The Most Violent Criminal? Epilepsy in Hungarian Criminal Psychology

An open Seminar by Julia Gyimesi hosted by the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

  • Wed 22 Jan 20

    17:00 - 18:30

  • Colchester Campus

    LTB 3

  • Event speaker

    Julia Gyimesi, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Debbie Stewart

Join us for a fascinating seminar on epilepsy in Hungarian criminal psychology, by external speaker Julia Gyimesi. 

Julia is a senior lecturer and head of the Department of Personality and Clinical Psychology at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary. She is also the programme director of the Theoretical Psychoanalysis PhD Program at the University of Pécs in Hungary.

Register your place:

This lecture is free and open to all however the seating is limited, so be sure to register your place.

More about epilepsy and Hungarian criminal psychology: 

In the first decades of the 20th century prominent representatives of early forensic psychology and psychiatry such as Ernő Moravcsik, Pál Ranschburg, Károly Schaffer and Ödön Német contributed to the research of epilepsy in Hungary, and developed several promising theories on the roots, diagnostic challenges and understanding of criminal behaviour.

In these early years – primarily due to the influence of Cesare Lombroso – biological and constitutional approaches were rather determining in the understanding of criminal behaviour. As a result of this, mental retardation, the innate disturbances of motivation and emotions, moral insanity and several different pathologies – such as hysteria or epilepsy - were identified as the roots of criminal behaviour. The diagnostic category of epilepsy was one of the most investigated disorders of Hungarian forensic psychology. 

The possible subsidiary symptoms of epilepsy (e.g. temporally confusion, piromania, and increased aggression) proved to be determining in the contemporary forensic and criminal psychological theories of epileptic behaviour and called attention to the problematic social and legal status of epileptic criminals. These patients were considered extremely violent, characterized by sudden, brutal acts. In the 1930s Lipót (Leopold) Szondi elaborated his comprehensive theory on “fate-analysis”, in which the concept of epilepsy gained central significance. It is very likely that Szondi’s emphasis on epilepsy was the result of the early medical and forensic psychiatric representation of epileptic. The  patients. In this period, the theory and practice of Szondi proved to be the major contribution to criminal psychology in Hungary, although his ideas generated numerous debates and doubts. However, the criminal psychological indicators of the Szondi test were commonly used for diagnostic purposes. The aim of the lecture is to illuminate the significance and surprisingly far-reaching consequences of the early representation of epilepsy in Hungarian psychology in general, and criminal psychology in particular.

Related events