Neuropsychology explores the relationships between the brain and behavior. An officially recognized branch of psychology; it is, as Giovanni Berlucchi notes, "the discipline which investigates the relations between brain processes and mechanisms on one hand, and cognition and behavioral control on the other".
Technological advances in the field, most notably the ability to map and assess the functional role of previously indistinguishable regions of the brain have opened exciting new windows of understanding in relation to the neurological basis of human thought, emotion and behavior.
The aim of the information presented below, is firstly to introduce you to the pioneering work and historical landmarks which laid the foundations of neuropsychology becoming a distinct field of scientific inquiry; and secondly, to provide you with quality information and resources so that you can learn more about this fascinating topic area.
On the 18th April 1861, French physician, anatomist and surgeon Pierre Paul Broca performed an autopsy on Louis Victor Leborgne. More commonly known as 'Tan', as this was just about the only word he could say, Leborgne would become known as one of the most important patients in the history of neuropsychology.
Having autopsied Leborgne's brain, Broca reported that he had discovered an abnormality in the left frontal lobe and concluded that this must be the patient's cortical speech production center; a part of the brain recognized today as 'Broca's area.'
Born on the 22nd July 1904, Donald Olding Hebb was a profoundly influential figure within the field of neuropsychology. Hebb's landmark text 'The Organization of Behavior' published in 1949 introduced many pioneering neuropsychological concepts such as the 'dual trace mechanism' which inspired a raft of groundbreaking research into brain function mechanisms of learning and memory.
Among his many professional career highlights, Hebb served as president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1960 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1966.
Chief of the Section on Cognitive Neuroscience in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology, U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, Mortimer Mishkin is renowned for his groundbreaking work on understanding the functional organization of the primate brain; including the discovery of the role of the inferior temporal cortex in vision and the finding that the brain uses divergent pathways to process two different types of memory, cognitive memory (new information) and behavioral memory (skills & habits).
Mortimer Mishkin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1984, received the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1985 and was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Science from President Barak Obama in a ceremony at the White House in November 2010.
A world renowned pioneer in the field of neuropsychology, Brenda Milner began her illustrious career in the early 1950's exploring the effects of temporal lobe damage in humans, for her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Donald Hebb.
In 1957 along with William Scoville, Milner published 'Loss of Recent Memory After Bilateral Hippocampal Lesions.' This classic article included the findings of a series of experiments conducted with H.M (Henry Molaison) who famously was unable to commit new events to long-term memory following radical surgery designed to control his severe epileptic seizures. This groundbreaking research found that HM was able to steadily improve his performance on tests which he had no recollection of ever taking, a stunning discovery which provided compelling evidence that the brain is not as previously thought, governed by a solitary memory system. This landmark paper would go on to be one of the most cited publications in the history of neuroscience.
Neuropsychologia is an international interdisciplinary journal devoted to experimental and theoretical contributions that advance understanding of human cognition and behavior from a neuroscience perspective.
Launched in June 1963, Neuropsychologia was instrumental is establishing neuropsychology as an independent field of scientific inquiry and research. Still going strong today, the journal features studies that directly link brain function with cognitive processes, including perception, attention and consciousness, action and motor control, executive functions and cognitive control, memory, language, and emotion and social cognition.
CLICK HERE to read the latest Open Access articles published in Neuropsychologia.
Informative podcast episode presented by Dr. John Bellone and Dr. Ryan Van Patten, the content of which includes:
CLICK HERE to access all of the Navigating Neuropsychology podcast shows.
Produced by the Society for Neuroscience, Brain Facts is a 95-page primer on the brain and nervous system, the latest edition of which includes information on brain development, learning and memory, language, neurological and psychiatric illnesses, potential therapies, and more.
CLICK HERE to download this excellent resource for free.
Neural Plasticity publishes research and review articles from an entire range of relevant disciplines, including basic neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, biological psychology, and biological psychiatry.
CLICK HERE for free full-text access to the 1500+ articles published to date.
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How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy. Excellent article on pursuing happiness, by renowned psychotherapist and author, Ahron Friedberg, M.D.
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Learn all about 'abnormal psychology,' including an important discussion on whether the term abnormal psychology is actually fit for purpose.
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Child psychology information and resources.