Alexander Luria — life, research and contribution to neuroscience. International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy , 1 2 , Background — Alexander Luria It has been regretfully noted that a dearth of documentary materials exists on both the origins of Soviet neuropsychology and the life of its founder, Alexander Romanovich Luria Akhutina, , p. Among the possible reasons for this are the restricted nature of the political and scientific environments of the time, a deficit in translation, the complexity of theoretical principles involved, and perhaps the modesty or reserved character of the author himself Luria, , p. However, it seems that recognition could have extended far beyond these areas.
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Life and career[ edit ] Early life and childhood[ edit ] Luria was born to Jewish parents in Kazan , a regional center east of Moscow. Many of his family were in medicine. Luria was one of two children; his younger sister Lydia became a practicing psychiatrist.
While still a student in Kazan, he established the Kazan Psychoanalytic Society and briefly exchanged letters with Sigmund Freud. Late in , he moved to Moscow, where he lived on Arbat Street.
His parents later followed him and settled down nearby. In , Luria met Lev Vygotsky  , who would influence him greatly. The union of the two psychologists gave birth to what subsequently was termed the Vygotsky, or more precisely, the Vygotsky-Luria Circle.
During the s Luria also met a large number of scholars, including Aleksei N. Leontiev , Mark Lebedinsky, Alexander Zaporozhets , Bluma Zeigarnik , many of whom would remain his lifelong colleagues. Following Vygotsky and along with him, in mids Luria launched a project of developing a psychology of a radically new kind.
This approach fused "cultural", "historical", and "instrumental" psychology and is most commonly referred to presently as cultural-historical psychology.
It emphasizes the mediatory role of culture, particularly language , in the development of higher psychological functions in ontogeny and phylogeny.
This research was published in the US in as The Nature of Human Conflicts and made him internationally famous as one of the leading psychologists in Soviet Russia. In , Luria submitted the manuscript in Russian and defended it as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Tbilisi not published in Russian until The second title came out in , while the other two were published in the s.
Multiculturalism and neurology[ edit ] The s were significant to Luria because his studies of indigenous people opened the field of multiculturalism to his general interests.
Under the supervision of Vygotsky, Luria investigated various psychological changes including perception, problem solving, and memory that take place as a result of cultural development of undereducated minorities. In this regard he has been credited with a major contribution to the study of orality. After rewriting and reorganizing his manuscript for The Nature of Human Conflicts, he defended it for a doctoral dissertation at the Institute of Tbilisi in , and was appointed Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences.
Lipchina, a well-known specialist in microbiology with a doctorate in the biological sciences. In his early neuropsychological work in the end of the s as well as throughout his postwar academic life he focused on the study of aphasia , focusing on the relation between language, thought, and cortical functions, particularly on the development of compensatory functions for aphasia. World War II and aftermath[ edit ] For Luria, the war with Germany that ended in resulted in a number of significant developments for the future of his career in both psychology and neurology.
He was appointed Doctor of Medical Sciences in and Professor in Of specific importance for Luria was that he was assigned by the government to care for nearly hospitalized patients suffering from traumatic brain injury caused by the war. A second book titled Traumatic Aphasia was written in in which "Luria formulated an original conception of the neural organization of speech and its disorders aphasias that differed significantly from the existing western conceptions about aphasia.
By , his father, the chief of the gastroenterological clinics at Botkin Hospital, had died of stomach cancer. His mother survived several more years, dying in For a period of time, he was removed from the Institute of Psychology, mainly as a result of a flare-up of anti-Semitism , and in the s he shifted to research on intellectually disabled children at the Defectological Institute. In this book Luria summarized his principal concerns in this field through three succinct points summarized by Homskaya as: " 1 the role of speech in the development of mental processes; 2 the development of the regulative function of speech; and 3 changes in the regulative functions of speech caused by various brain pathologies.
Unskilled children demonstrated acute dysfunction of the generalizing and regulating functions of speech. The book has been translated into multiple foreign languages and has been recognized as the principal book establishing Neuropsychology as a medical discipline in its own right.
Konovalov and A. In studying memory disorders, Luria oriented his research to the distinction of long-term memory, short-term memory, and semantic memory. It was important for Luria to differentiate neuropsychological pathologies of memory from neuropsychological pathologies of intellectual operations. Significantly, volume two of his Human Brain and Mental Processes appeared in under the title Neuropsychological Analysis of Conscious Activity, following the first volume from titled The Brain and Psychological Processes.
Psychopathology of the Frontal Lobes, co-edited with Karl Pribram, was published in Luria published his well-known book The Working Brain in as a concise adjunct volume to his book Higher Cortical Functions in Man. In this volume, Luria summarized his three-part global theory of the working brain as being composed of three constantly co-active processes, which he described as: the attentional sensory-processing system the mnestic-programming system the energetic maintenance system, with two levels: cortical and limbic This model was later used as a structure of the Functional Ensemble of Temperament model matching functionality of neurotransmitter systems.
These two books are among his most popular writings. According to Oliver Sacks , in these works "science became poetry". In and , Luria presented successively his two-volume research study titled The Neuropsychology of Memory. As its organizer, Luria introduced the section on neuropsychology. His wife Lana Pimenovna, who was extremely sick, had an operation on June 2. During the following two and a half months of his life, Luria did everything possible to save or at least to soothe his wife.
Not being able to comply with this task, he dies of a Myocardial infarction on August His funerals were attended by an endless number of people -- psychologists, teachers, doctors, and just friends. His wife died six months later. It was of special significance for Luria not only to distinguish the sequential phases required to get from inner language to serial speech, but also to emphasize the difference of encoding of subjective inner thought as it develops into intersubjective speech.
This was in contrast to the decoding of spoken speech as it is communicated from other individuals and decoded into subjectively understood inner language. For the encoding of serial speech, the phases remained the same, though the decoding was oriented in the opposite direction of transitions between the distinct phases.
In the area of child neuropsychology, "The need for its creation was dictated by the fact that children with localized brain damage were found to reveal specific different features of dissolution of psychological functions. This study initiated a number of systematic investigations concerning changes in the localization of higher psychological functions during the process of development. Luria was not part of the team that originally standardized this test; he was only indirectly referenced by other researchers as a scholar who had published relevant results in the field of neuropsychology.
Anecdotally, when Luria first had the battery described to him he commented that he had expected that someone would eventually do something like this with his original research. New York: Liveright Publishers, Higher Cortical Functions in Man. Moscow University Press, Library of Congress Number: Human Brain and Psychological Processes. Mouton de Gruyter.
Alexander Luria: life, research & contribution to neuroscience
Save Story Save this story for later. The man, who would become known in the psychological literature as S. That morning, the editor had noticed that S. When he confronted S. The editor picked up a newspaper and read at length from it, challenging S. When S. The researcher who met with S.
The Mystery of S., the Man with an Impossible Memory
Durante a guerra, continuou seu trabalho no Instituto de Psicologia de Moscou. Esta pesquisa foi publicada no EUA em e em russo apenas em Em , Luria conheceu Lev Vygotsky que grandemente o influenciaria. Destacam-se dois entre os estudos de caso realizados, um apresenta S. Um dos testes apresentados por ele foi o Cubo de Linck,  um cubo feito com 27 cubos pequenos com as faces externas que corresponde ao cubo que formam pintados de verde e as demais da mesma cor. Fundamentos de Neuropsicologia. Pribram Luria A.
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