupations and professions which are concerned primarily with helping others.

In pathology, the (e +) is characteristic of compulsion neurosis and conversion hysteria. The theory described above, which regards (e +) as a restrictive control on the boundary of the motoric region, is supported by these data

The (e +) is also associated relatively frequently with schizophrenics, an empirical finding, for which the psychodynamic rationale cannot easily be stated. It might be attributed to the fact that such a par excellence ego-disturbance as schizophrenia is correlated with inhibition in regard to discharging emotions freely through the motoric system. One could even hypothesis a causal relationship between the two phenomena. The fact that the (e +) constellation is most uncommon in manic- depressive manic psychosis, which is prototypical, among psychotic disturbances, of motorically active object-directed symptomatology, is in line with the “motoric” hypothesis in the interpretation of the (e) factor. In addition to throwing light on the meaning of a specific factor, the above considerations illustrate how careful study of various data of the test can contribute to the understanding of psychodynamics’  underlying various neuroses and psychoses. Because the Szondi test can be compared to an octagonal gauge which permits the psychologist to measure, through eight planes, the reactions of clinically symptomless, neurotic, psychotic, and antisocial subjects alike, it is probably the instrument most suited to make visible the deep psycho- dynamic mechanisms which form the basis of such common diagnostic labels as schizophrenia, mania, etc. Following discoveries of workers in psychoanalysis, the use of a tangible testing instrument is of the greatest importance for further research. And, of course, progress would involve the setting up of experiments, which finally can prove or disprove the hypotheses reached on the basis of the Szondi test.

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Factor (e -)

The interpretation of the (e -) factor constellation already has been implied to a great extent.

 It signifies rejection of stimulus material supposedly expressing strong control over emotional outbursts. Therefore the (e -) factor constellation is obtained from people who are likely to have aggressive outbursts. The correlation of (e -) with (s +) is obvious.

The (s+) constellation gives information about the state of tension resulting from the need for aggression felt by a subject, while the (e -) factor constellation shows how this need is handled.

The “(e -) factor state” is experienced by the subject as strong emotional tension with no positive mechanisms of control. Such a tense state is likely to result in some kind of sudden emotional release, since the (e -) factor constellation represents a state of unstable emotional equilibrium, in which people usually do not remain for long periods of time. These changes are indicated on the test by the frequency with which (e -) factor changes into (e 0). Individuals for whom the (e -) factor is characteristic are usually impulsive; ethical problems are not of primary importance to them, and generally they are characterized by a lax super- ego. (As will be seen later, this statement needs some qualification, depending on the constellation of the hy.) Invariably, a constant (e -) factor results in a general restlessness and a tendency to act out id impulses spontaneously.

The age distribution associated with the (e -) factor follows logically from the general character of this constellation. It is most frequently given by small children, and gradually decreases through puberty to the fifty year age group, from which it increases again until, near the seventy year age group, it reaches the frequency with which it is found in the young children (about forty-two per cent), This curve represents the well known fact that emotional control is a characteristic of adulthood.

The pathodiagnostic significance of the (e -) factor consists mostly in indication of the potential danger of a violent emotional outburst. Depending on the loadedness of the (e -), and on its relation to the total configuration, emotional outbursts may or may not result in antisocial acts. In children, the (e -) factor constellation is often an indication of an approaching temper tantrum.

Similarly, the approach of a real epileptic seizure is also often indicated by an increasingly loaded (e -) factorwithin the series of ten profiles, which drains suddenly immediately after seizure.

The (e -) factor constellation is a counter indication of compulsion neurosis. More frequently than it can be found in any other pathologic groups, (e -) factor is found in antisocial individuals of all kinds, from vagabonds to murderers.

The (e -) factor constellation is one of the three basic constituents of the typically antisocial syndrome, the other two being (s+) and (m -). Of course, if the syndrome is not complete, one has no right to predict antisocial behavior.

In the clinically healthy population the (e -) factor is usually found in lower occupational levels involving physical labour. In cases in which it occurs in individuals of higher professional level, it still indicates certain aggressiveness in the character.

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Factor ( e ±)

Similarly to the (s ±) the (e ± factor constellation indicates ambivalence in the subject’s way of handling aggression. This ambivalence is experienced subjectively as an emotional conflict and is likely to lead to periodic outbursts, though not usually to the antisocial outbursts associated with (e -). Individuals with (e )factor do have a strongly functioning superego, but their superego is not well integrated into the total personality. Rather, it is experienced as an independent foreign agent, that tries to exert power over the actions of the organism. It corresponds somewhat to the pseudo superego referred to by some psychoanalysts. The behaviour of such subjects might be overrighteous and at times inconsistent, leading to guilt feelings.

