Dr. Walter Freeman’s photographs of lobotomy patients

A few days ago, the blog Advances in the History of Psychology pointed its readers to the work of Miriam Posner (a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Associate at Emory University) and the exceptional collection that constitutes the central object of her Yale university dissertation: Dr. Walter Freeman’s before and after photographs of lobotomy patients.

Some of these pictures are featured in a slideshow presented by the blog Science and the Arts (a project of NPR’s Science Friday) and narrated by Posner herself. Posner “argues that for Freeman the photographs served as medical evidence of the benefits of lobotomy and provided justification for his focus on external behavior rather than their mental states when evaluating surgical outcomes” (AHP).

The full slideshow can be viewed here.

  1. I have been following pictures from Freeman’s book Psychosurgery for decades. Many of them were posted on my website here: http://clarespark.com/2010/03/04/before-lobotomy-case-123/.
    http://clarespark.com/2010/03/04/after-lobotomy-case-123/.
    http://clarespark.com/2009/11/16/when-lobotomies-cured-the-romantic-agony/.
    http://clarespark.com/2009/11/16/nobody-is-perfect/.

    There is a particular public that is obsessed with the issue, for reasons I cannot tell without research.

  1. January 20th, 2012

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