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Aleksandr Luria: biography of the pioneer of neuropsychology

Aleksandr Luria: biography of the pioneer of neuropsychology

December 3, 2022

The name of Luria is widely known by all those who are dedicated to the world of neuropsychology and neurology. And is that Aleksander Romanovich Lúriya is considered the main father of modern neuropsychology , combining the interest for mental processes and the physiology of the encephalon.

In this article we present a brief biography of this important author and researcher of the human brain.

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Brief biography of Aleksander Luria

Aleksander Romanovich Lúriya (known as Aleksandr Luria, Aleksander Luria or Alexander Luria) was born on July 16, 1902 in Kazan, Russia . Son of the dentist Eugenia Victorovna Hasskin and of the doctor Roman Albertovich Lúriya, he grew up in a wealthy family of Jewish origin in which he was educated in different languages.


From his youth he began to be trained in the field of knowledge that he himself would help to expand. Let's see how it happened.

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Education and first steps

The formation of Luria began at seven years of age, this formation being interrupted by the Russian Revolution. At sixteen he would be accepted at the University of Kazan, where he graduated in 1921.

His first interests were circumscribed in the field of social and psychology , being especially interested in the field of psychoanalysis. In fact, in 1922 he helped to create the Psychoanalytic Society of Kazan, dealing with his first works on gender differences in clothing. There would also be an interest in evaluation in mental problems and the effects of fatigue. Other authors that I would admire and follow closely were Pavlov and Bechterev.


The influence of Vygotsky

Luria met Vigotsky in 1924, at a Congress of Psychoneurology held in Leningrad. Together with him he investigated the interaction between perceptive processes and culture when generating higher mental functions in adults, with special importance of language.

The interest in the brain areas and the location of the different functions , criticizing the prevailing localizationism and proposing the idea of ​​complex functional systems in which the functions depend on networks of dispersed connections and not only on a specific region.

  • Related article: "The Sociocultural Theory of Lev Vygotsky"

Second World War and specialization in neurology

After taking political control Stalin and start different political purges, he was forced to abandon the sociocultural study, and would focus on the study of medicine with specialization in neurology.


His interest in the area of ​​language continued and he would often explore this area, especially in the field of aphasia and its relation to thought

Luria worked in Kisegach during World War II , and came to observe often the effects of tumors and brain injuries. It was at this time that the foundations of neuropsychology were born linking injuries with cognitive and language problems.

After the war, Luria's works would focus on the development of language and thought, especially in children with intellectual disabilities

Death and legacy

Luria died in Moscow on August 14, 1977, at the age of 75 , of a heart attack.

Father of modern neuropsychology, the legacy of Luria has allowed a better understanding of brain function and brain localization of the various systems that allow certain functions.

Numerous evaluation instruments have been created based on criteria based on their work , besides allowing to elaborate techniques that allow to improve and recover functions in cases of brain injury.


Alexander Luria & the History of Neuropsychology (Tang) (December 2022).


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