Monday, December 17, 2012

Obituary: Peter Dews; Studied Effects of Medicine on Behavior

Not long after Peter Dews became an instructor at ­Harvard Medical School in 1953, the head of pharmacology suggested that he acquaint himself with famed psychologist B.F. Skinner, who was also teaching at the university. “I’m ashamed to say that I was not aware of Skinner or his work; I’d never had any contact with psychology,” Dr. Dews said in a 1995 interview for the ­Center for the Study of the ­History of Neuropsycho­pharmacology. “It was very apparent to me, from the moment I stepped ­into the lab, that the techniques were of great interest and the main reason was that they were so familiar,” he said, adding that “it was love at first sight.” Dr. Dews, who in the 1950s helped lay the groundwork for the emerging field of behavioral pharmacology with his series of articles “Studies on Behavior,” died Nov. 2 in Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was 90 and lived in Weston, where he moved two years ago after 50 years in Newton. more

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