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Margaret Alice Kennard (September 25, 1899—December 12, 1975)[1] was a neurologist who principally studied the effects of neurological damage on primates. Her work led to the creation of the Kennard Principle, which posits a negative linear relationship between age of a brain lesion and the outcome expectancy: in other words, that the earlier in life a brain lesion occurs, the more likely it is for some compensation mechanism to reverse at least some of the lesion's bad effects.[1]

Margaret A. Kennard
Margaret Alice Kennard

(1899-09-25)September 25, 1899
DiedDecember 12, 1975(1975-12-12) (aged 76)
EducationBryn Mawr, Cornell, Yale


She earned a Rockefeller Traveling Fellowship for study in Western Europe from 1934 to 1936.[2] She also studied the effects of stimulants and cortical depressants on monkeys with brain damage.[2]

Kennard PrincipleEdit

Graphical representation of the Kennard Principle

The observation that young brains reorganize more effectively than adult brains was first articulated by Kennard in 1936. Consequently, the notion that how well a brain can reorganize itself after damage as a function of the developmental stage is now known as the "Kennard principle".[3] This research led to one of the earliest experimental evidence for age effects on neuroplasticity.

She worked closely with John Fulton in her famous infant brain studies.


  1. ^ a b Dennis, Maureen (September 2010). "Margaret Kennard (1899–1975): Not a 'Principle' of brain plasticity but a founding mother of developmental neuropsychology". Cortex. 46 (8): 1043–1059. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2009.10.008. ISSN 0010-9452. PMC 2907425. PMID 20079891.
  2. ^ a b Finger, Stanley. Margaret Kennard on Sparing and Recovery of Function: A Tribute on The 100th anniversary of Her Birth. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. Vol. 8, Iss. 3, 1999.
  3. ^ Freberg, L. Discovering biological psychology. 2nd. Wadsworth Pub Co, 2009. 251. Print.

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