Consciousness pp 139-143 | Cite as

Julian Jaynes

The Bicameral Mind
  • Andrea Eugenio Cavanna
  • Andrea Nani


American psychologist Julian Jaynes authored one of the most thought-provoking and debated theories about the origin of the conscious mind. He was born on 27 February 1920 in West Newton, Massachusetts, and died on 21 November 1997. He studied as an undergraduate at Harvard and McGill Universities and received his master and doctoral degrees from Yale. He then became a lecturer in Psychology at Princeton University from 1966 to 1990. At the beginning of his career, Jaynes pursued research in the field of animal behavior, as his theoretical approach was to investigate the evolution of consciousness by studying learning and brain function in various species, from the protozoa to worms, reptiles, and cats. Finding this approach inadequate, he undertook a painstaking analysis through historical texts and archeological data in order to investigate the use of language and metaphor related to the theme of consciousness. This in-depth research culminated in 1976, when Jaynes published his landmark book – The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind – which proposed a revolutionary theoretical model for the generation and historical development of consciousness.


Auditory Hallucination Archeological Data Mental Space Historical Text Conscious Mind 
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  1. Jaynes J (1976) The Origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  2. Jaynes J (1992) The Julian Jaynes collection. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Eugenio Cavanna
    • 1
  • Andrea Nani
    • 2
  1. 1.Michael Trimble Neuropsychiatry Research GroupBSMHFT and University of Birmingham Aston UniversityBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Michael Trimble Neuropsychiatry Research GroupBSMHFT and University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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