Education

Writer’s Block Inspires an Article About Nothing


Writer's Block

In 1974, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis published a paper entitled, “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block.”

Aside from the title and a footnote, the article by Dennis Upper consists of no other content. It is recognized as the shortest published academic article.

The sole footnote states that portions of the paper were not presented at the 81st Annual American Psychological Association Convention and that reprints are available from the author.

A review also noted,

I have studied this manuscript very carefully with lemon juice and X-rays and have not detected a single flaw in either design or writing style. I suggest it be published without revision. Clearly it is the most concise manuscript I have ever seen-yet it contains sufficient detail to allow other investigators to replicate Dr. Upper’s failure. In comparison with the other manuscripts I get from you containing all that complicated detail, this one was a pleasure to examine. Surely we can find a place for this paper in the Journal-perhaps on the edge of a blank page.”

Read the “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block.'”


Read the scholarly article about the weird, wonderful ways of the Nacirema People.

Read fun facts about authors.

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