Pioneers of psychology, in their own words

The Wellcome History of Medicine Centre has interviewed some of the UK’s cognitive science elders about the early days of neuropsychology and psychiatry research and have put all the video clips online.

The interviews are a wonderful insight into the earliest days of cognitive science research which are only hampered by their annoying presentation, so I’ve created YouTube playlists so you can just sit down and just watch each of the interviews from end-to-end.

Here they are:

Elizabeth Warrington was one of the pioneers of clinical and cognitive neuropsychology in the 60s and 70s and defined much of the field as we know it today. She was working at a time when it was rare for women to be working in medical research, let alone neuroscience.

Michael Rutter was one of the founders of child psychiatry and had a huge influence on the development of psychiatric epidemiology.

Richard Gregory is a highly influential cognitive psychologist who is famous for his work on visual perception and top-down (meaning-induced) influences on what we perceive.

Uta Frith is one of the world’s foremost autism researchers and has been involved in child neuropsychology research since the 1960s.

All of the interviewees have been working for over 50 years, have been founders of their field, and are still involved in research.

Elizabeth Warrington is a personal hero of mine. She not only made some of the foundational discoveries in neuropsychology, but also was one of the creators of many of the assessment methods and techniques we use both for assessing the extent of brain injury and the understanding of what brain damage can tell us about normal brain function.

Actually, I have the minor honour of being Elizabeth Warrington’s neuropsychological ‘grand child’, as I learnt a huge amount working with neuropsychologist Pat McKenna (another one of my personal heroes), who was one of the first people who was trained by Warrington.

A minor connection but one I am proud of, and I’m sure you can see why when you hear her discuss her work in the interview.

The other interviews are also thoroughly engrossing and are like being told stories of times past by people with wisdom of experience behind them.

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