The fact that the most characteristic pathologic symptoms accompanying the (e ±-) factor constellation are compulsion neurosis and stuttering is in accordance with the above dynamic consideration. The (e ±) constellation is rarely found in cases of manifest psychoses of any kind. It appears that the subjectively experienced emotional ambivalence implied in this constellation is not compatible with actual psychotic states.

The (e ±) factor constellation is not characteristic for any one age group. From young childhood to the twenty-year age group, the frequency of the (e ±) factor does not show much variability, ranging from fifteen to seventeen per cent. Then there is a drop to about nine to ten per cent between the twenty and forty year age groups, followed by a gradual increase to fourteen per cent. There is a second, sharp drop in old age.

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(e 0)

The (e 0) constellation indicates that there is no tension in this area of emotional control, which means simply that emotions can be discharged readily. As in all other open factors, there is an important difference between its occurrence as a constant pattern and its occurrence as the result of a periodic, sudden draining of the (e) factor. If (e 0) is constant, steady mechanisms of discharge are available.

(e 0) by itself does not indicate, of course, whether this steady discharge is the result of healthy or neurotic mechanisms; that is, whether it indicates that small amounts of aggression are discharged readily before accumulation induces strong emotional tension, or whether a steady symptom, for example, a psychosomatic symptom formation, achieves the constant discharge. Which one of these two possibilities is responsible for the (e 0) can not be decided without consideration of the complete test profile, or preferably, consideration of the complete test series. A hint aiding differentiation between healthy and neurotic discharge lies in the formation of the (e 0) ; i.e., whether it is made up of one positive and one negative choice, one choice only, or no choice. No choice may well result from a symptom formation, since discharge so complete that there remains not even the slightest residual tension is unusual.


If the (e 0) constellation occurs as part of a changing pattern, i.e., loaded (e -) factor constellations alternating with open constellations, some kind of paroxysmal outburst was most probably taking place between the two states. This pattern is also characteristic for real epilepsy, although the change in the (e) factor alone is not enough for diagnosis. Real epilepsy is associated with (s+) and minus m constellations and a weak ego, in addition to its association with the changing (e) constellation.

The pathodiagnostic significance of the (e 0) is implied in the general description of this constellation. In addition to the states mentioned above, (e 0) is found with relatively high frequency in manic psychosis, a finding which can be understood dynamically on the basis of the motoric significance of the (e) factor, discussed above.

The (e 0) constellation is not characteristic for any particular age group. In all age groups it occurs in approximately thirty per cent of the subjects, except in old age (around seventy years) when it becomes more frequent. This most probably indicates the constant irritability without control characteristic of old people.

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The (hy) factor

The second factor within the paroxysmal vector, the (hy) factor, is closely linked to the function of the (e) factor because it also indicates the way in which the person handles his emotions. Nevertheless, the (hy) factor can be considered as an opposite to the (e) factor because the (e) factor expresses the way in which violent emotions, linked with the s factor are handled, while the (hy) factor relates more to the emotions corresponding to the sexual vector. The relationship between epilepsy and hysteria is mentioned more and more in modern psychiatry. In psychopathic hospitals, the diagnosis “hystero-epilepsy” is made rather frequently to indicate that motoric seizures resembling epilepsy are believed to be reactions to disturbing emotional experiences.

The part emotional experience plays in inducing epileptic seizures is being recognized more and more by psychiatrists. Thus the differentiation between epilepsy and hysteria often becomes a matter of arbitrary decision. it was just this similarity of hysterics to epileptics, in regard to emotional explosiveness accompanied by motoric discharge, which led Szondi to categorize hysteria as well as epilepsy in the paroxysmal vector. Since both diseases have in common a certain unpredictability of emotional manifestations, both may be formally characterized as disturbances in the sphere of emotional control.

Of course, the quantitative as well as qualitative difference, between emotional explosiveness-  corresponding to the (hy), and explosiveness corresponding to the (e) factors must be kept in mind as corresponding to the difference in the quality of  the emotions in the (h) and (s) factors respectively.     

The finer emotions, oriented toward a love object, find expression

 through the (hy) factor; and just because the content of the (hy) is this non aggressive libido, its explosiveness takes place on a quantitatively much smaller scale than that of  the (e). The explosiveness of the (hy) consists of a frequent oscillation in the manner in which affection is displayed; thus, instead of violent paroxysmal outbursts, there is an exhibitionistic discharge of smaller amounts of libido.


