Prof. Perry Fuchs, Psychology, was invited by the Library to choose an item to add to the Library's collection on the occasion of their Promotion to Professor.
Prof. Fuchs chose Measurement of Subjective Responses: Quantitative Effects of Drugs by Henry K. Beecher, New York: Oxford University Press, 1959.
Prof. Fuchs's remarks on this item:
"Henry Beecher (1904-1976), Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital, is well-known for his study of battle-wounded soldiers. He noted that many soldiers experienced relatively less pain than would be expected based on the severity of their wounds. Beecher concluded ‘There is no simple, direct relationship between the wound per se and the pain experienced. The pain is in very large part determined by other factors, and of great importance here is the significance of the wound, i.e. reaction to the wound.’ (p. 165). Beecher believed that pain has two components: the ‘original sensation’ and the ‘psychic processing’ of that sensation. Much of his work focused on the cognitive (i.e. psychic process) process of pain and drug action, arguing that therapeutic research should center on modification of the psychic reaction. Dr. Beecher’s work played an important role in the development of the Gate Control Theory of pain, proposed by Ronald Melzack (Professor Emeritus, McGill University and my previous post-doctoral mentor – 1994-1996) and Patrick Wall in 1965 as well as a subsequent book chapter by Kenneth Casey and Ronald Melzack in 1967 in which the sensory/discriminative, affective/motivational, and cognitive components of pain were more thoroughly described. The importance of Dr. Beecher’s work, and the subsequent mentorship provided to me by Dr. Ronald Melzack, is an important factor in my overall research program. My research focus, which explores the underlying neural systems involved in processing the affective/motivational and cognitive components of pain processing, is best summarized by a quote from Dr. Melzack (influenced by the work of Dr. Beecher) in which he states that pain ‘becomes overwhelming, demands immediate attention, and disrupts ongoing behavior and thought. It motivates or drives the organism into activity aimed at stopping the pain as quickly as possible. To consider only the sensory features of pain, and ignore its affective and motivational properties, is to look at only part of the problem.’"