Dr. Emilio Mira y López

Emilio Mira y López

Emilio Mira y Lopez is considered to be the most outstanding psychiatrist and psychologist of the Spanish speaking world in the 20th century.

Moreover, in 1968, historians Annin, Boring, and Watson published  the results of a study (*) aimed at finding the most influential authors in the history of psychology between 1600 and 1967. In a list of 538 names, only two Spanish scientists were  mentioned: Santiago Ramon y Cajal and  Emilio Mira y López.

(*) Published in "Journal of the history of behavorial sciences", 1968, N. 4, Title: Important psycologists, 1600-1967. Authors: Edith L. Annin, Edwin G. Boring (Harvard University) and Robert I. Watson (University of New Hampshire).



Dr. Mira y Lopez was born in Santiago de Cuba on October 24, 1896. His father, a Spanish military physician who specialised in tropical diseases, had been sent to the island, and was stationed  there with his  wife at that time. Two years later, in 1898, following the defeat of the Spanish Army in Cuba, the family moved back to Spain. After a brief stay in La Coruña, they established their residence in Barcelona in 1903. For that reason, Dr. Mira y Lopez grew up in Catalonia and always considered himself, and was  considered, as a Catalan.

In 1917, at the age of 20, he received his medical degree with extraordinary honours from the University of Barcelona. In 1923 he was  also awarded his doctor's degree with extraordinary honours from the University of Madrid.

His role in the introduction and development of modern professional guidance and selection in Spain was decisive. The Government Institute that he led in Barcelona from 1926 to 1938 became famous throughout  Europe. He also translated the main works of German psychiatry - regarded at that time as the best of Europe - into Spanish and spread knowledge of psychoanalytic theories. His book "The Psychoanalysis", published  in "Monografies Mediques" in Barcelona in July 1926, was one of the first on the subject published in the country.

In 1933, he was elected to occupy the first professorship of psychiatry created at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, thus becoming the first chairman of this speciality in the history of Spanish Universities.

Dr. Mira y Lopez was president of a number of International Congresses on Psychology and Psychotecnics. Especially outstanding were his scientific works the "Manual of Psychiatry", the  "Manual of Juridical Psychology" and his "Myokinetic Psychodiagnosis" test (PMK), which was presented at the Royal Society of Medicine, in London in 1939. This test has generated since then more than 300 studies and doctoral thesis all over the world, and is still being successfully used in many countries. Its main quality is the guaranteed veracity of the answers, since the person under examination is unable to control them. The test  is therefore able to detect, among many other personality traits, potential aggression in individuals.

During the Spanish Civil War, the Catalan Government named Dr. Mira y Lopez Director of the Institute of Professional Adaptation for Women (preparing women for taking on the jobs of men who were at the front line) and later, in 1938, the Ministry of National Defence named him Chief of Psychiatric Services of the Republican Army.

After the Republican defeat in February 1939 and two months exile in France, he moved with his family to London, where he received a fellowship from Maudsley Hospital. There he completed work on  his test and  presented to the psychiatric section of the Royal Society of Medicine. With the beginning of the Second World War, he travelled to America. Thus, after an extensive tour of conferences and lectures at the main Universities in the Americas, he settled in Argentina, working as a psychiatrist in a private sanatorium and being invited to give courses at different schools of the University of Buenos Aires.

In 1942, Dr. Mira y Lopez was invited by the Academy of Medicine of New York, as a "Salmon Lecturer" following his election as "scientist of the year" for his contributions  to the field of Psychiatry.

In 1943, he was appointed Director of Psychiatric Services and Mental Hygiene in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. Shortly after, in 1944 he was appointed by the Ministry of Education of the Uruguayan Government to set up and manage an institute of Professional Guidance in Montevideo.

In 1945, the government of the state of São Paulo in Brazil appointed him to teach technical training in professional Guidance to future civil servants. The success of this course resulted in  Dr. Mira y Lopez being invited by the Getulio Vargas Foundation, the most important foundation in Brazil, to become Founding Director of the Professional Guidance and Selection Institute in Rio de Janeiro.

For the next 18 years, until he passed away, Dr. Mira y Lopez worked intensively, creating branches of the Institute in different Brazilian cities. He travelled frequently, invited by different Latin American Universities as well as European congresses.

He was named honorary member of many Psychology and Psychiatry associations throughout Central and South America.  His books were regularly published in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and  his articles where distributed in many Latin American newspapers by the Prensa Latina  ( Latin Press) Agency.

His many other activities included:

1955: named Vice-president for the Atlantic Region of the Inter-American Psychology Association. 1958: Invited to reorganise the Department of Psychology of the Central University of Venezuela. 1960: named by  Unesco as expert in Experimental Psychology teaching courses at the National University of La Plata (Argentina). 1962: invited by Unesco to attend international seminar on scientific psychology in Caen (Normandy, France).

In 1964, after conducting an intensive course on medical psychology at the Medical School of the National University of Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina), Dr. Mira y Lopez suffered a second myocardial  attack.  He  subsequently passed away a month and a half later, on February 16, 1964.

Emilio Mira y Lopez left behind generations of teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists and psycho-technicians, educated through his teaching, theories, his many courses and conferences, and his  more than thirty  publications (many of which are still published in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.)

In Spain, he remained unknown during many years of the Franco dictatorship. It was only thanks to the courageous attitude of Dr. Juan Obiols, head of the department of psychiatry of the  University of Barcelona,  that a succession of acts acknowledging his work were organised. In 1972 Dr. Obiols organised a gathering of the most prominent Spanish psychiatrists to pay homage to Dr. Mira y Lopez, and dedicated the first issue of his  department review to him.

Among the many subsequent acts of dedication were the inauguration of a square with his name in Barcelona in 1993, the publication of a book about his life and work, and several commemorative  acts to mark the centenary of his birth in 1996 in Barcelona and Madrid. The Schools of Psychology and Medicine of both cities and the Catalan Government participated in these events. Other events have included the publication of a letter of recognition signed by more than 200 authorities and institutions representing the world of psychiatry, medicine and culture; the publication of his last lectures by the University of Barcelona and the UNED of Madrid; and  a dedication in his memory at the first Catalan Assembly of Mental Health in February 1999. Finally a commemorative plaque was unveiled in December 1999 on the building where he lived in Barcelona, before going into exile. This plaque was presented jointly by the Catalan Assembly of Mental Health and the Association of Medical Doctors from Barcelona.

Before closing, we would like to call attention to the naming "Dr. Mira y López", in June 2003, by the Provincial Government of Barcelona, of the Healthcare Centers of his ownership sitted in the Torribera Enclosure, in the town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, neighboring the capital city. These cover both Mental Health and Public Health services. Moreover, we wish to mention the publication by the said authority of two books, one containing Prof. Mira's last lecture before his death, and the other giving a complete information about his life and works, based on the contents of the present web.


Main contributions.-

1. He rised Spanish psychology to the level of the best of occidental psychology through the introduction in his publications of experimental psychology, juridical psychology, as well as the  works of the most prominent German psychiatrists and the psychoanalytical theories of Freud and Jung.

Note: His doctoral thesis, awarded an Extraordinary Doctorate Award by the University of Madrid in 1922, was entitled "Somatic correlations of mental work", and was the first piece of work  on experimental  psychology done in Spain. The  "Manual of Juridical  Psychology" published in 1935, was not only one of the first of its type to appear in Europe, but was also the  first and only to be published in Spain until 1980.

Dr. Mira y Lopez's book,"La Psychoanalisis", published in 1926 by "Monografies Mediques" in Barcelona, was the first on this  subject in Catalunya, and one of the first on the subject in  Spain.
He protected the Jewish  psychoanalysts that escaped from the Nazis in Central Europe  in the  1930's, helping them to stay in Barcelona. He helped the spread of their psychoanalytical methods.  These were introduced in psychiatric institutions under his care. He was a European pioneer in the introduction of group therapy at a private clinic in Sant Just Desvern in 1930.

2. He introduced and developed Professional Guidance in Spain and headed the institute that became famous throughout Europe.

Note: He invented tests, questionnaires and apparatus that are still being used, including the "perceptotakimetro", for the screening of drivers, and the "existereometro" precursor of the Psychodiagnostic Myokinetic test.

3. He was the first University professor of Psychiatry in Spain, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Note: As such, he was part of the team of examiners for the contest to fill the  first  professorship on the subject, created later in Madrid.

4. He was a keen supporter of psychosomatic unity, and amplified this vision to include the psycho-bio-social concept of men. He pointed out the importance of the family in the maintenance of neurosis, being a  pioneer of family therapy in Spain, and at a more advanced stage, the importance of the social milieu. He stated "There cannot be a healthy individual within a sick society". This explains his interest in getting  the medical world involved in finding solutions to social problems, by seeking to influence Government agencies and the country's legislation.