Within the framework of the theory of the Szondi test, we think of hysteria as depicting the following type of personality structure: either the functional barrier between the inner-personal regions, corresponding to tender emotions of love, and the region of motoric surrounding the personality, is too weak, or the emotions themselves are too strong. In either case, the result is that emotions break through to manifest themselves in visible motoric symptoms too easily.

The apparent overemotionallity of hysterics, the unpredictability of their overt emotional reactions, as well as of anxiety and even conversion symptoms, can be described as reflecting the erroneous functioning of the motoric-expressive region. In all these instances the motoric apparatus is used to express emotions in such a way that it interferes with the rationally purposeful and integrated functioning of the total personality.

Further characteristic for all the hysteric phenomena mentioned above are their exhibitionistic manifestations of emotions.

The term “exhibitionist” is used in this context in its broadest literal meaning; namely, to describe one who actually exhibits, (displays) his emotional state to the persons in his environment. In this sense, hysteria is the prototype of an exhibitionistic disturbance. Accordingly - to return to the test interpretation - reactions to the portraits of hysteric patients are presumed to reflect the intensity and quality of the “drive for exhibitionism” as it exists in the subject reacting to these portraits. Just as all other needs, (or drives) represented by the eight factors in the Szondi test, this “need for exhibitionism” is presumed to be present not only in the psychologically maladjusted, but in all individuals, since the ability to demonstrate one’s feelings - at least to a certain extent - is necessary for psychological adjustment.

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Factor (hy +)

Positive reactions to the pictures of hysteric patients indicate that the subject identifies himself with the need to exhibit emotions in a perceptible way. The extent to which this need is socialized depends on the intensity of the (hy +) as well as on the constellation of the other factors. In every case a (hy +) reaction does indicate that the subject is inclined to be demonstrative emotionally, which inclination should not be confused with the actual intensity and depth of the emotions. There is a negative correlation; namely, that superficial emotions are often those, which lead more rapidly to emotional expression than do the more serious emotions. Dembo reaches the same conclusions in regard to the dynamics of discharging emotions in her study of the experimental creation of anger. Definite and constant (hy +) constellations are the reactions of those subjects who, in spite of easy expression of emotions, can still be characterized - in colloquial terms - as having a rather shallow emotional life. It is tempting to draw a parallel of (hy +) with the proportion of Color reactions in the Rorschach test.

 In terms of the scheme of personality a (hy +) constellation indicates the weakness of the functional barrier between the emotional and the motoric regions. The threshold of translation of emotional tension into motoric behaviour is low. (hy +) individuals are able to structure their lives in ways that win them considerable amounts of attention. They enjoy playing roles, and have a definite need for audience, which need often drives them into occupations or professions particularly well suited to satisfy this exhibitionistic, narcissistic need. Professional actors, performing artists, politicians, certain types of organizers, teachers, or the followers of any profession, which permits appearance, “on stage,” can be numbered among those who have found acceptable socialized channels to satisfy the needs implicit in (hy +).

For the purpose of clinical diagnosis, the (hy +) constellation has twofold significance: it is as definite an indication of certain psychopathologic states as it is counter indication of others. Thus, immediately within the group of the various types of hysteria, the (hy +) constellation can be used as a diagnostic sign in either of two ways. It frequently occurs in conversion hysteria (in about thirty per cent) while it is practically never found in cases of anxiety hysteria, nor in hypochondriac anxiety. It is also found relatively frequently in cases of so-called hystero-epilepsy. These findings support what has been said about the relation of the (hy +) to the poorly functioning barrier between the motoric and emotional spheres.

Any form of conversion hysteria implies that the motoric (muscle) apparatus functions in an improper way, in which some parts of the muscle system are used for innervations, which have rationally (from the point of view of conscious, logical thinking) no purpose whatsoever. In conversion symptoms, such parts of the motoric system are used for the purpose of expressing unconscious emotional drives which, under normal circumstances, are used for completely different functions, such as locomotion, intake of nourishment, breathing, etc. However, due to improper innervations the organism is inhibited in the execution of these rational functions and is practically “forced” by the dynamic strength of the emotions to use the respective organs to exhibit emotions in the form of a symptom which is usually quite apparent for the outsider even though its full meaning - what the symptom is expressing in a distorted way - can be understood only by the lengthy process of psychoanalysis. In historic dynamic terms, such exhibitionistic but irrational motoric symptoms are due to the malfunction of restraining forces on the boundary of the motoric region so that the emotions are expressed in the wrong area. The frequency of the (hy +) in conversion hysteria, as well as in hystero-epileptic seizures, can be understood on the basis of this dynamic theory.

