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Goldstein, Kurt


GOLDSTEIN, KURT (1878–1965), neurologist and psychiatrist; coformulator of a test which measures the impairment of function in the case of brain injury in regard to abstract and concrete thinking, known as the Goldstein-Sheerer test. Goldstein, who was born in Katowice, Poland, was educated and worked in Germany. During World War i, he headed a special hospital for treating brain injuries. After the war, he was appointed professor at Frankfurt University and in 1931 at Berlin University. With the coming of the Nazis, he was dismissed from his post, imprisoned, and then released. He then emigrated to the U.S. He headed a research laboratory at the Montefiore Hospital, New York from 1936 to 1940. Then he taught for five years at Tufts Medical College in Boston, and from 1946 was professor of psychology at the City College of New York. Through his medical work on patients with brain damage, Goldstein formed a holistic approach and questioned the idea that the brain was an assembly of mechanisms that performed particular functions. He conceived the brain as a single unit in whose every function, the whole personality is reflected. His many investigations covered problems of localization in the brain, the methods of adaption of an organism to injuries, and the behavior of patients with brain damage. His findings were collected in his books: Psychologische Analysen hirnpathologischer Faelle, written in collaboration with A. Gelb (1920), and Der Aufbau des Organismus (1934, The Organism, written in collaboration with A. Gelb, 19632), which have become classic works in neurology. From his own wide and varied experience with speech disorders, resulting from central defects and lesions, he published Ueber Aphasie (1927), The Organism (1939), Human Nature in the Light of Psychopathology (1940), After-effects of Brain Injuries in War (1942), and Language Disturbances (1948).

[Lipman Halpern]

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