Note: After refering to the 100,000 children who die of hunger in Brazil every year he said:  "Social medicine has then, not only to act, to fight to spread knowledge in order to avoid illness through preventive hygiene, but also to influence directive and legislative organisations helping them to respond to the essential problem, which is to assure the vitality of new generations. We shouldn't have to regret this enormous number of weak, unproductive individuals, some of whom end up in hospitals, others in prisons and others in the cemetery. We should take a direction which encourages physicians to get out of their offices, their hospitals and merge with the real life of their country."(Psychology and Medicine, page 130).

5. He introduced a new vision of medicine, defining the patient as: "a person who suffers or causes suffering to others" and medicine itself as "the science whose goal is the elimination of human  suffering." He considered somatotherapy (body therapy) together with psychotherapy (mind therapy) as a unit. He saw health, or biological normality as the most perfect dynamic equilibrium obtainable between the properties of a being, and the best possible efficacy obtainable in its reactions."  Neither of the two isolated attitudes by themselves are effective, as human beings always require integrated treatment: Medicine requires a constant and adequate utilisation of both resources: the psychological tools as well as the biochemical and physicochemical tools.

Note: "Integral medicine requires the adequate and constant combination of  all therapeutic forms and resources, rightly managed and combined to treat the individual case.  If the general physician has so far disdained the use of scientific psychotherapy, let us not commit that same error by proclaiming it an independent discipline, by which we would perpetuate the Cartesian  dualist attitude, which has done so much harm in recent centuries to the progress of science." (“Manual de Psicoterapia”, p.33)

6. Dr. Mira y Lopez unified or combined medicine with psychology, considering psychiatry as a branch of both, especially concerned with abnormal cases or, according his own definition, with  "morbid perturbations of the activities of the psyche aiming at correcting them". Psychiatric physicians must then first learn psychology, in order to be first clinical psychologists, since  knowledge of normal cases should precede the study of abnormal cases, because the abnormal must be understood starting from the point of view of normality.

Note: To understand the importance of  this, it is sufficient to say that the XXI edition  of the dictionary of the Spanish Real Academy (1992) still gives a definition of Psychology as " Part of the philosophy that treats the soul, its faculties and operation".

7. Dr. Mira y Lopez produced a detailed study of psychoanalysis, delineating three fundamental dimensions: psychoanalysis as an explorative method, as a doctrine and as a therapy. As an explorative method, he  considered most valuable the technique of determined associations of Jung -a technique that he perfected- also giving value to his theory of the collective unconscious. As a  doctrine, he didn't completely agree with the  theory of the libido and the scarce role assigned to the ego, along with its pessimistic view of man and society. And, with regard to the efficiency of the therapeutic method, although he recognised the importance of having demolished the censure of the conscious mind, and recommending its application in many cases, he was strongly critical of other areas of the theory.

But, as Dr Mira y Lopez said "this does not obstruct the enormous  positive influence of psychoanalysis within the wider frame of scientific psychology", whereby Freud, instead of following the suggested route of traditional clinical orientation, advancing from symptom to illness,  focused on the need to retreat from the symptom to the conflict that had originated it and to the personality suffering the symptom. Without this Freudian influence, today's psychosomatic medicine wouldn't exist.

8. Dr. Mira y Lopez proposed and practised numerous improvements in psychiatric treatment  searching the well-being of patients. He was one of the first psychiatrists to observe and describe self-  government and organisation among patients after he observed abandoned patients organising themselves efficiently to help and take care of each other,  after the exodus of many health care and hospital workers in the Spanish Civil War.

9. Dr. Mira y Lopez created the only known personality test that guarantees that the subject is unable to modify the sincerity of his answers. This test is 100% reliable, since answers are obtained under technical conditions that exclude voluntary control. Answers come from the natural tendencies anchored in one of the most profound areas of the psyche; the miopsyche,(from the Greek word mio, muscle). The psychiatric  diagnosis is established through the peculiarities of certain movements performed by the subject, hence the name Psychodiagnosis Myokinetic. This psychological diagnosis through muscular movements (also known as PMK from  its Spanish name Psicodiagnóstico Miokinético) was seen by Dr. Mira as his major contribution to science.

10. He promoted the requirement that judges should be aware of psychology as well as the importance of preventing rather than punishing crime.

11. His contribution to psycho-pedagogy includes many lectures and numerous publications. He believed in the need to teach morality and ethics to children and the profound importance of education in  contributing to the construction of a better society.

12. In all his fields of research, he studied in depth all schools and authors, taking the best contributions of each. He was in that sense inclined to adopt an eclectic rather than dogmatic approach. His work united scientific rigor with clarity of thought and language in his expositions.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mira y Lopez passed away at the age of 67. At the time of his death, he had just  begun the process of piecing together  the body of his scientific thought in one volume.  Sadly, this work was never completed, but the most complete study of Dr. Mira y Lopez and his work to date is the book by Dr. L.M. Iruela, published by the University of Barcelona.


His work.-

To catalogue and explain all of Dr. Mira y Lopez's work is a difficult task, since all of those who have studied it, point out the spread of interests and activities Dr. Mira y Lopez cultivated  throughout his  life. In this respect, professor Lafuente states:
"We cannot do less than acknowledge the quantity and quality of his accomplishments. Dr. Mira y Lopez was a medical doctor, a  psychologist and psychiatrist, as well  as a professor of diverse subjects. He taught on many courses and conferences; wrote numerous pieces of scientific work, excellent manuals and books for the  general public. He Invented psycho-technique instruments for  professional selection and orientation. He promoted the development of this field of professional orientation, at two important institutions: The Institute for Professional Orientation of Barcelona, and the ISOP of Rio de  Janeiro, Brazil.

He founded Institutes of great importance such as "La Sageta", and the "Brazilian Association of Psychotechniques. He organised international congresses, created and edited  scientific  reviews, and achieved well-deserved international recognition of his work. Should we consider then his trajectory as a superficial multiplication of tasks? Beneath this apparent dispersion, nonetheless, we recognise the  existence of a fundamental unity. We can safely say that Dr. Mira was above all, a psychologist. That is, psychology was the strong nucleus of his vocation, and it is his  activity in this field that gives meaning to the  others".

Lafuente goes on to state in a different text:
" In one way or another, all of Dr. Mira's work centres on the human being, whom he conceived as a being  of enormous structural  complexity, with an indisputable functional unity".

In fact, the breadth of his work is not dispersed, since it was always coherently directed toward one objective: the search for the harmony and well being of the individual (his integral psychophysical health),  immersed in its social milieu.

His biographer, Dr. Luis Iruela says:
" For Dr. Mira. the psychological emerges from the physiological and reaches its plenitude in the social, in the adaptation of men to the world that surrounds him,  following a path of increasing complexity".

The two opinions are not contradictory, but complementary. To better understand this, it is necessary to take into account the influences on him in his youth:

His attendance as a student (1914-17), at the laboratory of the School of Physiology of the University of Barcelona, under the direction of Augusto Pi Sunyer who, along with Ramón Turró, represented at that  moment positivist thinking in Catalunya. This helped him to shape the use of a positive methodology, a genetic and evolutionary vision of organisms, as well as a unitary and functional conception of the same. Both  scientists supported Dr. Mira's firm ideas about the psychophysical unity of the individual and gave him a formal base from which to fuse physiology and psychology within medicine with the objective of the well-being of the  individual.

At the same time, his translations of the work of prestigious German psychologists and psychiatrists also awakened his interest in the human psyche. Both influences determined the theme of his  doctoral thesis,  presented at the University of Madrid in 1922 on " The somatic correlations of mental work" which was the first work on experimental psychology done in Spain.

However, his work was not confined to this area. The study of Freud's work, directly from the original German, convinced him, in spite of his disagreement on certain aspects, of the importance of the  psychoanalytic theories.
This led him to write one of the first Spanish pieces of work on the subject: "La Psychoanalisis" edited by "Monografies Mediques" in Barcelona, in 1926. This was the first of several studies that he wrote.

He considered the main Freudian contribution to be the breaking of the traditional clinical method, which advanced from symptom to lesion (without care about the causes of that lesion) and to have substituted it with the need to go back from symptom to conflict that had generated it and to individual that lived and felt it. He thus credits the Freudian influence in the development of psychosomatic medicine.

We finally need to mention his humanitarian interests at a social level, which were awakened during his visits to the poor neighbourhoods of Barcelona as a medical student.  These led him  to be one of the founders of the Socialist Union of Catalunya in 1923 and to teach free courses to workers at the Popular Encyclopaedic Ateneo of Barcelona. This interest not only persisted, but increased throughout his life, as his words late in his life indicate: "we cannot attain healthy minds in a sick society" and that the old saying "mens sana in corpore sano" (healthy mind in a  healthy body) should be reversed to "mens sana in societas sana" (healthy mind in a healthy society).

Briefly: Dr. Mira has left a strong thread of his name in all the fields he cultivated, including all aspects and branches of psychiatry and psychology. For him, there was only one important theme: - the study  of men with the aim of attaining maximum state of health and well being. Towards the end of his life, he widened the concept of psychosomatic medicine to include integral or eubiatric medicine, (from the Greek eu, well-being and bios, life), the medicine that teaches how to live well. He arrived at the conclusion that if health comes from the harmonic functioning of all the organs, including the psyche, then all sciences that relate to the well being of men should be included in the field of medicine. Thus, integral medicine would require the collaboration of physicians, hygienists, lawyers, teachers, economists, sociologists and politicians to create the social conditions under which men could lead healthy, happy lives.

