In the Middle Ages, people were more immature

Soul then and now: The Psychology of the Middle Ages

look in the past
  1. There were both differences and similarities between the psyche of our ancestors in the Middle Ages and ours today.

  2. To determine differences, psychologists and historians use an ethnological approach: They ask how today's cultures differ cognitively and emotionally.

  3. There is strong evidence that culture shapes some basic ways people think and perceive and how they experience and express feelings. There could be similar differences to the culturally "distant" Middle Ages.

When memory itself loses something, as it happens when we forget something and when we try to remember it again, where else than in memory do we look then? And if something other than what we are looking for is presented to us there, we reject it until we find what we are looking for. And if we find it, then we say: "There it is"; we wouldn't say it if we didn't know, and we wouldn't know if we didn't remember. But we had forgotten! Or was it not completely forgotten, but rather a part of it remained in our memories [...]? This is what happens when we see a known person in front of our eyes or imagine ourselves in our minds, but cannot remember his or her name, which we have forgotten.

What Church Father Augustine von Hippo (354-430) describes in his "Confessions" should be familiar to anyone who has ever met an acquaintance on the street and couldn't remember his name: the amazement that he correct name doesn't come to mind - but we can say with certainty whether the possibilities that come to mind are right or wrong. So we still know the name, but we cannot recall it from memory. Despite its proud age of around 1600 years, the text therefore seems quite modern from a psychological perspective ...

This article is contained in Brain & Mind 7/2018