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Sejunction hypothesis by Marcelo Cetkovich

“Sejuncton hypothesis” (Franzek 1990; Pichot 1983; Shorter2005), also referred to as “sejuncton theory” (Pichot 1983; Shorter 2005), postulates that  psychopathological symptoms result from interruption (“sejunction”) of associative connections in the brain. It was put forward by Carl Wernicke, in 1900, in  the 12th lecture of his Textbook of Clinical Lectures in Psychiatry (Wernicke 1900). The “hypothesis” is conceptually derived. It is built on Wernicke’s adoption of Griesinger’s “psychic reflex” as the basis of mental activity  and his notion that the nature of psychopathology is determined by the site of an assumed severance in the path of the “psychic reflex”. (Griesinger 1843; Wernicke 1906).




Franzek E. Influence of Carl Wernicke on Karl Leonhard’s nosology. Psychopathology 1990; 23: 277-81

Griesinger W. Ueber psychische Reflexactionen. Archiv fuer Physiologische Heilkunde. 1843; 2: 76-112.

Pichot P. A Cetury of Psychiatry. Paris: Roger de Costa; 1893, p. 56.

Shorter E. A HistoricalDictionary of Psychiatry. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press; 2005, p.300. 

Wernicke C. Grundriss der Psychiatrie in klinische Vorlesungen. Leipzig: Thieme; 1900, p.112.

Wernicke C. Grundriss der Psychiatrie in klinische Vorlesungen. 2 Auflage. Leipzig: Thieme; 1900, p. 109.


Marcelo Cetkovich

October 1, 2015