"Pragmatic man of science and idealist at the same time", as Dr. Lafuente defines him, he dreamed of a future in which the human living condition would reduce to a minimum, cases of  suffering and  mental maladjustment.  As Dr. Mira states in his preface to his "Manual of Psychotherapy", " It is not enough to console, we have to fight bravely for the human  personality to confront pain and suffering with something more than passive resignation.  We only have one war to declare: the war against unhappiness and death."



Dr. Mira's interest in Psychology started early in his life, as a result of his studies in medicine. The influence of well known physiologist Augusto Pi Sunyer in whose laboratory he  collaborated, first as a student and after as assistent professor, contributed to the life-long development of his ideas concerning the functional unity of organisms and led him to conceive the human being as a psychophysical unity. This explains why he considered medicine and psychology as one, since the mission of the physician is to cure a human being, not only a physical body, or a psyche.

Dr. Mira believed that there is no psychological alteration without physiological alteration, and vice-versa.  Both always happen simultaneously, and as a unit, even though in some cases one might be predominant over the other.  On the other hand, the factors  that influence a  person are not only endogenous, but also exogenous, and for this reason the social environment must always be considered. In 1955 he defined psychology:
"Today, psychology is  interested in studying the behaviour of  human beings, both internally and externally. It occupies itself both with personal activities and the subjective aspect of the person or ego. But the individual  doesn't live isolated, he belongs to a group. He suffers  influences and in turn influences his environment These conflictive forces have a direction; a vector; for that reason, psychology can also be defined as the study of biological vectorial dynamism".

As Iruela states: "For Dr. Mira, the psychological emerges from the physiological and reaches plenitude in the social, in the adaptation of man to the world that surrounds him, following a course of  increasing complexity."

With respect to the human personality, he had dynamic, integral and evolving concepts which coincided with those of Stern, stating that the individual psycho-physiological totality that  characterises all  organisms, adopts, in the case of human beings, the form of an individual unit that acts intentionally, and is auto and hetero referent. It lives and feels alive.

In other words:  all live creatures have psychological  activity, since their energetic manifestation is self regulated and has rhythm and intention, but we don't know if all live organisms have "awareness of existence"
Only human beings are capable of having a  clear personal boundary of their personal content, capable of giving space to an opponent between them and the exterior world, between the  ego and the non-ego, of  living facing the world, and not in it or with it.

Dr. Mira would say that both the personalogy of Stern and modern psychiatry converged in pointing out the importance of the evolutive study of personal integration. It is only by following the psychological  life of the subject step by step (thanks to a carefully obtained social scientific biography), that it will be possible to trace the scheme of his personality. This concept of personality takes into account both endogenous  factors (physical constitution, temperament and intelligence) and exogenous ones, (the experience of learned situations) in a dynamic and evolutive synthesis, with the end result the formation of character.

Thus, personality would be, as conceived by Dr. Mira, the harmonious meeting of three fundamental instances: intelligence, temperament and character, regulated by a forth one, the ego. Intelligence, in turn,  would be the integral result of the activity of the cognitive functions; temperament, the result of the activity of the affective functions, and character, the result of conative functions (those voluntary activities that  are initiated by intention and materialise in action).
All these functions relate to each other forming the successive phases of a psychological cycle, which, starting with sensoperception and ending in action or  conduct, represents the basic element of mental functioning in humans. In the human being, at each moment many of these cycles exist superimposed which contributes to give an idea of reality, continuity and unity in each  individual.

In summary:
Psychology needs to be approached from an integral, functional, dynamic-evolutive, pragmatic point of view. It is not only impossible to separate person and organism, conscience and conduct, but equally impossible to separate an individual from the social groups with which he has lived and lives now. In other words, it is not possible to understand the I, without the You with which it maintains relationships. Only an integral, dynamic, existential and social psychology will be useful and adequate to our actual scientific knowledge.

Psychology and Medicine.-

Dr. Mira y Lopez admitted diverse classifications of psychology, depending on the point of view being used. Taking the criteria of practical application, he distinguished medical psychology, educational, industrial, juridical, social, etc. In all of these areas the presence of psychology is indispensable. In the case of medical psychology, it would almost be a redundancy, since medicine in its involvement in curing a person integrates not only physiology, but also psychology. And Dr, Mira states: "We can say that Medical Psychology is to psychotherapy (psychical therapy) as human physiology is to somatotherapy (physical therapy) : the obliged antecedent".

Finally, it is important to emphasise that he considers psychiatry a medical psychology occupied with abnormal cases. His biographer, L.M. Iruela says that Dr. Mira was clearly open to all  possible influences  that he used in a personal and original way:  he had a scientific attitude free of prejudice and a sincere desire to extract common points of view from the diverse psychological opinions and to make them converge by  finding common points.

Evaluation of psychoanalysis within psychology.-

Dr, Mira distinguished in psychoanalysis three clearly differentiated fundamental dimensions; a method of exploration, a doctrine and therapeutic.

As a method of exploration:
He valued this method as being able to reach the most intimate feelings of the patient by destroying the wall of the conscience censure. Nonetheless, he didn't accept the technique of free interpretations or the interpretation of dreams, completely, since it can be conditioned by the therapist; in other words, it depends on who analyses the patient. He was more interested in Jung's method of determined associations, to the point of not only using habitually but also creating some improvements that perfected it. Dr Iruela says: " the psychoanalytical techniques are for Dr. Mira a form of support for his own ways of accessing the unconscious mind. In this sense, This reminds us that the Myokinetic test offers an alternative to psychoanalysis by overcoming the main objection he had about it, which is the use of verbal material in the exploration"

As a doctrine:
Dr. Mira y Lopez saw psychoanalysis from a positivist point of view. He didn't agree with the theory of the libido, or with the poor valuation of the Ego as presented by Freud, a weak toy,  prisoner of the powerful forces of the Superego, the Id, and external reality. He stated: "it corresponds to the ego a much bigger responsibility and power than that given to it by the Freudian doctrine".  Nor did he support the important role Freud assigned to the superego in the formation of a moral conscience in the child. With regard to the general Freudian vision of men and life, which was negative and pessimistic, it provoked Dr. Mira's rejection, as contrary to his positivist view of men in which he trusts that humanity is advancing toward material and spiritual progress.

As a therapeutic method:
The first problem he encounters with psychoanalysis is its duration and high cost, stating that we would need an army of Freudian psychotherapists to attend to a medium sized population. Also, "the percentage of cures with psychoanalysis is approximately the same as that obtained in psychiatric hospitals with the use of faster and more efficient methods.

He accurately criticised the core  of Freudian psychotherapy (transference) concluding that it results in a convenient way for the therapist to enjoy his success and excuse his failings, and adds that  " psychoanalysis is clearly immoral in the sense that it does everything to promote this transference and then states it can be stopped when it is no longer therapeutically useful."

Merits of Psychoanalysis.-

Dr. Mira states that none of these negative points contradict its positive contributions. Psychoanalysis has contributed to the destruction of the rationalism that dominated the fields of  European philosophy  and psychology at the end of XIX century, as well as the voluntarism doctrines of kantian origin, favouring a critique of the excessive evaluation of the ratio. From a therapeutic point of view, it has put more emphasis on the study of the patient globally than in the diagnosis and treatment of its symptoms:
"Instead of following the road that the anatomo-clinic method advised, which went from symptom to injury, Freud stated the need  to retreat from symptom to pre-existent conflict and to the person suffering. Without this Freudian influence, present psychosomatic medicine would not have been possible."

Juridical Psychology.-

In 1932, Dr. Mira published his "Manual of Juridical Psychology" with materials from his experience at the Institute for Professional Guidance under his direction, and notes from a course about legal medicine he had taught at the University of Barcelona School of Law. He linked juridical psychology with psychiatry and psychology, signalling as his basic objective the prevention of delinquency and the social rehabilitation of those who had already committed crimes. It is directed at Judges, with the aim of providing them with data and knowledge about psychology, to help make their work more effective.

It was one of the few books published on the subject in Europe, and the most complete manual of its kind.
It was re-published in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1945 with several re-editions until 1975. It was also translated into French, Portuguese and Italian.

According to Dr. Federico Munné, doctor of Law and professor of Social Psychology, the approach presented in the book has not been bettered.

He finds a disgrace that it  was forbidden by the Franco regime at the end of the Spanish Civil War, thus preventing it being known by post war generations in Spain. Interest in the subject was renewed after Franco's death in 1975.

