Apraxia Reserch: Russian and Modern Neurocognitive Tradition
Three scientific traditions of apraxia research are examined in this article: Luria’s theory of the systemic structure and dynamic localization of higher mental functions, Bernstein’s level theory of motor acts, and the neurocognitive approach. The apraxia classification developed by Luria, the classification of movements widely discussed in neurocognitive tradition, and Bernstein’s level structure of the motor act are presented schematically. The strengths and limitations of each of these scientific schools are discussed. The principles of apraxia assessment in Luria’s and the neurocognitive framework are analyzed. We conclude that Luria’s approach and the neurocognitive tradition of apraxia investigation are quite similar. Bernstein’s ideas were formed more than fifty years ago, but seem insightful and fruitful today. According to Bernstein, voluntary movements have some essential features that are not currently taken under consideration. From his point of view, movements are meaningful (determined by a motor task), holistic, hierarchic, dynamic and creative. These postulates were discussed in many of his now-classic works. At the same time we must confess that they are not widely known among clinicians. That is why we believe that Bernstein’s concepts can significantly enrich our knowledge in the neuropsychology of praxis.