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Collections: Oral Histories

James W. Papez Oral History Collection

James W. Papez (1883–1958), was an American neuroanatomist who spent his career at Cornell University. He is best known for “A Proposed Mechanism of Emotion,” which was published in 1937 in Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. The article describes the Papez circuit, a neural pathway in the brain he believed to be involved in the cortical control of emotion. He hypothesized that the hippocampus, the cingulate gyrus (Broca’s callosal lobe), the hypothalamus, the anterior thalamic nuclei, and the interconnections among these structures constituted a harmonious mechanism which elaborate the functions of emotions. Papez did not refer to Paul Broca’s research, but others have noted that his circuit was similar to Broca’s great limbic lobe.

This collection of oral history interviews was conducted by Dr. Kenneth E. Livingston during 1981 and 1982 to help document Papez’s contributions to neuroscience. The interviewees are Papez’s students and colleagues Jay Angevine, Paul Bucy, Raymond A. Dart, Webb Haymaker, Paul MacLean, Frank Mayfield, Glenn V. Russell, William A. Stotler, and Paul I. Yakovlev.

Last Reviewed: February 2, 2018