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J Hist Neurosci. 2008;17(2):175-94. doi: 10.1080/09647040701262061.

Cerebral localization in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century: emphasizing the work of Aletta Jacobs.

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  • 1NICI, Department of Psychology, Radboud University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


This paper gives an overview of the ideas on cerebral localization as they were formulated in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century. In general, it appears that, given the discussions in France, Germany, and Britain, surprisingly little was written and hardly any serious research was performed. Special attention is given to the dissertation on the localization of sensory-motor functions by Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929), known for her social and political activities to improve the position of women. Although it was not a particularly thorough study, it was the only one that seriously and empirically addressed the topic of localization.

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