On This Day … 15 July [2022]

Events

  • 1910 – In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.

People (Births)

  • 1904 – Rudolf Arnheim, German-American psychologist and author (d. 2007).
  • 1918 – Brenda Milner, English-Canadian neuropsychologist and academic.

People (Deaths)

  • 1940 – Eugen Bleuler, Swiss psychiatrist and physician (b. 1857).

Emil Kraepelin

Emil Wilhelm Georg Magnus Kraepelin (15 February 1856 to 07 October 1926) was a German psychiatrist.

H.J. Eysenck’s Encyclopaedia of Psychology identifies him as the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics.

Kraepelin believed the chief origin of psychiatric disease to be biological and genetic malfunction. His theories dominated psychiatry at the start of the 20th century and, despite the later psychodynamic influence of Sigmund Freud and his disciples, enjoyed a revival at century’s end. While he proclaimed his own high clinical standards of gathering information “by means of expert analysis of individual cases”, he also drew on reported observations of officials not trained in psychiatry.

His textbooks do not contain detailed case histories of individuals but mosaic-like compilations of typical statements and behaviours from patients with a specific diagnosis. He has been described as “a scientific manager” and “a political operator”, who developed “a large-scale, clinically oriented, epidemiological research programme”.

Alois Alzheimer

Alois Alzheimer (14 June 1864 to 19 December 1915) was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist and a colleague of Emil Kraepelin. Alzheimer is credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which Kraepelin would later identify as Alzheimer’s disease.

Rudolf Arnheim

Rudolf Arnheim (15 July 1904 to 09 June 2007) was a German-born writer, art and film theorist, and perceptual psychologist.

He learned Gestalt psychology from studying under Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler at the University of Berlin and applied it to art. His magnum opus was his book Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (1954). Other major books by Arnheim have included Visual Thinking (1969), and The Power of the Centre: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts (1982). Art and Visual Perception was revised, enlarged and published as a new version in 1974, and it has been translated into fourteen languages. He lived in Germany, Italy, England, and America where he taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. He has greatly influenced art history and psychology in America.

In Art and Visual Perception, Arnheim tries to use science to better understand art. In his later book Visual Thinking (1969), Arnheim critiqued the assumption that language goes before perception. For Arnheim, the only access to reality we have is through our senses. Arnheim argued that perception is strongly identified with thinking, and that artistic expression is another way of reasoning. In The Power of the Centre, Arnheim addressed the interaction of art and architecture on concentric and grid spatial patterns. He argued that form and content are indivisible, and that the patterns created by artists reveal the nature of human experience.

Brenda Milner

Brenda Milner CC GOQ FRS FRSC (née Langford; 15 July 1918) is a British-Canadian neuropsychologist who has contributed extensively to the research literature on various topics in the field of clinical neuropsychology. Milner is a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and a professor of Psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute. As of 2005, she holds more than 20 honorary degrees and continues to work in her nineties. Her current work covers many aspects of neuropsychology including her lifelong interest in the involvement of the temporal lobes in episodic memory. She is sometimes referred to as “the founder of neuropsychology” and has proven to be an essential key in its development. She received the Balzan Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience, in 2009, and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, together with John O’Keefe, and Marcus E. Raichle, in 2014. She turned 100 in July 2018 and at the time was still overseeing the work of researchers.

Eugen Bleuler

Paul Eugen Bleuler (30 April 1857 to 15 July 1939) was a Swiss psychiatrist and humanist most notable for his contributions to the understanding of mental illness.

He coined several psychiatric terms including “schizophrenia”, “schizoid”, “autism”, depth psychology and what Sigmund Freud called “Bleuler’s happily chosen term ambivalence”.

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