The lack of (hy +) in anxiety hysteria and in hypochondriac anxiety follows from the same considerations since anxiety states are, from this point of view, the outcome of the inability to demonstrate affects through the means of motoric discharge which leads to an inner accumulation of affects and to a subjective feeling of tension and anxiety. These are the cases in which the threshold of translation of emotional tension into motoric expression is pathologically high. More will be said about this mechanism in connection with the (h -)y constellation.


From the point of view of development, the (hy +) occurs most frequently in small children and decreases gradually around prepuberty. Its lowest frequency is reached in puberty and early adolescence. In old age there is again a sudden increase in the frequency of the (hy +), resulting in approximately the percentage (22-25 per cent) that occurs in very young children. This curve illustrates the well known fact that in early childhood and in advanced age, emotions are most readily exhibited, while in the long period between these two poles of development one is usually compelled by inner and outer urgings to exert more control in the display of personal feelings.

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Faktor (hy -)

Negative choices in the (hy) factor indicate that the subject rejects the stimulus material representing exhibitionistic tendencies; thus, (hy-)y is characteristic of those individuals who are either unwilling or unable to demonstrate their feelings in an overtly perceptible way. People who give (hy -) constellation have some quality of emotional shyness, which however does not necessarily exclude an intensive emotional life. This correlation -that the serious emotions are less likely to be expressed readily - has been mentioned in connection with the (hy +). The functional boundary between the emotional regions and the motoric sphere acts - in the case of the (h -) constellation - indeed as a barrier blocking emotions from visible manifestations. This emotional control, if it is not too rigid, can be the sign of a well-functioning superego, which has overcome the infantile need for narcissistic, exhibitionistic satisfaction and thus the person is able to live an intensive emotional life without the need to display feelings to an audience. From this description, one can already conclude that the (hy-) constellation shows a strong correlation with (e +), which is actually the case. However, if emotional control is too rigid, there follows -in psychoanalytic terms - repression of the libido, which can lead to a number of neurotic symptoms. Psychological characteristics that accompany the (hy-) constellation include a vivid phantasy life, a tendency for daydreaming, and ability for playful, “prelogical” thinking. The dynamics of all those traits can be derived from the fact that emotions are not acted out, but rather felt as an inner, subjective experience.

Here we should re-emphasize the general dynamic principle that denial of a need and indication of this denial by the minus reaction in any factor does not mean the absolute lack of that need in the personality.

On the contrary, it might mean that the need that is denied by the ego or superego is present as a potent unconscious dynamism, inhibited from overt manifestation by some censoring agent. Thus, the (hy-) constellation does not mean that the person has no need to “exhibit” himself. All these exhibitionistic needs are implied in the (hy -) as well as in the (hy +); however, whereas they are acted out in the plus constellation, they are kept latent by controlling forces in the hy minus constellation. As a matter of fact, the (hy -), more strongly than the (hy +), indicates that the above needs are of specific dynamic importance in the total structure of the personality just because overt discharge has been denied them. These apparent paradoxes in the interpretation of single constellations in the Szondi test make interpretation of the test so complex a psychological process. The interpreter must be familiar with the equally paradoxical dynamics of the unconscious, which ignores the rules of logical thinking in its use of the same symbol to signify one thing and its opposite simultaneously. The fact that the Szondi test reflects the subjects emotional reactions at this level of deeply unconscious ambivalence makes it an instrument unique among the various psvchodiagnostic procedures, but it limits the number of individuals who are able to make maximum use of the diagnostic possibilities of this instrument.

Returning to the interpretation of the (hy-) constellation:  if the constellation is loaded (four or more choices in minus direction), we interpret it as an indication that the person does have strong exhibitionistic drives which are frustrated. The more loaded the (hy -)y is, the more probable it is that exhibitionism is apparent in actual behavior in some distorted form, although the loaded minus constellation is a definite sign that whatever manifestations break through are inadequate to relieve frustration in the subject.

The (hy -) constellation is generally more frequent obtained than the plus. The psvchodiagnostic group characteristic for this reaction are homosexuality (many times only latent, but felt as dynamically strong homosexual sexual drives), anxiety hysteria, states of diffuse anxiety, phobia and hypochondriac anxiety. In children, it can occur in pseudologia  phantastica. The lowest frequency of (hy -) constellation occurs in conversion hysteria.

