This entry starts a new, occasional feature of Talking Brains: Bios of the Language Stars. We start with Mr. Aphasia (or shall I say, Dr. Aphasia) himself, Harold Goodglass. I had the opportunity to meet Goodglass a couple of times while I was at Brandeis and then MIT, and quite enjoyed my interaction with him. His clinical intuitions were astounding, and his excitement for the field unbounded. I can't think of anyone who has contributed more to our understanding of aphasia in the last five decades than Harold Goodglass. After all, he wrote the book.
Harold Goodglass (1920-2002)
Dr. Goodglass was born in New York City August 18, 1920, graduated from Townsend Harris High School in 1935, and received a BA in French from City College of New York in 1939. He served in the Army Air Force from 1942 to 1946, and was discharged as a Captain. He then attended New York University, receiving an MA in Psychology in 1948. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 1951.
Upon completion of his doctorate, Dr. Goodglass became the first psychologist for the National Veterans Aphasia Center at the VA in Framingham, MA. Among his pioneering research findings was the demonstration that speech is mediated by the left hemisphere in most left-handed people, as in almost all right-handers, thus invalidating the assumption of right-hemispere dominance. With the research support of the Veterans Administration and the National Institutes of Health he published research articles on disorders of naming in aphasia, on category specific disorders of lexical comprehension and production, on the comprehension of syntax and on the syndrome of agrammatism. He also carried out a program of studies on cerebral dominance. He collaborated with many clinicians and researchers, and in 1960 he developed a standardized aphasia test known as the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, which has been translated into many languages. He was the author of over 130 research articles, and of the books "Psycholinguistics and Aphasia" (with Sheila Blumstein), "Assessment of Aphasia and Related Disorders" (with Edith Kaplan), "Anomia" (with Arthur Wingfield), and "Understanding Aphasia".
In 1969 he became Director of the NIH-funded Aphasia Research Center, and remained in that post until 1996. He was a founding member of the Academy of Aphasia and the International Neuropsychological Symposium. He established the American Psychological Association's Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) and served as its first president (1979-1980). He was Professor of Neurology (Neuropsychology) at Boston University School of Medicine. In 1996 he was awarded the APA Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology.