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Sir Cedric Stanton Hicks (1892-1976) and William Andrew Dibden (1914-1993)
“Research in Nervousness” Project

MSS 0159

“Research in Nervousness” volunteer research project. University of Adelaide, Dept of Physiology, under the direction of Sir Stanton Hicks, in association with William Dibden.

Scope: 60 nervous male volunteers (including 30 whose nervousness was believed to be due to war service) were recruited for medical research tests of emotional reactions to sudden, loud noises. Reactions were recorded on film graphs regarding breathing changes, alteration in carbon dioxide content of the lungs, rate of heart beat and muscular tremors. Grants were obtained from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

These papers were transferred from the Medical Record Department at Glenside Hospital in March 2014.

Other papers of Hicks are listed at MSS 572.9942 H631p and Dibden at MSS 0073.

Contents listing

NOTE: Access will only be granted by the Special Collections Manager upon presentation of written permission from the Head or Deputy Head of the Discipline of Psychiatry and with ethics approval.

Folder 1. Research in Nervousness: accepted volunteers’ documentation

  • Includes names and personal / family / treatment / illness details of volunteers
  • Also completed questionnaires and some correspondence from Dibden

Folder 2. Research in Nervousness: returned questionnaires

  • Copies of form letter from Stanton Hicks and blank questionnaire form

Folder 3. Research in Nervousness: rejected volunteers

  • Includes letters from people volunteering to be part of the study, rejection letters from Stanton Hicks, and letters from volunteers grouped into rejected categories (ie women, too old, remote from Adelaide)

Folder 4. Copies of newspaper article “Wanted: 60 nervous men – for tests” The Advertiser December 12 1946 p. 8

Folder 5. Photographs of the equipment

“Diary 1943” inscribed by Dibden, 1944.  Includes records of

  • Classification of named patients and controls, 1944
  • 1946 instructions to patients, reactions of individual named patients
  • Graphs and film strips
  • “1944 Diary” also inscribed by Dibden, 1944. Includes
  • Typescript “The Hypothesis”
  • A psychiatric report on a named patient
  • Experimental reactions of named patients
  • Notes etc on equipment
  • General medical notes

Graph recordings

  • Photographs of experimental graph recordings – individual patients indicated by initials (26 packets)
  • 55 large cardboard sheets (various sizes) with pasted on film strips. Patients identified by initials OVERSIZE
  • Printed film reels and strips of results, mostly unidentified

7 non-commercial 12-inch records (3 on steel).
Some labelled:

  • War noises
  • Shropshire Lad
  • Industrial noises rec. 5/4/1944
  • Sound effects for Dr Dibden rec. at Adelaide 24/4/1944

Cheryl Hoskin
November 2020



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