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On Endogenous and Exogenous Factors in Character Formation

  • George A. Auden (a1)

In his book on Psychological Principles the late Prof. James Ward defines “character” as “nothing but Nature modified by circumstance”, Apart, however, from the fact that much depends upon the meaning which we attach to the terms here employed, this generalization raises many questions which are worthy of consideration, and a discussion of its validity is not without interest.

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(1) P. 406.

(2) Hoffing, , Psychology, p. 349.

(3) áνθρωoχ ϕνσ∊i. Aristotle, Politics, i, 2.

(4) Julius Cœsar, Act i, scene 2, line 201.

(5) In Teutonic folklore the term “Kobbold “(which is probably cognate with “goblin”) originally meant a hut sprite. It became associated with the idea of dwarfs or little-men who mine for precious metals in the mountains. Agricola (De Animantibus subterraneis) thus describes them: “They are called little miners, because of their dwarfish stature, which is about two feet. They are venerable-looking, and are clothed like miners…. This kind does not often trouble the miners, but they idle about the shafts and tunnels and really do nothing. Sometimes they throw pebbles at the workmen, but they rarely injure them unless the workmen first ridicule or curse them…. They are especially active in the workings where metal has recently been found, or where there are hopes of its discovery.” The metal cobalt derives its name from this superstition. The word Kobbold is used by Luther to translate the Hebrew “Lilith “in Isaiah xxxiv, 14 (A.V. “night-monsters”).

(6) Lazar, , Zeitschr. f. Kinderheilkunde, 1913, p. 523. Dr. Lazar mentioned in conversation that in five cases of boy-murderers which he had investigated, the culprit had belonged in every case to the Kobbold type. It is of interest in this connection to read a contemporary description of the murderer Wainewright, “a man with a massive head in which the animal propensities were largely developed. His eyes were deeply set in his head; he had a square solid jaw … as to moral character he was a man of the lowest stamp.” Havelock Ellis (The Criminal, p. 16) adds, “He seems to have been born of a failing and degenerate stock.” Yet Wainewright wrote criticisms and essays which were considered sufficiently good to be edited by Hazlitt! The description of the physical configuration of the poisoner, Dr. Neill Cream, who may be taken as a good example of the so-called “moral imbecile,” closely conforms to the Kobbold type.

(7) For a discussion of this type cf. Lazar, , Zeitschr. f. Kinderheilkunde, 1920, p. 113.

(8) Heredity and Eugenics, p. 114.

(9) Proc. Soc. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1921.

(10) P. 197, op. cit.

(11) Cf. Jensen, , Feebleness of Growth and Congenital Dwarfism, 1921.

(12) Shuttleworth, (Brit. Med. Journ., September 11, 1909), states that of 120 cases in which the age of the parents is recorded, 41 were over 40 years of age and only 14 were under 30 years. Of 107 Mongols, 68 were stated to be last born (63 per cent.), and at Earlswood, 46 per cent.

(13) Psyche, iii, p. 240.

(14) Lecture to London County Council, June 26, 1912.

(15) Berman, , The Glands regulating Personality, 1922.

(16) Whetham, , The Family and the Nation, p. 118.

(17) Ethics, Book vi.

(18) Tredgold, , Mental Deficiency, p. 121.

(19) Myers, , Human Personality, pp. 6467 (1907 edition).

(20) Spearman, , Psychological Review, xxi, No. 2; also Presidential Address, Psych. Sect. Brit. Association, 1925. Cf. also Burt, , “Educational Abilities” (L.C.C. Report), 1921.

(21) Quoted by Macdougall, , The Group Mind, p. 18.

(22) Rivers, , Instinct and the Unconscious, 1921.

(23) Myers, , Brit. Assoc., Psychol. Sect., Presidential Address, 1922, p. 11.

(24) Mott has produced evidence that in schizophrenia (dementia præcox) there are clearly marked cellular changes in the sex-glands.

(25) Parsons, , “Bowman Lecture,” Lancet, July 18, 1925.

(26) Psychological Principles, p. 363.

(27) Emergent Evolution, pp. 48–9.

(28) Thurstone, , The Nature of Intelligence, 1924.

(29) Integration of the Nervous System, p. 325.

(30) This is still the stage of development of language in various primitive races. Thus Miss Kingsley describes a Central African tribe, the members of which found it difficult to communicate with one another in the dark, when gestures could not be appreciated.

(31) Cf. Myers, , Journal of Psychology, December, 1921.

(32) Studies in Neurology, p. 669.

(33) Cf. Golla, , Croonian Lectures, 1921.

(34) Introductory Lectures, p. 299.

(35) For the substance of this section I am indebted to Prof. Lloyd Morgan, and for many helpful suggestions throughout this paper.

(36) Rivers, , Conflict and Dream, p. 95.

(37) Cf. Smith, Hamblin, Psychology of the Criminal; Burt, The Young Delinquent.

(38) Spenser, .

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On Endogenous and Exogenous Factors in Character Formation

  • George A. Auden (a1)
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