On This Day … 17 December [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1930 – Dorothy Rowe, Australian psychologist and author (d. 2019).
  • 1931 – James McGaugh, American neurobiologist and psychologist.

Dorothy Rowe

Dr. Dorothy Rowe (née Conn; 17 December 1930 to 25 March 2019) was an Australian psychologist and author, whose area of interest was depression. Born; Newcastle, NSW. Died Sydney, NSW.

Rowe came to England in her forties, working at Sheffield University and was the head of Lincolnshire Department of Clinical Psychology. In addition to her published works on depression, she was a regular columnist in the UK.

She spent her time working with depressed patients and, through listening to their stories, came to reject the medical model of mental illness, instead working within personal construct theory. She believed that depression is a result of beliefs which do not enable a person to live comfortably with themselves or the world. Most notably it is the belief in a “Just World” (that the bad are punished and the good rewarded) that exacerbates feelings of fear and anxiety if disaster strikes. Part of recovering is accepting that the external world is unpredictable and that we control relatively little of it.

In July 1989 Rowe made an extended appearance on the British television discussion programme After Dark alongside, among others, Steven Rose, Frank Cioffi, The Bishop of Durham and Michael Bentine.

The BBC were required to apologise to Dorothy Rowe in 2009 after the production editing of her radio interview misrepresented her views on the impact of religion in providing structure to people’s lives.

James McGaugh

James L. McGaugh (born 17 December 1931) is an American neurobiologist and author working in the field of learning and memory. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour at the University of California, Irvine and a fellow and founding director of the Centre for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

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