Beginnings : ventricular psychology

C.U.M. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputOther chapter contribution


From Platonic and Galenic roots, the first well developed ventricular theory of brain function is due to Bishop Nemesius, fourth century C.E. Although more interested in the Christian concept of soul, St. Augustine, too addressed the question of the location of the soul, a problem that has endured in various guises to the present day. Other notable contributions to ventricular psychology are the ninth century C.E. Arabic writer, Qusta ibn Lūqā, and an early European medical text written by the twelfth century C.E. author, Nicolai the Physician. By the time of Albertus Magnus, so-called medieval cell doctrine was a well-developed model of brain function. By the sixteenth century, Vesalius no longer understands the ventricles to be imaginary cavities designed to provide a physical basis for faculty psychology but as fluid-filled spaces in the brain whose function is yet to be determined
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrain, mind and consciousness in the history of neuroscience
EditorsC.U.M. Smith, Harry Whitaker
Place of Publication(NL)
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-8774-1
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-8773-4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2014

Publication series

NameHistory, philosophy and theory of the life sciences
ISSN (Print)2211-1948
ISSN (Electronic)2211-1956


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