The book contains (in  chapter VII) "The gathering of criminal evidence", and in chapter VIII, " Psychology of testimony", a description of the main international methods used at the time, among them, the  psychoanalytical test of Abraham, Rossanoff and Jung; the "lie detector" of Larson;  "the method of expression of moving" of Luria, and its improved version created by Dr. Mira, called the  "monotonómetro", which consisted  in a graphic register of emotional reactions and control of movements. Unfortunately, even though none of these methods could cause any harm, the text, reproduced as a report, by requeriment of the Republican Government, was used by the Franco regime in a campaign to discredit Dr. Mira, saying they were given to police as techniques for the torture of political prisoners.

Psycho-technique and Professional Orientation.-

While the psychology studies in Madrid were geared towards the neurophysiological research of Ramon y Cajal, Simarro or Lafora, in Catalunya psychology took a practical stand, being applied to the study of human labour in the search for a plan to obtain better efficiency in the world of the worker This followed the modern orientations of sociology and economics. This was one of Dr. Mira's most successful fields of work, when as head of department of Psychometry from 1919, he was appointed director of the Institute  of Professional Orientation (IPO) in 1926, which at the time was under the School of Labour of the municipal government.

This interest dated from his early life. In 1921, at the age of 24, he had already been chosen as Organising Secretary of the II International Congress of Psychotechnique in Barcelona, after attending and contributing scientific papers at previous congresses in Geneva, and having visited, as IPO delegate, experimental psychology laboratories in France, England, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

Under his direction, the centre came to be  considered as a model in Europe, and  for that reason in 1930 it was decided to host the VI International Conference of Psychotechnique again in Barcelona, and to offer the presidency to Dr. Mira. In 1931, the IPO, which had central government control since 1928, was transferred to the Catalan government following the establishment of the Republic, and was named the "Institut Psicotecnic de la Generalitat", extending even more its action fields.

The widely ranging research continued during the Civil War, but everything came to an end with Franco's troops entry into Barcelona in 1939.

Dr. Mira's fame followed him into exile from Spain. In 1944  he was given a  contract by the Ministry of Education of Uruguay to found an institute for Professional Guidance in Montevideo. In 1946 he was invited by the Getulio Vargas Foundation and the Brazilian Government to establish a similar  institute in Rio de Janeiro, which he directed for 18 years until his death.

At the "Instituto de Seleção e Orientação Profesional", he revived research he had been carrying out in Spain, finally being appointed Secretary General of the Psychotechnique Brazilian Association in 1950, and Vice-President for the Atlantic Region of the Inter-American Society of Psychology.  The Brazilian government entrusted him not only with the selection of drivers for public vehicles, but also with the  selection of those aspiring to enter a diplomatic career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Mira defines professional orientation as "a scientific action, complex and persistent with the aim of attaining that each individual practices a type of work in which he can with  minimal effort obtain the maximum profit and satisfaction for himself and for society". Or, more exactly "the scientific adjustment of the "doing" to the "being". He emphasised the fact that what we try to determine is not a specific profession but a "type of work" which can be equally found in quite different occupations. In an inverse way, it is also possible to find professions that contain several types of different activities.

These definitions clearly show his interest in the human being, as when he refers to the "profit and self-satisfaction" of the individual , quite far from the cold and   strictly utilitarian  spirit of Taylor's school. In the prologue to his book, "Psychological factors of productivity", he says: "The progress of industrialisation is not enough; advances in human industrialism are also necessary."

He states the difference between professional orientation and selection the following way: "We could easily define them by saying that the former seeks the best job for each man, and the latter the best man for  each job, Hence, the first tries to favour the individual, and the second, economic profit."

Since there is nothing more distressing for a professional than being considered not suitable for a job or position and not having the aptitude or appropriate skills, it is necessary to prevent  these  situations. That is one of the main services offered by professional orientation: to avoid the discovery "a posteriori" of the lack of the individual's skills. But this does not mean  that professionals with a minimum of aptitudes can be classified in a hierarchical way and selected according to the differences compared to the average. Thus, professional selection becames positive instead of negative because instead of finding who is not qualified to fill in a certain position, it points to who is better or most suitable and, at the same time, who is better suited for other positions.

Besides the  Myokinetic test, (initially conceived in use for professional orientation and perfected later to be a personality test ), Dr. Mira developed a new type of classification of intelligence. He considered that the majority of metric scales for intelligence only calculated the mean value of conceptual, perceptive and effective intelligence or capacity for self-control, establishing an average or mean value that would be called factor G or "General intelligence". This information is not enough for professional guidance, so he adopted a more empirical viewpoint, trying to find the mean value of three groups of intellectual correlations. This he calls mechanical or space intelligence, verbal intelligence and abstract intelligence.  Their average value would be the factor G.

It is important to point to the fact that since 1965 the descriptions of analysis of work promoted by the OIT were centred in this triple differentiation.  This is a decisive  contribution to the field of psychology with which the apparently insurmountable confrontation between the multi factorial stand of Thurstone and the multi modal stand of Thorndike was overcome.

His fundamental work on this subject is the “Manual de Orientación Profesional” published in Buenos Aires by Editorial Kapelusz in 1947.


In 1931, when the Institute for Professional Orientation directed by Dr. Mira became Psychotecnique Institute of the Catalan Government, its activities were widened, the number of collaborators  increased, and a  psychopedagogy department was created.  One of its aims was to contact with pedagogic renovation movements of that time in Catalunya, (Escola Nova) and to provide them with the  necessary foundation in psychology.
Thus, Dr. Mira established a fruitful relationship with the College of Philosophy Seminar of Pedagogy, founded by the philosopher Joaquim Xirau in 1930, to provide teachers with the necessary knowledge to carry on their  work. Xirau, who was a good friend of Dr. Mira's, was appointed vice-director of the institute.

Together, they created the journal,  "Review of Psychology and Pedagogy", the first issue published in February  1933.  In an article published in the fourth issue, Dr. Mira used the term psychopedagogy instead of pedagogic  psychology, or psychology of education for the first time. The journal continued to 1937, disappearing  during the Civil War. In 1933, Dr. Mira was elected to occupy the first professorship of psychiatry at the School of Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and was also named professor for the School of  Philosophy and Pedagogy , where he taught three subjects: Child psychology,  Child psychopathology and Educative Psycho technique.

In previous years, as professor for summer school (1931-32), he had already taught classes and given conferences on different subjects at these schools.

But his interest in psychology of education was not new. In 1924, he had translated the work of Otto Lipmann, director of the Institute for Applied  Psychology of Berlin, "Psychology for  teachers" from German. His ideas about the subject were similar to the work of Claparède and Decroly, and most important, they coincided widely with the ideas of the "Escola Nova" that where also his own.  So, he established links between his Institute and the new currents of foreign psychopedagogy, especially with the Institute J.J. Russeau, of Sciences of Education of the University of  Geneva, directed by Claparède.

As Director of the institute, he had always tried to prevent it being converted into a bureaucratic  office, by always aiming to transform professional guidance into a real science, serving the individual,  according to social and human progress and rooted in positivist ideas and socialist expression.  Since 1933, Dr. Mira had  welcomed physicians, psychologists and  psychoanalysts escaping Nazi persecution. That same year he founded, together with one of those refugees, Dr. Alfred Strauss, and a Catalan colleague, Dr.Jeroni de Moragues, the first clinic for observation and treatment of alterations in child behaviour in a Latin country. The clinic was equipped with the most modern techniques of the time, among them, an observation camera and hosted many excellent courses. This clinic was totally destroyed in 1936, in the first months of the Civil War.

Later, in South America, Dr. Mira published several books on this subject: "Evolutive psychology of the child and adolescent"; "How to study and learn" and "The child that doesn't  learn".

Psychology. Activities and positions filled.-

1919: Director of the Psychology Laboratory of the Institute for Professional Orientation and Selection of Barcelona.

1921: Secretary of the ll International Conference of Psychotechnique, Barcelona.

1923: Official reporter on the III International Conference of Psychotechnique (Milan). Reporter in the VII International Congress of Psychology in Oxford, where he is named member of the  International  Committee of Psychologists.

1926: Director of the Institute for Professional Orientation and Selection of Barcelona. Gives course on Psychoanalisis in the Academy of Medical Sciences

1927: Official reporter of the V International Conference of Psychotechnique (Utrecht), member of the directive committee of the Société International de Psychotechnique, (Paris).  Conferences  at the  Medical Society for  Psychology of Vienna. Teaches course in Psychology at the Popular Encyclopaedic Ateneo.

1928: General Secretary of the Academy and Laboratory of Medical Sciences.
Senior Editor of leading medical and neuropsychiatric journals such as Archives of Neurobiology, Medical Bulletin of Barcelona, Journal of Psychiatry, Clinical Advances, etc.

1929: Teaches course on Juridical Psychology at the School of Law of the University of Barcelona.
Summer professor of psychology at the University of Ohio, (USA). Spanish representative at the reunion of the American Society for the Advancement of Science (Chicago). Section-president in the IX International Conference of Psychology, (Yale, USA).

1930: President of the VI International Conference of Psychotechnique in Barcelona.

1931: Teaches course in Psychology at the University of Labour in Barcelona. Reporter for the VII International Conference of Psychotechnique (Moscow).
Director of the Psychotechnique Institute of the Catalan Government.