The dynamic relation of the (hy-) constellation to the various forms of anxiety has been mentioned in the discussion of the infrequency of these symptoms in cases of (hy +).

This relation of repression of libido to anxiety was the core of Freud’s first theory of anxiety, and fits in well with the experimental findings in the Szondi test that the common indication of anxiety is a strong

(hy -) reaction. The frequency of (hy-) in homosexuals is not quite to understand. It most probably reflects the neurotic anxiety characteristic for homosexuals. It also might be due to the fact that homosexuals actually not often dare really to show themselves.

Primary guilt feelings because of the forbidden yet dynamic incestuous drives - the original cause of homosexuality - as well as secondary guilt feelings resulting from general social disapproval, might all be reflected in the (hy-).

The fact that the (hy -) is rarely found in conversion hysteria can be understood on the basis of what has been said about the relation of conversion symptoms to

(hy +) constellations. The high threshold of expression of emotional tension through motoric symptoms in (hy -) in contrast to the low threshold in (hy +)- prevents the formation of excessive muscle innervations characteristic of conversion hysteria.

The frequency of (hy-) is fairly constant in the various age groups, except that it occurs rather rarely in very young children (three to five years), and reaches its highest frequency in prepuberty and puberty.

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Faktor (hy±)

The interpretation of this hy constellation can be deduced by combining what has been said about the plus and the minus constellations. As in all ambi-equal reactions, the characteristic (±) constellation reflects subjectively experienced conflict and tension in the individual. In this case it reflects conflict in those who cannot resolve to conceal or disclose their feelings. However, in the (hy) factor this subjective experiencing of the two opposite tendencies appears to be satisfactorily resolved more readily than it is, for example, in the (e) factor. In this respect the (hy ± )can be compared to the (s ±) pattern, even in its fields of sublimation. In both factors, various fields of artistic sublimation serve as adequate outlets for the tension implied in the ambivalent factorial reaction. And even in those (hy ±) subjects for whom art is not the main field of work, one can often find a tendency for some sort of exhibitionistic extravagance (not in the pathological meaning of the word), in the form of hobbies, mannerisms in the general conduct of life, choice of clothing, etc.

The clinical implications of the (hy±) lie mainly in the realm of neuroses. Its relatively highest frequency occurs in compulsion neurosis, most probably as a result of the basic ambivalence characteristic for compulsive subjects, and as a reflection of the frequent mannerisms of compulsive characters.

The distribution of (hy ±) throughout the various age groups is fairly even, showing some fluctuation, between the frequency values, of about fifteen to twenty per cent. Thus, the occurrence of this hy constellation is found to be generally about half the frequency of the (hy -). The one age group in which (hy±) is relatively least frequent (about ten per cent) is young adulthood, between the ages of twenty and thirty. The decrease in this age group is due to the increase in pure (hy +) and pure (hy -) patterns, indicating that subjects of this age take more definite stands in regard to the manner in which they direct their libido than do subjects in younger or older age groups.

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Factor (hy 0)

The draining of the (hy) factor means those the person’s needs to give some perceptible manifestation of his libido is being lived out - at least for the time being. Since, more than are any of the other factors, the (hy) factor is particularly prone to show variations from one test administration to the next, usually in the form of draining under the influence of momentary experiences, generalizations about its “open” constellation are particularly hard to make. And even in those cases where the (hy 0) constellation appears as a consistent feature of a series of test profiles, it is more difficult to characterize in general terms than are the same constellations in other factors because of the variety of ways exhibitionistic needs can appear in surface behavior. The one interpretation valid for all cases of open hy is that something is being acted out: whether this indicates the uninhibited acting out of libidinal feelings towards the actual love-object, or whether it indicates the acting out of compulsive ceremonies in an exhibitionistic way, cannot be decided from the (hy) factor alone. In any case, individuals giving constant open hy constellations do not exercise strong control over their emotions and are likely to show their emotional reactions to outside experiences quickly. Even within the range of “normality,” they are usually what can be called “hysteroid” individuals.


From the foregoing it follows that the (hy 0) constellation can be found in a variety of clinical groups. Its greatest percentual frequency is found in manic psychosis and in anti- social, emotionally unstable psychopathic personalities, including criminals. Freedom in acting out drives and lack of emotional control are characteristic of all these subjects. Among neurotics, the open hy is found relatively most frequently - although to lesser degree than in the psychotic and psychopathic first mentioned groups - in compulsive neurotics. The hypothesis that in these cases it is the exhibisitionistic acting out of compulsive rituals and ceremonies which drains the tension in the (hy) factor has been mentioned previously.

