Vladimir Mikhailovitch Bekhterev was a pioneering Russian neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychologist. A highly esteemed rival of Ivan Pavlov, his achievements in the areas of personality, clinical psychology, and political and social psychology were recognized and acclaimed throughout the world. Publication of the complete text of Collective Reflexology brings to the English-speaking world this brilliant scientist's final theoretical statements on how reflexological principles, which he had been developing over a quarter century, can be extended far beyond analysis of the individual personality.
Bekhterev's work grows out of his interest in group psychology and suggestion. This concept of the reflex is much broader than Pavlov's. It is applicable to every variety of life. Bekhterev compared his own analyses to those of other European thinkers such as Comte, LeBon, and Sorokin. Such analyses strained against the official Marxist-Leninist doctrines of the era. Bekhterev died in 1927, allegedly of poisoning by Stalin's henchman. As with many scientists during the Soviet era, his legacy was suppressed. In the normal course of events his name would have been as well known as that of Freud, Pavlov or, more lately, B.F. Skinner. This first publication of Bekhterev's great work in English fills a void in the fields of psychology, sociology, and the history of science.
V.M. Bekhterev was director of the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg and founded there its Psychoneurological Institute. Among his many books are Suggestion: Its Role in Social Life (available from Transaction) and The Subject Matter and Goals of Social Psychology.
Lloyd H. Strickland is professor of psychology at Carleton University. He is the author of numerous journal articles and editor of Directions in Soviet Social Psychology and Soviet and Western Perspectives in Social Psychology.
"Bekhterev (1857-1927) is a formidable figure, and his work continues to deserve careful study."-Canadian Psychology