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Alexander Romanovich Luria Edit Profile

neuropsychologist , psychologist , scientist

Alexander Romanovich Luria was a Soviet neuropsychologist and developmental psychologist.

Background

A. R. Luria was born July 3, 1902, in Kazan, Russia. Many of his family were in medicine.

Education

He graduated from the University of Kazan in 1921.

Career

From 1924 to 1934 he worked with the educational psychologist L. S. Vygotskii. Under Vygotskii's key influence he studied the development of language and mind in the child, the structure of play in childhood, and cross-cultural cognitive development. In 1937 Luria successfully qualified in medicine and was enlisted as a medical officer in World War II. The war brought to the fore the profound effects of head and brain injuries, and it was Luria's responsibility to assess and rehabilitate brain-injured servicemen. This experience prompted him to focus on the dysfunction of the brain, and thus the mind, as a way of understanding how memory, imagination, and the other cognitive faculties function normally.

His postwar study of the precise mental deficits caused by small, local tumors, together with his wartime studies of brain injuries, enabled him to map the more complex functions of the brain in a unique way. With this greater understanding Luria was able to treat patients, including, most notably, "the man with a shattered world, " with at least some success, where previously there had been none. Through his study and treatment of the neurologically afflicted, Luria achieved insights into the essential nature of human thought, perception, and behavior that had the greatest influence on both his immediate contemporaries and on a whole generation of later figures. Luria's major works in English translation include Higher Cortical Functions in Man (1966), The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology (1972), and The Neuropsychology of Memory (1976). His posthumous autobiography, The Making of a Mind: A Personal Account of Soviet Psychology, appeared in 1979.

Achievements

  • He was a major pioneer in the development of neuropsychology. In numerous articles and books, Luria analyzed the often shocking effects of neurological disorders on mental function. His two great case histories, The Mind of a Mnemonist (1968) and The Man With a Shattered World (1972), apply the most scrupulous observation to, on the one hand, a man afflicted with total recall - unable, that is, to forget the most trivial details of his experience and so unable to form general concepts because of an over-cluttered memory - and, on the other, to a man capable of only the most fragmentary recollections and impressions because of a bullet wound to his brain.

Connections

In 1933, Luria married Lana P. Lipchina, a well-known specialist in microbiology with a doctorate in the biological sciences. The couple lived in Moscow on Frunze Street, where their only daughter Lena (Elena) was born.

father:
Roman Albertovich Luria

a professor at the University of Kazan

mother:
Evgenia Viktorovna Haskin (maiden name)

dentist

spouse:
Lana P. Lipchina

colleague:
L. S. Vygotskii

younger sister:
Lydia

a practicing psychiatrist

daughter:
Lena (Elena)