1932: President of the XI International Conference of Psychology (Copenhagen). Teaches course of Experimental Psychology at the School of Philosophy, Barcelona.

1933: Special guest and main speaker at the annual reunion of the American Society for the Advancement of Science (Section psychology) together with W.Kohler, W.Spearman, and Henry Piéron.  Founder, together  with Joaquin Xirau, of the Review of Psychology and Pedagogy.

1934: VIII International Conference of Psychotechnique, (Prague). Professor of Child Psychology and Child Psychopathology at the School of Pedagogy of the University of Barcelona.

1935: President of the Spanish League of Mental Hygiene.

1936: Named President for the I International Conference for Scientific Psychology that had to take place in Madrid, event that was cancelled due to the Civil War.

1937: Director of the Institute for Professional Adaptation of Women from the Catalan Government. Honorary President of the International League for Mental Hygiene, (Paris). Member of the Superior Cultural  Board of the Spanish Republic.

1939: Research fellow of the "British Society for protection of Science and Learning." Research projects at Maudsley Hospital and Mill Hospital in London, presented before the Royal  Academy of Sciences as a base for his test Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic.

1941: Guest professor to teach summer courses at the University of Chile. Professor of Psychology at the Free School of Superior Studies of Buenos Aires. Teaches curse of Psychotherapy at the  School of Medicine  of the University of Buenos Aires, besides other Argentine Universities.

1944: Signs a contract with the Ministry of Education of Uruguay to found and direct an Institute for Professional Orientation in Montevideo.

1945: Hired to teach courses to public functionaries of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, to form technicians in professional orientation.

1946: Named organizer and founding director for the Institute of Selection and Professional Orientation. (ISOP) of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, in Rio de Janeiro.

1947-48: Teaches courses in Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela.

1949: Named organizer and supervisor of the Service of Professional Orientation of the Department of Education of the State of Minas Gerais (Brazil).

1950: Chosen by unanimity Secretary General at the Brazilian Association of Psychotechnique

1954: Teaches intensive courses for three months at the University of Santa Clara, Cuba.

1955: Vice president for the Atlantic Region of the Inter American Society of Psychology, (Rio de Janeiro).

1956: Teaches course of Psychology at the University of Camaguey (Cuba).

1958: Invited by the University of Venezuela to reorganize during three months their department of Psychology. Reporter in the XIII Congress of the International Association of Applied Psychology.

1959: Organizer and supervisor of the Institute of Vocational Orientation of the University of Bahia (Brazil).

1960: Named Expert in Experimental Psychology by Unesco, to teach courses at the department of Psychology of the School of Humanities at the National University of La Plata, (Argentina).  Honorary member of the  Argentinean Association of Psychosomatic Medicine.

1962: Guest professor for summer courses in psychology at the University of Quito (Ecuador), and named honorary professor for the School of Philosophy at the same University. Invited to participate at the  International Seminar of Scientific Psychology of Audiovisual Media, sponsored by Unesco, in Caen (Normandy).

1963: Invited by the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Cuyo, (Mendoza, Argentina), to teach an intensive course on Medical Psychology in November.

He passes away in Brazil, in February 1964.



According to Dr. Iruela, "The uniqueness of Dr. Mira 's focussing of psychiatry within the scientific Spanish panorama consisted in starting from the psychological study of normal man to get to understand the pathological phenomena of the mind. The same way we proceed from physiology to understand pathological physiology.
The two main points of Dr. Mira's conception of psychiatry are:
a) that psychiatry is a psychology of the pathological , and
b) that psychiatry owes less to neurology than was previously thought until then".

And he illustrates his words with a transcription from the studied author:
"Today we know that any illness of any organ can produce an anomaly in mental function, and we also know that this anomaly can exist and persist without us being able to detect  a visible lesion in the nervous system.
Consequently, psychiatry is more than central neurology as previously believed; it is a  well defined discipline that needs  to be considered as a branch of psychology, the abnormal psychology".

Dr. Iruela clarifies that the fact that Dr. Mira starts from psychology to understand psychiatry doesn't mean he disputes the medical and biological character of this last discipline. Rather it would be the opposite, since for him, psychology was a branch of biology. And he gives Dr.Mira's definition of psychiatry:
"The part of medicine that studies the alterations of states of conscience and of human conduct, with the  aim of correcting them. Or, in other words, the medical speciality that struggles to attain the normal functioning (behaviour) of the individual, in order to avoid the suffering and maladjustment that result from its alteration."

In relation to psychopathology, he conceives psychopathological disturbances as the alteration of the different functions of the psyche. With respect to aetiology, Dr. Mira thinks that "a  mental diagnosis can have its origin in different causes, and vice versa, the same etiologic agent can cause different mental disturbances".

Already, in the 20's, Dr. Mira had advanced the hypothesis of the temperamental, (affective) origin of the vast majority of mental disturbances, thus, in 1946 he stated:
" The affective  aspect of the  activity of the psyche is, without doubt, the most frequently altered in cases of psychosis. This is so true, that we can even say that every alteration is, at least at the beginning, an alteration of affection".

Dr. Mira elaborated a classification of mental illness full of clarity and practicality:

    disturbances as a result of deficiencies (dementias and oligophrenias).

    disturbances in the constitutional integration of personality (psychopaties).

    morbid disturbances, (neurosis and psychosis).

He stated that these disturbances are not incompatible with each other, and can happen simultaneously or in succession in the same individual.
And he would say, "It is the complexity of symptoms, and not the pre-established classifications, usually very compulsory, that guide us in reaching a diagnosis and planning a treatment".

Dr. Mira had a special interest  in the treatment of neurosis, which he divided in two major groups:  psychoneurosis and organoneurosis. He considered the first to include those who  appear to be determined by a comprehensive psychological motivation, whereas in the second, the prevailing factor are its physical symptoms,  most  of the time localized in a specific organ or  system.

Iruela considers a valuable  contribution, Dr. Mira's emphasis on the importance of the use  of  psychotherapy in the treatment of neurosis and his strong intuition about the  equally  important  influence of the pathology of the family in maintaining neurotic symptoms. Thus, he recommended the need to have the family nucleus under the same plan of treatment,  becoming  a pioneer in family  therapy in Spain.

He established norms for psychiatric assistance using modern criteria, implementing measures to improve the care and well being of the mentally ill, both in close and opened psychiatric clinics, and recognized  the right of internal patients to lead  normal sex lives.
He was a pioneer of Child Psychiatry in Spain, founding with Alfred Strauss and Jeroni de Moragues, the "Centre for  Psychological Observation for  Children and Juveniles" of La Sageta, the first "Child Guidance clinic" in a Latin country.

As a professor of psychiatry, he implemented a new method of teaching at that time, including the active participation of students based on their clinical experience with patients.

In the Review of Psychiatry of the School of Medicine at the University of Barcelona, (Vol.XXXIV N 2 March-April  1997) Professor C. Gastó  details, one by one, the considerable number of contributions made by Dr Mira in the study of the different pathologies, and he ends with an analysis of the two volumes of the "Manual of Psychiatry" (1946) which he defines as a compendium of Mira's ideas concerning psychopathology. Professor Gastó emphasizes his interest in differential analysis or, in other words, on his belief that "not all morbid phenomena obey a unique cause", and he clarifies that  "Mira, although an integrator of theories, never tried to eliminate competitive ones". He also highlights Mira' s attitude as a clinical doctor, never ignoring badly defined or atypical  morbid forms, in the domain of the terrain of the endogenous, as well as in the terrain of abnormal reactions.

With reference to Dr. Mira's therapeutic psychiatry, Gastó says:
"Dr. Mira was probably one of the few authors of his time that knew how to systematize all the treatments available at  the time, from the  cure of Sakel (...), to his most known contributions in the field of psychoanalysis.  He also advanced a method of his own for exploration of the subconcious in psychoneurosis which he called " "onirismo barbiturico" (Mira, 1925). We cannot interpret Mira as an heterodox author, on the contrary, in fact he was a systematic integrator,  keeping  in suspense everything related with  the world of psychiatry that might require proofs and ulterior analysis".

His main contribution to this field is his "Treatise of Psychiatry" first published in Barcelona, in 1935. A second publication in two volumes was made in 1942 in Buenos Aires , by Editorial El Ateneo and in 1955, the same library published the fourth edition amplified  to three volumes, including 1.500 pages, (vol.I Medical Psychology and Psychopathology , vol. ll   Clinical Psychiatry and vol.III. Diagnostic, Assistance Treatment and Prophylaxis in Psychiatry). This last edition, the more complete, was also published in Portuguese by Editora Cientifica of Rio de  Janeiro the  following year. Several generations of Spanish and Latin American psychiatrists have studied this treatise, and it has been said that except for the differences with today's pharmacological  treatments, very little needs to be changed in order to adapt it to current psychiatry.

