The 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!)