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May 1994

Alexander Crichton (1763-1856): Disorders of Fluent Speech and Associationist Theory

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology, Washington University, St Louis, Mo (Dr Finger); and the Program in Linguistics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (Dr Buckingham).

Arch Neurol. 1994;51(5):498-503. doi:10.1001/archneur.1994.00540170078019

In 1798, Alexander Crichton, a Scottish physician, published a two-volume text on mental derangements. Among other things, he discussed various disorders of fluent speech, citing his own cases and those of others. These disorders ranged from simple word-finding difficulties to Wernicke's aphasia. Crichton interpreted these disorders by turning to the principles of association laid down by Aristotle and developed by Hume, Locke, Condillac, and others. Crichton was an imaginative and creative thinker who, like Johann Gesner, helped to provide a fertile intellectual soil for the development of later associationistic (connectionistic) models of higher brain function.

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