Psychology is about People by H. J. Eysenck (Allen Lane, The PenguinPress1972 £3.50). The Masks of Hate by David Holbrook (Pergamon Press 1972 £3.75). Experimentation with Human Subjects edited by P. A. Freund (George Allen & Unwin £4.50) A HEREN TS of the JudaeoaChristian Faith have had the Bible and the teaching authority of the Church for guidance and understanding of human behaviour. Until the era of science there was no serious alternative source of information.
In the last 300 years, and particularly in our own day, knowledge about human beings is expanding at an unprecedented rate. The current challenge is keeping up to date and—even more important — evaluating the new scientific data against the eternal values revealed by God.
The three books under consideration both inform and evaluate developments in two important areas. psychological and medical experimentation.
Professor Eysenck is professor of psychology at the London University Institute of Psychiatry. He is a scientist of international status and a prolific writer of both serious and popular works. He thrives on controversy, and is well known for his severe attack on psychoanalysis, and in particular on Freud.
His studies of the last 25 years have concentrated on establishing two critical dimensions of the human personality —that of neuroticism or emotionalism and that of extroversion-introversion. His research has aimed to relate these characteristics with other aspects of human behaviour such as crime, politicai adherence and, recently, sexuality.
'the book Psychology is about People familiarises the reader with these basic concepts. As always, the material is presented clearly and the lay reader can easily grasp the information. Eysenck has a marked similarity to Freud, even though he would not thank me for saying so. His style of writing is as persuasive as the genius he attacks so frequently, and both are dangerous because so convincing.
In one sense David Holbrook would join with Eysenck in attacking some aspects of Freudian theory. In The Masks of Hate Holbrook returns to a familiar theme. He is seriously concerned by the distortion of human values arising out of psychoanalytic thinking which places aggression, hatred and sexuality as seductive goals in the name of psychological progress.
The distinction between love and sex, hatred and compassion are issues with which no one can disagree. And yet Holbrook's book like his recent one. "Sex and Dehumanisation." is far from satisfactory.
There is much repetition, the psychological ideas are not clear and he is obsessed with the dangers Which are illustrated by reference to literary works of Ian Fleming, iris Murdoch and others.
Experiments in Nazi Germany leave no doubt as to what inhumanities' can be perpetrated in the name of science, It is thus most encouraging and reassuring to read the American symposium Experimentation with Human Subjects.
The contributors are some of the most famous names in mediome, law, sociology and anthropology, and the lay reader will certainly receive a most detailed account of the complexity of the subject and the extensive care and thought that is being given to protect the interests of the patient.
Catholics can take a special pride because frequent reference is made to the words (if Pius XII in the crucial matter of the prolongation of life.
(Dr.) J. Dominian