Other books on the subject are "Psychiatry of War" first published by Ed. Norton, New York, 1943 and translated to Spanish and published next year by Editorial Médico Quirúrgica in Buenos Aires;  "Basic Psychiatry" (292 pages) and "Compendium of Psychiatry" (452 pages), both published in Spanish by Editorial El Ateneo in Buenos Aires in 1948.

Psychiatry. Activities and positions filled.-

1925: Physician of the Psychiatric Services of the Town Council of Barcelona. Member of the Société de Clinique Mentale.

1927: Founder and co-director for the medical rest house for nervous disorders named "Bonavista" in the outsides of Barcelona.Secretary for the 33 Congress of Psychiatry and Neurology (Paris)

1932: Director-consultant for the Institute "Pere Mata" of Reus (Catalunya)

1933: Appointed by unanimity to occupy the first professorship of psychiatry created in Spain, at the University of Barcelona.
President for the Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Neurology ;  Vice-president of the Spanish Association of Neuropsychiatry. Member of the Superior Congress of Psychiatry (Madrid). Director and owner of the clinic for Child Psychiatry, "La Sageta".

1934: Director of the Psychiatric Sanatory of San Baudilio (section women). President for the Spanish League of Mental Hygiene.

1936: Reporter at the Congress for Physicians and Neurologists of French Culture celebrated in Zurich. Honorary Vice-president of the International League for Mental Hygiene, (Paris).

1938: Chief of the Psychiatric Services of the Republican Army of Spain, with military degree of lieutenant colonel while he was in services.

1939: Conferences about Psychiatry of War in the USA at the Universities of Princeton, Yale, Chicago and Washington. Guest professor at the University of Havana.

1940: Argentina, consulting psychiatrist at a private sanatorium for mentally ill. Conferences at the National University of Buenos Aires. Honorary member of the Argentine Society of Psychiatry.

1941: Guest professor for summer courses at the University of Chile.

1942: "Salmon lecturer" at the Academy of Medicine in New York, for having been elected as the more outstanding psychiatrist of the year, worldwide.
Named "fellow" of the  American Psychiatric Association. Conferences in different American universities.

1943: Named director of the Psychiatric Services and Mental Hygiene for the province of Santa Fe, Argentina.

1947: Honorary professor of psychiatry at the University of Yucatan, (Mexico), and honorary member of the Venezuelan Psychiatric Society.
Professor of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology at the ISOP,

1948: IDORT Award  de 1948, São Paulo, Brazil (received in 1949)

1954: Honorary member of the Cuban Society of Neurology and Psychiatry. Honorary member of the Society for Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery of Cordoba, Argentina.

1960: Honorary member of the Academy of Mental health of New York.

1962; Member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, New York.


Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic (PMK or Mira’s Test).-

History and name origin.-

One of the most important legacies of Dr. Mira to science, is his test for personality, initially presented before the psychiatric section of the Royal Academy of Medicine of London in October 1939, under the  title: "The Myokinetic Psychodiagnistic. A new device for detecting the cognative trends of personality".  The test was named by its author as Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic and known commonly as PMK or  Mira's test. It started to become known first  in South America during the 40's,  meanwhile his author, living successively in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, was gathering more data and perfecting it. In the 50's, it was translated and published into other languages, the most remarkable publishing done in France, by the Centre de Psicologie Appliquée de Paris, owner of the international rights. It was there where the  Editorial Paidós, from Argentina, obtained the publishing rights for Spanish language, publishing through the years several issues. During these years multiple articles, studies and doctoral theses were published about the test.

In 1989, Dr. Mira’s widow, Alice M. Galland, who had worked with him on that matter almost 20 years and continued after, published in Portuguese an extensive work collecting all the experience gathered before  and after his death, and the improvements they applied together. The work offers also a complete relation and description of each of the studies and practical experiences (almost 300) done by different scientists in different countries on the PMK, These studies in its vast majority contribute to prove its efficiency, not only in what his author had thought, but even into a wider field that includes the discovery of many diseases. The book, in two volumes, was published by editorial Vetor of São Paulo, Brazil www.vetor-editora.com.br/, and that same editorial has published the Spanish version in 2002.

Dr. Mira was looking for a test that would not be subject to fraud or simulation by the examined individual. In his own words, we will explain what it consists of and why it was named Myokinetic  Psychodiagnostic:
"I needed to associate or combine the advantages of projective tests, and tests of active and involuntary expression, to find a more solid foundation from which we could start to investigate with some certainty the typical traits of the human personality.

We think we have found that desired combination, by placing the subjects in an experimental situation in which they only would not know the goal of the  investigation, but also, they would not be capable of controlling the output or answer, since those are obtained under technical conditions that exclude voluntary  control, and allow them to be expressive of the  natural tendencies rooted in one of the most profound areas of the psyche: the myopsyche.

It is then, about establishing a psychological diagnosis through the peculiarities of certain movements performed by the subject,  hence the name given to this technique: Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic, that is, psychological diagnosis through muscular  movements." (...) "Its theoretical foundation is found in the called motor theory of  the conscience , which states that any intention or motive is accompanied by a modification of the postural tone which tend to favour the movements aimed at obtaining the objective and to inhibit the opposite movements".

Basic description of the test.-

It is a test of graphic expression whose aim is to detect what we call the "attitudinal formula" of the examined individual, or - using a more expressive although less exact example  "his  psychological skeleton", that is to say, the fundamental reaction tendencies, which constitute his peculiarities of temperament and character.

The technical principle of PMK.-

It is the following:
If we invite an individual to perform small oscillatory movements in the fundamental directions of space, without allowing him to control the extension and direction with  the eyes, we  shall observe systematic deviations of such movements in relation to the predominant muscular group. This group in turn, will indicate to us the purpose of action dominant in the subject,  within the plane of the space considered.If the individual has a dominant attitude of running away, or retracting, he will hyperextend the muscles that assure the attainment of this purpose, and thus, these  muscles, (flexors or adductors) will cause him to deviate correspondingly when put in alternative play with its opposites, (which assure attack and expansion).

The principle of Myokinetic dissociation.-

Derived from Werner Wolff’s observations of facial expression, gestures and compared movements of both body halves. Each one of us has a half of our body that is dominant (usually the right,  which corresponds  to the left hemisphere of the brain, which is where we find the speech centres.) This dominant half (left in case of left handed people), is more evolved but at the same time, more unstable, as a result of being easily  subjected to the fluctuations of tension in the individual conscience; instead, the dominated half, forgotten and barely evolved, stays practically the same from infancy through old age.

The motor  expressions of the  dominant half manifest the attitudes and present purposes, instead, those of the non dominant side, perfectly express the instinctive, temperamental and subconscious purposes and attitudes to a certain degree , permanent  but latent in the individual. (W. Wolff proposed to call "unconscious" the half of the face that is less variable).

Test technique.-

The test requires a 6 page numbered notebook where different types of sketches have to be completed. These are the following:

Lineograms - zig-zags - stairs and cycles -  chains- parallels in outside direction and vertical Us  - parallels in inside direction and sagittal Us.The individual sits  in front of a  table with a wooden board in which the pages of the test will be successively fixed.  This is done in two sessions:  in the first, the sketches up to the sagital chains are obtained and in the second, (preferably a week later), the test is concluded.When given the instructions, any mention of it being a personality test is avoided. If the person asks any questions, he is only  told that we are checking the precision and confidence of his movements.

The individual holds a pen and starts going over the sketches in the paper, holding it vertically, and is instructed to continue in spite of a screen put in front of him so he cannot see the graphics. In all of  them they go all the way to the end and back, with the right hand , then with the left and then with both simultaneously, always on an horizontal plane, but sometimes on a vertical  plane. Everyone of the figures in the test  is related to some aspect of the personality and allows, after a careful measurement in millimetres of its deviations, and comparisons with the tables of coefficients statistically obtained, the establishment of a diagnosis  that covers a wide spectrum of personal traits, both normal and pathologic, the results coinciding with those of the direct diagnosis or with those of other known tests.

The Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic was a patternized in 1949 with the attainment of linear measurements in millimetres and the angular openings with its values in grades, and in 1963, Dr. Mira,  following his wife  and collaborator, Alice Galland's advice (who since 1946 was in charge of the section of the Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic at the Institute for Professional Orientation in Rio de Janeiro, which he directed), introduced  certain modifications to the measurements of the test, which are those being used up to now days.

Practical importance of the Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic.-

For a half century now, the Myokinetic Psychodiagnostic has statistically demonstrated, mostly in Brazil where it has been most widely used, its utility in detecting personality traits both  normal and  pathological.It has even shown its utility in neurology, been able to detect intoxications, head injuries, myopathies, Parkinson's, arteriosclerosis, encephalitis, etc. It is used in the  fields of professional selection as  well as industrial psychology, clinical psychology, psychiatry and  education.

But its wider application in the social field resides in the judicial , in its proven reliability to discover the aggressive  temperament of an individual. It has been tested over and over with all kinds of trials and comparisons, between non aggressive individuals and  prisoners who have committed different crimes, finding among those examined,  the ones who had a proven criminal record, even if at the time they took the exam, they had for a while, led a life free of violence. It is unnecessary to stress the importance of its use prior to discharging prisoners.  In Brazil, it was applied for a long period of time to subjects undertaking the motor vehicle test. Those showing an aggressive temperament in the test were denied a drivers license. During all those years,  the incidence of motor-vehicle accidents, dropped considerably in the states in which it was applied.

