Mental Retardation

  • Cynthia L. Miller
  • Mary F. O’Callaghan
  • Deborah A. Keogh
  • Thomas L. Whitman


Mental retardation has a long history marked by much change. From its earliest beginnings, society has recognized the presence of individuals who could not meet the demands of everyday life. In Greek writings, mental retardation was mentioned as early as 1500 B.C. Hypocrates wrote in 500 B.C. about skull deformities associated with retardation. Different levels of mental acuity were discussed by the Roman physician Galen. During the Middle Ages, persons with mental retardation were viewed as fools, favored as “innocents of God,” persecuted as witches, or considered possessed. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, legal definitions were offered, and in the nineteenth century more sophisticated attempts were made to differentiate mental retardation from mental illness (Scheeren-berger, 1987).


Mental Retardation Adaptive Behavior Developmental Disability Intelligence Test Maple Syrup Urine Disease 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia L. Miller
    • 1
  • Mary F. O’Callaghan
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Keogh
    • 1
  • Thomas L. Whitman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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