The (hy 0) constellation is least frequent in anxiety hysteria. It is frequent in small children, up to the beginning of the latency period, when it becomes the rarest of all the four main (hy) constellations. It becomes again more frequent in adolescence and shows a slow increase throughout the years, reaching about the same frequency in old age as it has in young children.

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P Vectorial Constellations

In the following the most important combinations of the constellations in the e and the (hy) factors will be characterized briefly. As in the case of the S vector, I shall have to limit myself to the presentation of those P vectorial constellations, which correspond to the most clearly distinguishable types of personality. Thus it is hoped that on the basis of a few “basic” P vectorial constellations the remaining variations can be deducted. The order of presentation will follow the degree to which the constellations lend themselves to clear-cut personality characterizations.

-------------------------   ----------------------------   -------------------------(e +) with (hy -)

Concurrence of the (e +) with the (hy -) forms the most controlled P vectorial constellation. The (e +), as well as the (hy -), indicates that emotions are controlled strictly, precluding any exhibitionistic display. Of the sixteen possible configurations in the P vector, that is, of all the possible combinations of the two factors in four directions, this configuration indicates the strongest superego, which is the same as saying that the (e +) and (hy -) vectorial pattern is characteristic for ethical individuals and is the most definite sign on the profile against any form of antisocial or criminal behavior. (e +) alone, as well as

 (hy -)y alone, is indication against criminality, but alone neither of them excludes it to the degree of certainty to which it is excluded when these two constellations appear as parts of the same P vectorial configuration. The (e +), (hy -) configuration is given often by religious individuals, or by those who show particularly strong interest in problems of general social welfare. Emotions are felt strongly, but are not easily expressed by subjects in this category.

If this configuration shows inflexibility by remaining unchanged within a series of ten profiles, it is a sign of an emotional control too rigid and indicates a compulsive character.

Among the various psychoses, the (e +), (hy -) con figuration is found most frequently in catatonic schizophrenia. The psychodynamics underlying this empirical finding have been mentioned in connection with the (e +) constellation. A conceivable causal connection was hypothesized between the extreme strength of the functional barrier between the emotional and the motoric regions and the development of catatonic schizophrenia. Of all the P vectorial constellations, (e +) and (hy -) represent the greatest disability to discharge emotional tensions through the motoric apparatus. Further findings that agitated forms of catatonic schizophrenia are not found in this P vectorial group support the theory.

The fact that this is the most frequent P vectorial configuration in conversion hysteria and in cases of well structured phobic anxiety. (the expression “well structured” being here used as the opposite of “free-floating”) can be understood also, on the basis of the strict superego and the difficulty in regard to free motoric discharge of  tension.

The differential diagnostic signs between catatonic schizophrenics and the two forms of neuroses mentioned above can be found in the Sch vector. While the strict control over emotional manifestations - result in a similar configuration in the P vector, the additional sign of (k +)  (autism) appears in conjunction with catatonic symptoms, whereas neurotic conversion or phobic symptoms go with minus k as indication of the basic repression in the ego. The (e +), (hy -) is a typically adult constellation and if found in children is a sign of precocious development of the superego. It is one of the most frequent P configurations in adolescents and adults up to the age of approximately sixty, after which there is a sudden drop in its frequency until, in old age, it is even less frequent (about six per cent) than it is in children.

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(e -) factor with (hy +)

The (e -), (hy +) constellation opposes the (e +), (hy -) constellation in visible configuration as well as in its psychodynamic meaning. The (e -) factor component indicates the tendency to accumulate aggressive tension without any positive mechanism of control, and the (hy +) component indicates the tendency for exhibitionistic discharge of emotions. In other words; people who generally tend to direct their emotions in an antisocial way reject portraits of epileptics with a simultaneous liking for portraits of hysterics.

In the whole test there is not a single other vectorial configuration-in none of the four vectors, with all their sixteen constellations - in which I would feel as justified to reach conclusions containing so many ethical value-judgments as I do in the case of (e +), (hy -) configuration and its opposite.

Individuals with a continuous (e -), (hy +) configuration are little concerned with the way their actions affect others, and generally - even if within socialized limits - they belong, to the type of “go-getter” whose main concern is his own egotistic advantage. These characteristics are particularly obvious if the (e -), (hy +) configuration appears concurrently with the (s+) and (d+) constellations on a profile in which there is no minus k.

