The October issue of the Journal of the History of Neurosciences (JHN) has just been released online. The issue features four original articles, as well as a piece of neuroscience history trivia. Among the topics covered in this issue of JHN are the public dissemination of knowledge of the electric eel and the relation of such knowledge to understanding of “nerve action”, the interactions – or lack thereof – of contemporary Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Jean-Martin Charcot, and debates over localization of cerebral function in early electrical stimulation studies. Titles, authors, and abstracts from this issue of the JHN are given below.
“The Role of The Gentleman’s Magazine in the Dissemination of Knowledge About Electric Fish in the Eighteenth Century” by Stanley Finger and Ian Ferguson, both of the Department of Psychology, at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri. The abstract reads:
Although torpedoes and Malopterurus, a Nile catfish, had been described and even used medically in antiquity, their discharges were poorly understood before the second half of the eighteenth century. It was then that their actions, along with those of certain South American “eels,” became firmly associated with electricity. The realization that an animal could produce electricity marked a turning point in the history of neurophysiology, Continue reading New Issue: JHN
The latest issue of the British Psychological Society’s flagship journal, The Psychologist, has just come out and it is freely available on-line in its entirety.
Of particular interest to historians will be Richard Howard’s piece on the French inventor of the intelligence test (among other things), Alfred Binet. Dr. Howard, who is a Reader in Personality Disorders in the Psychiatry Division at Nottingham University, emphasizes the differences between the value Binet saw in his own test and the uses to which it was put by Lewis Terman and other in the US. He also covers Binet’s wide range of interests prior to the intelligence test, from his work on hysteria and suggestibility in Jean-Martin Charcot’s clinic, to his studies of the unreliability of eyewitnesses in law courts, to his doctorate in insect physiology.
The perennially great blog Mind Hacks has just published a review of a book entitled The Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriere, authored by Georges Didi-Huberman (MIT, 2004). (The French original of the book was published in 1982.)
The review begins:
Invention of Hysteria which is about how the use of photography by the 19th century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot helped shape the our concepts of ‘hysteria‘ – a disorder where psychological disturbances manifest themselves as what seem like neurological symptoms.
On Google Book Search, I found the following publisher’s blurb:
In this classic of French cultural studies, Georges Didi-Huberman traces the intimate and reciprocal relationship between the disciplines of psychiatry and photography in the late nineteenth century. Focusing on the immense photographic output of the Salpetriere hospital, Continue reading Give a Psychiatrist a Camera and…