The myokinetic psychodiagnostic in the XXl century.-

By far the most complete and detailed information existing on this test, as it was the author's intention in devising, is to be found in the book by Alice Galland, Mira y Lopez' s second wife and collaborator during the eighteen years in which the author led the Public Service Vocational Institute in Rio de Janeiro. The book was first published in Portuguese and was translated into Spanish by mid-2002. At that time it was revised and enlarged including results of studies and statistical analyses undertaken internationally posthumous to his death (see bibliography).

One of the aspects of the MKP in need of improvement was the labourious handmeasuring procedure involved in sizing up the graphic deviations that led to their interpretation and conclusions. This is why the Division of Psychology , Tests and Evaluation of the Department of Psychology of the University of Barcelona donated a part of its space for the creation of the "Mira y Lopez Laboratory" to Dr. J.M.Tous, Psychology Professor and former Dean of the Department (jmtous@ub.edu).

Prof. Tous, with the essential and generous technical support of Engineer Alberto Viadé, together with a small team of researchers , backed by a grant from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, have succeeded in these last five years in digitalizing the test results. The advance made possible by this technical achievement has permitted to make an enormous leap in the rate of speed at which results of the test can be interpreted.

In the beginning, the digitalization made use of the scanner, which was useful and valid but, shortly afterwards, the digitalization was done directly in a board with a sensored pencil which charts the tracing of all the lines without leaving a visible trace and is hooked to a portable computer that records and calculates, through specialized programming, all tracings obtained. The test results are entered in a catalogue where are also to be found the personal data of the examinee. Dr. Tous has named the tests MKP-R (revised) and MKP-RD (revised and digitalized). The tests have been used on population samples of various types, which have served to validate its efficacy and confirm its contribution to personality psychology as a means of identifying and measuring personality traits.

On a related but different note, the similarity between the theoretical foundations of the MKP and Graphology has caught the interest of the Spanish Association of Consultant Graphologists which in 2002, under the Presidence of Dr. F.Viñals Carrera, named Dr. Mira y Lopez an Honorary Member and published in their biannual bulletin, with overseas circulation, several of the studies and recent developments on the test.

Moreover, since 2001 the Department of Continuing Education and Postgraduate studies of the University of Barcelona, into which Dr. Viñals Carrera, is coordinator of the studies on Expertise on Forensic Caligraphy and Graphopsychology,( http://www.grafologiauniversitaria.com/ ) has introduced a course on the MKP, with the collaboration of Dr. Tous and Dr. Antonio Ruiz de Azua (biologist and doctor in medicine and author of several of the test research studies). The core of the course is Dr. Mira's research and graphological homologation and administration of the latest test forms.



Books published.-

Books marked with an asterisk can be found at the following website pf Psiquiatria.com http://www.onlinepsiquiatria.com devoted to publications on-line.

"La Psicoanalisi." (in Catalan)( The Psychoanalysis)
Ed. Monografies Mediques , Barcelona, 1rst edition 1926, 2nd 1935.

"Manual de psicologia juridica"( Manual of juridical psychology)
1rst edition Ed, Salvat, Barcelona, 1932, 2nd and consecutive editions, Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1945. Portuguese edition: Ed. Agir, Rio de Janeiro, 1947, French edition: Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1958; Italian edition: Editrice Universitaria, Firenze, 1964.

"Manual de Psiquiatria" (Manual of Psychiatry)
1st. edition Ed. Salvat, Barcelona, 1935 2nd and successive . Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires,  (1943- 1955, been the last one revised and amplified in three volumes). Portuguese edition: Ed. Cientifica, Rio de Janeiro, 1944.

"Problemas psicológicos actuales" (Present psychological problems)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1940.

"Psicologia evolutiva del niño y del adolescente" (*)(Evolutive psychology from child and  adolescent)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1941.
Portuguese edition: Ed. Cientifica, Rio de Janeiro, 1946.

"Manual de psicoterapia"  ( Manual of Psychoterapy)
1rst edition, Ed. Aniceto Lopez, Buenos Aires, 1942. Reedited by Smithkline Beecham Laboratories, Barcelona, 1997.
Portuguese edition: Ed. Cientifica, Rio de Janeiro, 1949

"Los fundamentos del psicoanalisis" (The foundations of Psychoanalysis)
Ed. Americalee, Buenos Aires, 1943;
Portuguese edition: Ed Cientifica, Rio de Janeiro, 1949

"Instantáneas psicológicas" (Psychological flashes)
 Ed. Bajel, Buenos Aires, 1943."Psychiatry in War" Ed. Norton, New York, 1943;
Spanish edition: "Psiquiatria en la guerra", Ed. Médico-Quirúrgica, Buenos Aires, 1944.

"Higiene mental del mundo de posguerra" (Mental hygiene of the pos-word world)
Ed. Mundo Atlantico, Buenos Aires, 1945

"Manual de Orientacion Profesional"  (Manual of Professional Guidance)
1st  and consecutive editions: Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1947.

"El niño que no aprende" (*)  (The child that doesn't learn)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1947.

"Cuatro gigantes del alma" (*) (Four giants of the soul)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1947.
Portuguese edition: Ed. Jose Olympo, Rio de Janeiro, 1949.

"Psiquiatría básica"  (Basic Psychiatry)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1948 (292 pages)
Portuguese edition: Ed. Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, 1949.

"Como estudiar y como aprender" (*)  (How to study and to learn)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1948.

"Psicologia militar" (Military Psychology)
Biblioteca do Exército, Rio de Janeiro, 1950. There is no Spanish edition.

"Le Psychodiagnostic Miocinetique" Centre de Psychologie Appliquee, Paris, 1951,
2nd edition, 1962. Spanish edition: "Psicodiagnostico Miokinetico" (PMK), Ed.  Paidos, Buenos,  Aires, 1957. 2nd edition 1962; 6th printing, 1979. English edition:" Myokinetic Psychodiagnosis" Ed. Logo Press, New York, 1958. German edition:Ed. Hans Huber Berna, 1964.

"Psicología experimental" (Experimental psychology)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1955

"Guia de la salud mental". (Guide of Mental Health)
Ed.Oberon, Buenos Aires, 1956. Portuguese edition: Ed. Olympio, 1956.

"Compendio de Psiquiatria"  (Digest of Psychiatry)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1958 (452 pages).

"Factores psicológicos de la productividad" (Psychological factor of productivity)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1961.

"Hacia una vejez joven" (Towards a young old age)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1961. Portuguese edition:
Ed. Civilização Brasileira, Rio de Janeiro, 1961.

"As vocacões e como descobri-las". ( Vocations and how to descover  them)
Ed. Sêlo de Ouro, number 195, 1963. Rio de Janeiro. There is no spanish edition.

"Doctrinas psicoanaliticas. (exposicion y valoracion critica)." (Psicoanalytic doctrines -explanation and critic evaluation)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1963. Portuguese  edition: Fundação  Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro, 1963.

"Psicologia de la vida moderna". (Psychology of modern life)
Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1963,
Portuguese edition: Ed. Jose Olympio, Rio de Janeiro, 1963.

“Post mortem” publications.-

"Futebol e Psicologia".
Ed. Civilização Brasileira, Rio de Janeiro, 1964. There is no Spanish edition.

"El pensamiento". (The act of thinking)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1966

"Manual de psicologia general" (*)  (Manual of general psychology)
Ed. Kapeluz, Buenos Aires, 1969.


Bibliography about the author.-

Annin, E. Boring, E. and Watson, R. (1968). "Important psychologists, 1600-1967" Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences (1968), No. 4, p. 303-315.

"Archivos Brasileiros de Psicotecnica" year 16, april-september, 1964, number 2/3, from the Service of Publications of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Bernardo, Miguel, and Casas, Rafael: "Història de la Psiquiatria a Catalunya". Published by the University of Barcelona, 1983 in catalan.

Campos Avillar, Joan. "Del sueño de Irma al sueño de Mira: ¿sueños profesionales?" Ed. Plexus, Barcelona, 1990.

Campos Avillar, Joan. Caleidoscopio histórico de la SEPTG. Recuerdos, Olvidos, y Reminiscencias, o la SEPTG y "sus viejas historias". A un “psiquiatra olvidado” El Prof. Emilio Mira y López. Boletín de la SEPTG (Sociedad Española de Psicoterapia y Técnicas de Grupo) Época IV Nº Monográfico  -May 1998- p. 9-48.

Carpintero, Helio. "Historia de la psicología en España". Eudema, Madrid, 1994.

Carpintero , Helio and Lafuente, Enrique. "Emilio Mira y López, un psicólogo español entre dos mundos".   Video and didactic guide, UNED, Madrid , 1994.

