James V. McConnell

Scientist, Author

1925 – 1990

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Who was James V. McConnell?

James V. McConnell was an American biologist and animal psychologist. He is most known for his research on learning and memory transfer in planarians conducted in the 1950s and 1960s.

Most of McConnell's academic career was spent in the psychology department at the University of Michigan, where he was a professor from 1963 through his retirement in 1988. He was an unconventional scientist, setting up his own refereed journal, the Journal of Biological Psychology, which was published in tandem with the Worm Runner's Digest, a planarian-themed humor magazine. His paper Memory transfer through cannibalism in planarians, published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry, reported that when planarians conditioned to respond to a stimulus were ground up and fed to other planarians, the recipients learned to respond to the stimulus faster than a control group did. McConnell believed that this was evidence of a chemical basis for memory, which he identified as memory RNA. Although well publicized, his findings were not completely reproducible by other scientists and were therefore at the time completely discredited.

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Born
Oct 26, 1925
Also known as
  • James McConnell
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • University of Texas at Austin
Died
Apr 9, 1990

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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