Arthur Benton has long been recognized as a distinguished researher,an influential educator, and a gifted writer. Early in his career, he was struck by the extreme divergence in the acceptance and usage of concepts and terms such as 'agnosia', 'amnesic aphasia', and 'apraxia' by leading figures in the then young field of neuropsychology/behavioral neurology. This prompted him to explore the literature of 19th century neurology and led to an abiding interest in the historical background of current developments, which often proved to be the outgrowth of earlier formulations. In this collection of his historical papers, he traces the evolution of thought and practice in diverse areas of neuropsychology and behavioral neurology. He captures the setting in which observations and discoveries were made and shows how the limited knowledge of basic neuroscience that prevailed at the time influenced their interpretation. He emphasizes the interplay of clinical and experimental approaches in advancing understanding of brain-behavior relationships and clarifies the connections between past and present knowledge.
Some of the essays are systematic accounts of developments in the broad discipline of neuropsychology while others deal with individual clinicians and scientists whose contributions are now components of current knowledge. Among the topics covered are the frontal lobes, developmental dyslexia, disorders of spatial thought in patients with brain disease and the role of cerebrovascular disease in the history of aphasiology.