The general occurrence of the (e -), (hy +) configuration is about half the frequency of the opposing (e +), (hy -) configuration. Its

pathodiagnostic significance lies in the realm of antisocial forms of behavior, whether in the form of criminality or in other forms of psychopathology. In its highest frequency it is found in murderers and other types of overtly aggressive criminals, in manic psychotics, in epileptics near seizure, and in agitated cases of general paresis. Antisocial and impulsive motoric excitability is the common dynamic characteristic of all these groups.

The (e -), (hy +) configuration is rare in neurotics, since the strength of the superego -even though unwanted in part by the neurotic person - is usually a dynamic precondition for the symptom formation of various neuroses. It might be found in asocial, hysteroid characters.

In its relatively greatest frequency this P vectorial constellation is found in old age. The only other age group, which this constellation figures as one of the four most frequent P vector configurations is early childhood, under the age of six.

This parallel in the frequencies of certain constellations in young children and in old age must have been obvious throughout our discussion. To a certain extent it can be considered as validating interpretations associated with various factor and vector constellations because of the psychodynamic consistency implied in these symmetrical distribution curves. This distribution most probably due to the fact that each factor of the test can express the test can express the presence or the lack of a controlling mechanism, either self regulating or of some other type, depending on the specific direction of the (e) factors. Further, we know from other studies of genetic psychology, as well as from clinical observation that early childhood and old age are dynamically similar in their relative lack of such controls in behavior.

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(e -) factor with (hy -)

Unlike the S vector, in which both factors forming constellations in the same direction represent fusion be two related but opposite drives, such constellations in the direction in the P vector express just the opposite; namely simultaneous existence of emotional control indicated in one factor, with the lack of control indicated in the other.

The reason for this discrepancy in the interpretation S and P vectorial configurations lies in the fact that the primary interpretations of the two factors in the S vector: the basic drives represented by the (h) and (s) photographs  - are the basic id-drives themselves.

In the P vector the stimulus material of one of the two factors, the (e), represents not the basic id-drive in its original form, but in a form representing the superego’s control over the particular drive. Accordingly, in the P vector the previous vectorial configurations represent unified ways of handling emotions, whether in a socially positive or negative way, while constellations (in P) in which both factors are in minus or both in plus directions represent Self- contradictory, conflicting ways of handling emotional drives.

In the case of the (e -), (hy -) configuration, violent emotions accumulate in potential readiness for an outburst ((e -)). However, the actual discharge of these emotions is barred, or at least delayed, by the controlling function of the (hy -), which acts as a barrier against any exhibitionistic display of emotions. As a consequence of these conflicting tendencies the whole emotional sphere is tense and is experienced subjectively as free-floating, diffuse anxiety.

The more constant this P vectorial configuration proves to be within a series of ten profiles, the more is this subjectively experienced discomfort. Actually, more frequently than not, the tension implied in the (e -), (hy -) configuration does find some outlet during the course of administration of a series of ten profiles which then is indicated by the draining, or at least relative draining, of the whole vector.

Clinically, this constellation is a well-known sign for all those diagnostic groups, which imply the presence of diffuse anxiety. Characteristic of such diffuse anxiety is the individual’s inability to project his anxiety on one specific object or one specific exigency he fears; rather, he talks vaguely about fears of death, or insanity, or other disintegrative catastrophes. Since the (e -), (hy -) configuration in the P vector appears most frequently with the (h +), (s+) configuration in the S vector, the fear most probably is concerned many times with the danger of a socially undesirable break-through of sexual and aggressive impulses. Or it might indicate the “drive anxiety” as described by Anna Freud, which means that the person feels uncomfortable and anxious from experiencing his own impulses, which does not necessarily imply that discharge of the drive would result in antisocial behavior. In such cases the patient is afraid of nothing but his own id.

In children, the constellation in the S and the P vectors described above is often indicative of masturbation anxiety and ensuing guilt-feelings. The (e -), (hy -) configuration is the most frequent P vectorial configuration of adult stutterers, another group for whom unresolved emotional tension is characteristic.

This constellation occurs often in many kinds of delinquencies, and even in severe crimes. However, in the latter there is a tendency for periodical draining in the P vector. Thus the criminal act itself could be considered as a dynamic consequence of the extreme panic-stricken tension implied in the loaded (e -), (hy -) configuration.

In other instances one might wonder whether the psychodynamic significance of committing an antisocial act is release of an existing emotional tension, or rather the creation of a situation which realistically justifies the previously existing but apparently irrational fears. According to my own experience with children referred to me from the juvenile court, the latter is often the case.

