A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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like manner the absence of musical ability in families has been citea as illustrative of hereditary influence. Some unusual combination of the genes may explain the early age at which musical talent appears. Beethoven gave his first concert at seven ; Chopin composed for the piano at eight, and Haydn at six ; Mendelssohn played with extraordinary ability in his eighth year ; while Mozart, the classic example of the musical prodigy, wrote at the age of nine a symphony which has an unquestioned place in musical literature.
When evidence of hereditary influence is sought in such well-known studies as that of the Kallikak family,81 almost insurmountable difficulties arise. Adequate information regarding several generations of a mentally defective family is probably not available. In any case, with such a high percentage of paupers, vagabonds and alcoholics in addition to feeble-minded, the early environmental influences in this family must have been important determinants of the family trend. Martin Kallikak, a soldier of the American Revolution, had an illegitimate son by a feeble-minded girl, from whom 480 descendants were traced. Of these 143 were described as feebleminded, 292 of uncertain intelligence, 36 illegitimate, ^^ prostitutes, 24 alcoholics, 3 epileptics and 3 criminals, while only 46 were known to be normal individuals. Later, Kallikak married a normal girl of good family, from which union 496 descendants have been traced, thereby offering something of a control. Of the second line of descent only 1 was feeble-minded, 1 sexually loose, 2 alcoholic and 1 had ' religious mania ', the remaining 491 being normal, many of them successful business men and eminent members of the professions.
Studies of this type prove that almost any kind of defect may run in families, but why they were ever considered as evidence concerning heredity puzzles the