García Yagüe, Juan. Emilio Mira y sus aportaciones a la orientación escolar y profesional durante la etapa española. Revista Complutense de Educación. Vol. 8, Nº 1, Madrid, 1997. p. 179-198.

Kirchner, M. La Psicología Aplicada en Barcelona (1916-1936). Tesis Doctoral . Universidad de Barcelona, 1975.

Kirchner, M. La obra de Emilio Mira en el Instituto de Orientación Profesional de Barcelona (1919-1939). Revista de Historia de Psicología, 2, 3, 225-246, 1981 Universidad de  Barcelona. Madrid, 1998.

Iruela, Luis Miguel. "Dr. Emilio Mira y Lopez, la vida y obra. Psiquiatria, Psicologia y armonia social." (422 pages).
Tenth publication of the coleccion "Homenatges" from the University of Barcelona, with the colaboration of the City Hall , July 1993.

Lafuente, Enrique, and Mira, Montserrat: "Psicologia y Medicina (últimas conferencias de Emilio Mira y Lopez)" joint edition  from the UNED (National University for long distance  education) and the University of Barcelona. Madrid, 1998.

Martínez Navarro, A. La aportación de Mira y López a la modernización de la Pedagogía española. Revista Complutense de Educación, Vol. 8, Nº 1, Madrid 1957, p. 253-269.

Mira, Alice Madelaine Galland de. "PMK- Psicodiagnostico Miocinetico" (2 volumes) Ed. Vetor, Editorial Psico-pedagogica Ltda. São Paulo, 1987, (in portuguese). Spanish edition by the same  publisher, Rio de Janeiro, will soon appear. The first volume contains the 300 pieces of work published about the test internationally.

Munné, Frederic: "La psicologia juridica de n'Emili Mira i Lopez"  (in Catalan) Opening to the Academic Year 1996-97, at the School of Psychology of the University of  Barcelona., 1996.

Review of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Barcelona, Number 1, year 1973. Dedicated entirely to reproducing the previous year homage dedicated to Dr. Emilio Mira y López.
Idem vol. XXIV nº2, march-april 1997. Homage to professor E. Mira y Lopez in the 100th aniversary of his birth.

Saiz, Milagros y Dolores, (coordinators) "Personajes para una historia de la psicología en España". Publications of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Editions Pirámide,  Madrid, 1996.

Siguan, Miguel. "La Psicologia a Catalunya". Editions 62, Barcelona, 1981, (in catalan).

Vilanou, Conrad y Moreu, Angel. Aproximació bibliogràfica a l’obra psicopedagògica del Dr. Mira y López (fins a 1939). In “Emili Mira i els orígens de la Psicopedagogía a Catalunya”.

Vilanou, Conrad (coordinator). "Emili Mira i els origens de la psicopedagogia a Catalunya" University of Barcelona, School of Pedagogy, 1998, ( in Catalan).


Others references published in Spain:

Butlletí del Col·legi Oficial de Doctors i Llicenciats en Filosofia i Lletres i en Ciències de Catalunya. Hivern 1996, nº 95. Centenari d’Emili Mira (in catalan), p. 44-51.

Capdevila, A. y Sáiz, M. (1998). El inicio del estudio del factor humano en la conducción de transportes en Catalunya. Revista de Psicología del trabajo y de las Organizaciones, 14, 2, p. 233-250.

Doménech, E. y Corbella, J. (1995). L’aportació d’Emili Mira al progrés de la Psiquiatria Infantil a Catalunya. Gimbernat, XXIII, p. 53-63 (in catalan).

García, E., Arbulu, E. y Carpintero, H. (1992). Las acusaciones contra Emilio Mira y López. Un episodio lamentable en la Historia de la Psicología. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 13, 2-3, p. 459-470.

García, E., Herrero, F. y Carpintero, H. (1993). La tesis doctoral de Emilio Mira y López: “Las correlaciones somáticas del trabajo mental” (1922). Revista de Historia de la  Psicología, 14, 3-4, p. 139-151.

Hoffman, Mª H., Tortosa, F. y Carbonell, E. (1994). Emilio Mira y López y el desarrollo de la Psicología del Tránsito. Los casos de España y Brasil. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 26, 3, p. 495-516.

Instituto de Psicología Aplicada y Psicotecnia (1964). El Instituto de Psicología aplicada y Psicotécnia de Barcelona. Notas sobre su evolución histórica. Barcelona. Diputación Provincial de Barcelona.

Lázaro, J. La interpretación de Freud en la obra del Doctor Mira y López (1921-1936). Tesis de Licenciatura. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1985.

Lázaro, J. El psicoanálisis de Freud en la obra de Emilio Mira y López (1921-1936). Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría. 1986; 6 (19): 636-49.

Miralles, J. L. (1979). Las obras psicológicas de Emilio Mira y López. Tesis doctoral. Valencia. Facultad de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Valencia.

Miralles, J. L. (1980). Antecedentes de la obra de E. Mira y López en la Fisiología Catalana del siglo XIX. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 1, 1, p. 89-120.

Miralles, J. L. (1985). Aproximación bibliométrica a la obra psicológica de Emilio Mira y López: Bases para su interpretación. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 6, 1, p. 79-96.

Munné, F. (1997). Emilio Mira y López, primer psicólogo jurídico de España. Revista de Psicología General y Aplicada, 50, 2, p. 245-249.

Pérez-Delgado, E. y Mestre, V. (1995). Aportación de Emilio Mira y López al desarrollo de la psicología moral. Estudio de sus cuestionarios de evaluación. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 16, 3-4, p. 53-61.

Pigem Serra, J.M. Emilio Mira y López y su entorno. Archivos de Neurobiología 1982; 45(2): 135-56.

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D. y otros (1997). Los inicios de la medición psicológica en el marco escolar catalán. Revista de Psicología General y Aplicada, 50, 3, p. 371-387.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1990). La Revista de Psicología y Psicopedagogía como fuente documental primaria para la comprensión de los inicios de la Psicología aplicada en España. En II Congreso del Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos, Área 1: Psicología y Profesión, (p. 90-94). Madrid: C.O.P.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1992). Emilio Mira i López, pionero de la psicología aplicada en España e Iberoamérica. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 13, 4, p. 93-100.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1993). El establecimiento de la Psicología Científica en España. Barcelona: Avesta.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1994). Les revues de l’Institut d’Orientació Professional de Barcelona (1920-1937). In Actas del XIII Congreso de la Cheiron-Europe, (p. 293-300). París:  Universidad René Descartes.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1998). La psicología aplicada en España. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 19, 1, p. 83-119.

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D y otros (1991). Emilio Mira y López: Nuevos datos bibliográficos. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 12, 3-4, p. 211-220.

Sáiz, M. y Sáiz, D. (1992). Emilio Mira y la Psicología aplicada: su aplicación al marco escolar. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 13, 2-3, p. 105-113.

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D. y otros. Psychiatry in war: el papel del psicológo y el psiquiatra en los conflictos bélicos según Emilio Mira (still unpublished).

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D. y otros (1999). L’Institut d’Observació Psicològica “La Sageta”. Revista de Psicología, 21, 1-2, p. 85-98.

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D. y otros (1994). La IIª y IVª Conferencias Internacionales de Psicotécnia celebradas en Barcelona. Algunas de sus repercusiones en el ámbito social e institucional. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 15, 3-4, p. 227-237.

Sáiz, M., Sáiz, D. y otros (1995). Aproximación a los inicios de la medición psicológica en Cataluña. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 16, 3-4, p. 41-52.

Solé i Sagarra, Josep. Impresiones y recuerdos personales de neuropsiquiatras importantes que he conocido. En III Jornadas Nacionales de Historia de la Psiquiatría de la AEN. A Coruña, May 1999, p. 153-177.

Siguan, M. (1991). Un siglo de Psiquiatría en Cataluña (1835-1936). Anuario de Psicología, 51, 4, p. 183-202.

Tortosa, F., Calatayud, C., López, Mª J. y Pastor, J.C. (1989). E. Mira y López en la Psicología Internacional. Revista de Historia de la Psicología, 10, 1-4, p. 189-200.


Some National and University Libraries containig works of the author.-

We have chosen some of the libraries whose Catalogues are available on internet:

Library of Congress of the United States of America
25 books

Catalan Universities Collective Catalogue - CCUC (Catalunya, Spain)
89 books

Library of the University of Barcelona
54 books

Historical Archives of the University of Barcelona
1911-1938 documents relating to the author

Network of Libraries of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC- Spain)
21 books

Network of University Libraries (REBIUN, Spain)
234 books

Libraries of the Mexican Autonomous National University
34 books

Department of Psychology of University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
33 books

Faculty of Medicine, National University of Cuyo (UNCU), Mendoza, Argentina
10 books


The author in Internet.-

A www.google.com search with the exact naming “Mira y Lopez” written like this, between inverted commas and with the accent recorded 97.800 webs and a similar request limiting the pages to those in the Spanish language gave 78.200.
When the doctor´ s name was spelt in Catalan as “Mira i Lopez” we registered 9.690.

The search took place in August 2021.