The (e -), (hy -) configuration occurs most frequently in childhood up to adolescence. It decreases in frequency until it reaches approximately the sixty year age group, then increases again. However, it does not again reach the frequency with which it appears in childhood (about twenty per cent.)

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(e +) with (hy +)

The (e +), (hy +) configuration is generally a rarely occurring P configuration, its frequency of occurrence in an average population being about one-fourth of the frequency of the (e -), (h -)y constellation. However, the distinct emotional peculiarities corresponding to this configuration justify its separate characterization.

It resembles the (e -), (hy -) P vectorial constellation in the concurrence of emotional control in one component and lack of control in the other. However, it differs in the quality of the emotional tension resulting from these contradictory tendencies in regard to the way emotions are directed, since there is a more genuine control of aggression indicated by the presence of the (e +) component. Thus in this configuration there is the tendency for emotional exhibitionism implied in the (hy +) component, the anti- social use of which is prevented by the superego ((e +)). The outcome of this constellation of forces is experienced as emotional inflation; exhibitionistic drives are let through but only in the service of socially acceptable goals.

Individuals giving this P vectorial configuration are usually overly kind and charming in an exhibitionistic way. They spend much of their time expressing and taking interest in emotions. They like to be good and helpful, and they are careful that other people notice their goodness.

The (e +), (hy +) configuration is not characteristic of any particular clinical group. It is a complex emotional pattern yielded by “hysterioid” individuals usually, however, without any definite symptom formation. It appears that the ability to act out emotional drives prevents these formations. Further, antisocial behavior seems to be prevented by the control of the (e +) component.

The distribution of the (e +), (hy +) configuration throughout the various age groups shows exactly a curve opposite to that of the (e -), (h -)y configuration. It is most frequent in adulthood and in late adolescence, less frequent in old age and least frequent in children.

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The (e ±) factor with (hy ±-) factor

The (e± , hy ±) constellation contains as components all the configurations discussed above. One could call this the most ambivalent of all emotional patterns, since it contains all the components indicative of emotional control ((e +) with (hy -) as well as those indicative of readiness for an aggressive and exhibitionistic emotional outburst (e -) factor with (hy +). This unresolved tension is subjectively experienced as an extremely uncomfortable situation. Yet, because of the existence of the controlling mechanisms in this configuration, discharge of tension through explosive outbursts is less likely to occur than it is in the case of (e -) factor with (hy -). Consequently, the present P configuration is not characteristic for delinquents or criminals, or for antisocial psychotic behavior. Generally it is among the rarest P configurations; it occurs even less frequently throughout the general population than does the (e +), (hy +) vectorial patterns. Its highest frequency occurs in adult stutterers; its second highest frequency, in compulsive neurotics. There is only one age group in which the (e ±), (hy ±) vectorial pattern figures as one of the four most frequent P patterns; and that is in seventeen to eighteen year old adolescents. In this group it most probably reflects the emotional conflict resulting from the adolescent’s search for the limits to which drives should be expressed or inhibited, a characteristic problem of this age.

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(e 0) with (hy0)

The draining of both factors in the P vector indicates momentary lack of tension in the area of emotional control. It is even more difficult than it is in cases of other constellations to describe an (e 0), (hy 0) configuration alone, since usually it occurs within a series as the result of a sudden emotional outburst. However, in those cases in which the (e 0), (hy 0) is a consistent constellation within a series of ten profiles, it has to be interpreted as a sign that emotions are lived out without difficulty. The boundary functioning on the edge of the emotional sphere does not function as a barrier in subjects yielding a steady (e 0), (hy 0) vectorial pattern, but permits emotions to drift through easily. Subjects in this P vectorial category are likely to react to everyday experiences in an “emotional” way, expressing emotional reactions through gestures, intonation of voice, etc., quickly. They may be easily irritated without, however, letting anger accumulate to a high pitch. Their lack of ability to control emotions, even in situations in which control is required, they often experience subjectively as a feeling of helplessness. Moreover, the flood of emotions resulting from the laxity of the boundary around emotional regions may handicap sustained intellectual concentration.

The (e 0), open hy configuration is frequent in both extremes of manic-depressive psychoses, but it is most frequent in the manic stage. It also has been found rather frequently in early childhood stuttering. Among criminals, this constellation appears twice as frequently as it does throughout the average population, of whom five per cent yield (e 0) with open hy.

This P vectorial constellation is distributed fairly evenly throughout the age groups, occurring with relatively highest frequency in old age.

 (The end of Deri´s description of the Paroxysmal Vector)






© 1996-2002 Leo Berlips, JP Berlips & Jens Berlips, Slavick Shibayev