The Influence of German-Speaking Émigrés on the Emergence of Cognitive Science as a New Interdisciplinary Field


  • Vincent von Hoeckendorf Osnabrueck University


Austria, Computer Science, Emigre Cognitive Scientists, Germany, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Psychology and Psychiatry, United States


During the 1950s, the scientific world experienced a shift in the study of the mind in what is now called the cognitive revolution. While common belief claims a rise of novel approaches, this is only partially true. A number of notions which built the foundation for cognitive studies were already present in the prior century in German schools. Research of developments of these traditions and concepts leading up to the cognitive revolution also showed that certain key figures in psychology and mathematics taught in Germany and by means of often forced emigration carried over the ideas that sparked in early German research centres. This article gives an overview of the development leading up to the cognitive revolution and the émigrés involved.

Author Biography

Vincent von Hoeckendorf, Osnabrueck University

Vincent von Hoeckendorf is an honours graduate from the BSc in Cognitive Science program at Osnabrueck University, Germany. In 2015, he received a prestigious scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service and interned as a visiting research student in Calgary’s History of Medicine and Health Care Program. He has hosted the internet blog and co-authored (with Frank W. Stahnisch) “Stephen William Kuffler (1913–1980) — Pioneer in Neurology,” Journal of Neurology 263, 6 (2016): 1258–60.