The Journal of the History of the Neurosciences published a special double issue on the history of the Russian neurosciences at the beginning of 2007. Of special interest to historians of psychology will be the articles on Ivan Pavlov, Vladimir Bekhterev, and A. R. Luria. Also intriguing is an article by Irina Sirotkina entitled “Mental Hygiene for Geniuses: Psychiatry in the Early Soviet Years.” (Abstracts below.)
- Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936)
Vladimir O. Samoilov
This article contains a brief description of the scientific biography of the first Noble Prize laureate in the area of Neurosciences, I.P. Pavlov. Special attention is paid to the concept of neurism, which infused Pavlov’s research on circulation, digestion, and higher nervous activity. The sources of Pavlov’s interest in studying psychological processes and phases of “hard intellectual struggle” in the development of a new chapter of physiology are traced to their beginnings.
- Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev
M. A. Akimenko
V.M. Bekhterev (1857-1927) was an outstanding Russian neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, morphologist, physiologist, and public figure, who authored over 1000 scientific publications and speeches. At the beginning of the twentieth century he created a new multidimensional multidisciplinary scientific branch – psychoneurology, which included the objective knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, psychology, psychiatry, neurology, philosophy, sociology, pedagogy, and other disciplines. Psychoneurology in V.M. Bekhterev’s understanding has furthered the introduction into the idea of a “biosocial” essence of man of a third – psychological – component, thus having created a “biopsychosocial” model in the interpretation of human diseases.
- A.R. Luria and the History of Russian Neuropsychology
J. M. Glozman
This paper analyzes Russian contributions to neuropsychology from the eighteenth up to the twenty-first century. Various approaches to the problem of the organization and localization of mental functions in the Pre-Lurian and Luria’s periods are discussed. Comparisons with European and North American contributions and with contributions from subsequent Russian literature (post-Lurian period) are presented to demonstrate their interconnections in shaping the course of Russian neuropsychology and the main tendencies in its development.
- Mental Hygiene for Geniuses: Psychiatry in the Early Soviet Years
In this paper, I deal with one episode from the early history of Soviet psychiatry, the project of the Institute of Genius. Though the project never materialized, the idea was characteristic of the very beginning of the Soviet era, when the wildest experiments in the human sciences seemed possible. The author of the project, the psychiatrist Grigorii Vladimirovich Segalin (1878-1960), followed in the steps of another prominent psychiatrist, the architect of the Soviet mental health care system, Lev Markovich Rozenshtein (1884-1934). Rozenshtein, a proponent of social medicine, introduced a new system of psychiatric help that, by contrast with the prerevolutionary one, was preventive and based on outpatient units – neuropsychiatric dispensaries. In a similar way, Segalin planned dispensaries for geniuses, where these otherwise “socially ill adapted” people would receive professional help and care. Having failed to establish such an institution, he founded a journal, the Clinical Archive of Genius and Talent (of Europathology),1 where he and his like-minded colleagues discussed the supposed pathological origins of talent and published pathographies of outstanding figures. The article traces Segalin’s project till its end in the early 1930s.
See also, from Classics in the History of Psychology:
- Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex [Lectures I-XXIII] (G. V. Anrep, Trans.). (Original work published 1927).