Module 1.2: The Recent History of Neuropsychology
Cataloguing the Effects of Lesions
-Jean-Cesar Legallois: lesioning (destroying tissue in) the medulla resulted in the immediate
cessation of breathing. (first widely accepted function to be localized within the brain)
-Dorsal roots – nerves that leave the spinal cord on the back – Sensory functions
-Ventral roots – nerves that leave the spinal cord on the front – Motor functions
-Franz Joseph Gall:
The cortex was functionally localized (27 distinct cognitive abilities that could be
localized on the cortex of the human brain)
The cortex behaved like muscles, in that increased size of an area was associated with
Measurements of the skull and pronouncements on personality became known as
-Strongest critics of phrenology: Marie-Jean-Pierre Flourens
Supported the concept of cortical equipotentiality
The cortex functioned as a whole and that there was no functional specialization
-Friedrich Goltz: only the size of the lesion, not the location of the lesion, affected the
behaviour of the nonhuman animal.
-Gall was right, but for the wrong reasons, whereas Goltz and Flourens used the right
techniques but came to the wrong conclusion.
-Paul Broca: based his conclusions on the observations of an individual with left frontal
Case study of “Tan” – Tan had lost the capacity for speech but retained the ability to
understand language – Aphmia (aphasia), or Broca’s aphasia
Did not study the emotional tone of speech (prosody) and the loss of comprehension of
language associated with the preservation of speech
-Carl Wernicke: when the auditory center (Wernicke’s area) gets damaged, the individual could
still produce speech but would be incapable of using words correctly and be unable to
understand the speech of others. – Wernicke’s aphasia
Total or global aphasia (a complete inability to understand or produce language) would
result from lesions of both Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas.
Historical Methods Revisited
-Trephination - production of a hole in the skull
Advocates for modern trephination (e.g. Amanda Fielding, Bart Holding) suggest taht
trephination is a technique for expanding consciousness as well as an effective technique for
relieving depression, addiction, and neuroses.
Trephination works by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which is
reduced by our upright posture and rigid skull.
- Trephination was performed on high priests in the ancient world in order to enhance their
No evidence showed that trephination produces any change in cognitive function,