21 January 2019

21st January 1885 - psychopath first appeared in print

21st January 1885 - On this day, the term psychopath first appeared in print in its modern meaning in an article in the Pall Mall Gazette.

Reporting on the trial of a Russian woman in a child murder case, the Gazette points to the testimony of M. Balinsky who informed the jury that the accused was suffering from 'psychopathy'.

The article explains this new malady as described by Balinsky ... 'an individual whose every moral faculty appears to be in the normal equilibrium. He thinks logically, he distinguishes good from evil, and he acts according to reason. But of all moral notions he is entirely devoid. Beside his own person and his own interests, nothing is sacred to the psychopath.'

Thankyou to On This Day in Psychology by David Webb (an Ebook from Amazon) for the date. The quote is from The British Newspaper Archive.

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