The discovery of motor cortex
Although the modern study of the physiology of the cerebral cortex began with Fritsch and Hitzig's discovery that electrical stimulation of the cortex produces movements and the extension of their work by Ferrier, the background of these discoveries can be found in late 17th and 18th century ideas about the neural control of movement, electricity and the nervous system, the functions of the cortex and the localization of function, found in the work of Willis, du Petit, von Haller, Swendenborg and others.
18th Century Neuroscience Symposium -- Function in the "Long" 18th Century:
The Transition from Medieval Cell Doctrine to Cortical Localization Doctrine
Montreal, Quebec, Canada