Richard Noll, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Tucker House, 104
610-282-1100 ext. 1268
“We find our selves like a hollow glass globe, from whose vacancy a voice speaks.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer
Richard Noll, a clinical psychologist, is Associate Professor of psychology at DeSales University. He is best known for his research and scholarship in anthropology and the history of medicine and psychiatry on topics such as shamanism, spirit possession, mental imagery and visions, vampirism, Carl Gustav Jung, and dementia praecox/schizophrenia.
Professor Noll earned his M.A. in General Psychology and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (1992) from the New School for Social Research in New York City. His dissertation was an experimental study of the cognitive style differences between paranoid and non-paranoid schizophrenics. The subjects for his experiment were recruited from Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, New Jersey, where he served as a Psychology Intern and Staff Psychologist between 1984 and 1988. It was during this time that his daily contact with persons with schizophrenia and other major psychotic disorders sparked his lifelong scientific and historical interests in these severe psychiatric conditions.
In 1979 he earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona, two years after graduating from Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit high school in Phoenix, Arizona. While an undergraduate he spent a semester at the United Nations in New York City in a special honors program offered by the National Collegiate Honors Council.
Before coming to DeSales University in August 2000, for four years he taught and conducted research at Harvard University with appointments as a postdoctoral fellow and as a Lecturer in the History of Science. Concurrent with his Harvard appointment during the 1995-1996 academic year, Professor Noll was also appointed a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Resident Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT.
Professor Noll is the author of eight scholarly books and dozens of articles published in prominent academic journals in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, the history of psychiatry, and the history of science. His work has appeared in high-impact science journals such as the International Review of Neurobiology and Schizophrenia Research. Several of these works have been, or are in the process of being, translated into fourteen foreign languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and South America.
The Association of American Publishers awarded his book, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton University Press, 1994), with the honor of being the Best Book in Psychology published in the United States in 1994. Following this award, the editors of Princeton University Press decided to submit The Jung Cult to the competition for the Pulitzer Prize (but, alas, it did not place, let alone win). While not the definitive book on the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), The Jung Cult is generally recognized as a turning point in Jung scholarship. It continues to offer scholars a new paradigm from which to generate new questions and new research on Jung. The academic response to Professor Noll and his book was the subject of a very favorable front page article in The New York Times on Saturday, 3 June 1995. In subsequent days the story found its way into newspapers across the world, often on the front page, in cities such as London, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, and others.
In 1997, Professor Noll was interviewed by Terry Gross of WHYY on National Public Radio's Fresh Air. In 2001 NPR listed that broadcast on its website as among the top ten most requested tapes and transcripts in the long history of that radio show. Listen to the interview
In addition to research and writing on a variety of topics in anthropology, psychiatry, psychology, the history of psychiatry, Professor Noll has lectured on these subjects in fifteen foreign countries on six continents. He is hoping someone will invite him to speak in Antarctica . . . .
In 1994 he conducted three months of anthropological fieldwork in the People's Republic of China with an anthropologist colleague from Ohio State University, Shi Kun. Together they studied the last surviving Tungus (Siberian) shamans among the Oroqen and Ewenki peoples of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. The photo on this page is of Chuonnasuan (Meng Jin Fu), the last shaman of the Oroqen peoples who live along the Amur River, just across the water from Russian Siberia. Chuonnasuan died in 2000.
His most recent book, American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox was published in October 2011 by Harvard University Press. Thus far, it has been favorably reviewed in the prominent British journal Nature, New Scientist and the London Times Higher Education. An interview with Professor Noll appears on the Harvard University Press website.
In April 2012 it was announced that American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox won the 2012 Cheiron Book Prize.
Richard Noll, Ph.D. Courses Taught at DeSales University
Introduction to Psychology
The Unseen Reality: The Psychology of Spiritual Experience
Mind, Medicine and Madness:The History of the Treatment of the Mentally Ill
The history of psychiatry and medicine, particularly those topics relating to dementia praecox or schizophrenia
Biomarkers for schizophrenia
Psychopathology, particularly psychotic disorders and the dissociative disorders
Religious experience, particularly the cross-cultural and cross-temporal technologies for inducing "mystical" experiences at will that mimic commonly reported spontaneous experiences of this nature
Evolutionary biology, particularly 19th century non-Darwinian theories