The Psychological Record

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 191–199 | Cite as

Priority Disputes in the History of Psychology with Special Attention to the Franz–Kalischer Dispute About Who First Combined Animal Training with Brain Extirpation to Investigate Brain Functions

Historical Article


Shepherd Ivory Franz (American) and Otto Kalischer (German) each claimed to have been the first to combine animal training and brain extirpation to study brain function, a methodological approach that historians assert fundamentally changed subsequent neuropsychological research. Each defended his claim in 1907 in back-to-back commentaries in the journal Zentralblatt für Physiologie. Before considering details of the Franz versus Kalischer dispute, it was deemed useful to consider priority disputes in general and to revisit the priority claims for who discovered the “conditioned reflex” and whether Pierre Flourens was the “father” of brain extirpation as examples of this type of research. Consideration of the Franz–Kalischer dispute began with a brief history of the study of brain function to provide background and context for the Franz–Kalischer dispute. For additional context, biographic sketches of Franz and Kalischer are presented. Then, details of the dispute are presented and discussed followed by conclusions that include that Franz (The American Journal of Physiology, 8, 1–22, 1902) preceded Kalischer (1907a) and that it is highly unlikely that anyone before Franz had used his combination of innovative methods. Finally, the perceived importance of being first to combine animal training with brain extirpation is represented by quotations from several authors of history or psychology textbooks and one author of a history of neuroscience textbook.


Animal training Animal learning Brain ablation Brain extirpation Brain lesion History brain research Learning Memory Priority in psychology Priority in science 


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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