Italian neuropsychology in the second half of the twentieth century

Giuseppe Vallar, François Boller, Dario Grossi, Guido Gainotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Since the early 1960s, human neuropsychology, the study of brain-behavior interrelations, mainly based on the analysis of their pathological variations, brought about by brain damage, has had a remarkable systematical development in Italy. All this started in Milan, with the neurologist Ennio de Renzi, and his collaborators (Luigi Vignolo, then Anna Basso, Pietro Faglioni, Hans Spinnler, François Boller, and, more autonomously, Edoardo Bisiach), in the Clinic of Nervous and Mental Diseases. Scientists of the “Milan group” investigated several neuropsychological deficits caused by focal hemispheric lesions in large series of left- and right-brain-damaged patients, and control participants, comparable for cultural and demographic variables. Standardized tests and advanced statistical methods were used, which also applied to the diagnosis and rehabilitation of aphasia. Subsequently, neuropsychology developed in Italy extensively, reaching high international reputation. Leading neuropsychologists have been the neurologists Guido Gainotti (Rome), and Franco Denes (Padua), the physicians and psychologists Luigi Pizzamiglio (Rome), and Carlo Umiltà (Parma, with fruitful interactions with the neurophysiologists Giovanni Berlucchi, Giacomo Rizzolatti, and Carlo Marzi, from the school of Giuseppe Moruzzi in Pisa) A second scientific generation of neuropsychologists has then developed in the 1970s, trained by the abovementioned scientists, further boosting and spreading high-level basic and applied research (diagnosis and rehabilitation of neuropsychological deficits of patients with brain damage or dysfunction throughout the life span, from childhood to the elderly). Available techniques include structural and functional imaging (CT, PET, SPET, MRI and fMRI Scans, DTI), electrophysiological recording (EEG, ERPs), non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS, tES), and their combined use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalNeurological Sciences
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Brain stimulation
  • Ennio de Renzi
  • History
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuropsychology
  • “Milan Group”

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)

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