Visualizing the History of Neuroscience

Amy IoneThe latest issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 17(3), is wholly devoted to the use of visual images and visualization in the long history of brain studies. Guest editor Amy Ione, in an introduction also made freely available at her blog, explains the contribution she intends it to make:

In the history of the neurosciences, physical images and cognitive visualization offer two frames of reference for thinking about the historical development of the field. The images of neurological illustration, for example, constitute a sourcebook on early medical theories. We can also identify a body of images that articulate how cultural beliefs influenced conclusions about behavior and learning as they relate to anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and our nervous system. More recently, the enthusiasm generated by brain imaging technologies has highlighted the role of visual images in our efforts to capture the form and function of the brain. In light of the many precursors that show our urge to know the brain has long had a visual component, it seems that the time is ripe to reexamine the historical role of visual images and visualization techniques in enhancing our understanding of the brain and human behavior. The eight articles that comprise this compendium offer a small step in this direction.

For all those who teach the history of psychology, this special issue offers a treasure trove of imagery. My only regret is that — even in the electronic edition — the graphics are all presented in black and white. For such an important collection as this, it is truly a shame that the publisher failed to provide a colour edition even if only for the web. (The image of the journal’s cover, appended to the front of every article, is the only colour in the entire issue!)

About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

7 thoughts on “Visualizing the History of Neuroscience

  1. Indeed, with the advance of free access on several Biblioteques, it´s a shame this proliferation of pay per view journals.

  2. Jeremy, Thanks for the post on the special issue. Below is some info on how to find out about obtaining copies. I’ll also ask the contributors to the Visual Images and Visualization special issue if they have their papers online. If they do, I will post the links. Anyone who wants to contact me personally about the issue, please feel free to send an email.

    Yes, it is too bad there are no color images. But a small journal like JHN just can’t afford them.

    I do not know if single issues are available. I you are interested in inquiring, I would contact:

    Customer Service Manager
    Taylor & Francis, Inc.
    Customer Service
    325 Chestnut Street
    Suite 800
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
    Tel: (215) 625-8900, ext. 216
    Toll-free: 1-800-354-1420, ext. 216
    Fax: (215) 625-8914


    Veronica Sydnor
    Journals Marketing Manager
    Taylor & Francis, Inc.
    325 Chestnut Street, Suite 800
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
    Tel: (215) 625-8900, ext. 214
    Fax: (215) 625-2940

    Thanks for your interest, Amy

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