Victor W. Henderson

Publication Details

  • Sigmund Freud and the diagram-maker school of aphasiology. Brain and language Henderson, V. W. 1992; 43 (1): 19-41


    Published 100 years ago, Freud's monograph on aphasia, Zur Auffassung der Aphasien, is an incisive analysis of the so-called diagram-makers, those aphasiologists who would reduce brain and language to simple schemes of circumscribed cortical centers linked by unidirectional subcortical pathways. Chief architects of the diagram-maker school were Wernicke and Lichtheim, and their formulations of conduction aphasia and the transcortical aphasias were particular targets of Freud's trenchant criticism. Freud argued against functional differentiation within left hemisphere perisylvian language regions, and he suggested that traditional aphasic syndromes were artifacts of lesions that included cortical language regions and deeper white matter pathways not directly involved with language. He provided an innovative classification of aphasia based on types of associations presumed to be affected. Freud, however, failed to adduce new clinical or pathological observations; he was perhaps unnecessarily harsh in challenging authorities in the field of aphasia; and his theory had to compete with a straightforward and already entrenched anatomical view of language representation. Despite Freud's lucid argumentation, his carefully crafted monograph was never widely noted.

    View details for PubMedID 1643510

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