Natalia Bekhtereva
Ната́лья Петро́вна Бе́хтерева
Born(1924-07-07)7 July 1924
Leningrad, USSR
Died22 June 2008(2008-06-22) (aged 83)
Hamburg, Germany
NationalitySoviet, Russian
Alma materFirst Pavlov State Medical University of St. Peterburg

Natalia Petrovna Bekhtereva[1] (Russian: Ната́лья Петро́вна Бе́хтерева, IPA: [ˈbʲextʲɪrʲɪvə]; July 7, 1924 – June 22, 2008) was a Soviet and Russian neuroscientist and psychologist who developed neurophysiological approaches to psychology, such as measuring the impulse activity of human neurons. She was a participant in the documentary films The Call of the Abyss (Russian: Зов бездны) and Storm of Consciousness (Russian: Штурм сознания), which aroused wide public interest. Candidate of Biological Sciences, Doctor of Medicine, Full Professor.


She is Vladimir Bekhterev's granddaughter. She was brought up with her brother in an orphanage. She graduated from the First Pavlov State Medical University of St. Petersburg (1941–1947) and graduate school of the Pavlov Institute of Physiology. In the summer of 1941, more than 700 students entered the University; by the end of the training, only 4 graduates survived. The rest perished from war and hunger. She survived the Siege of Leningrad.

She worked as a junior research fellow at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1950–1954). After working her way up from a senior research fellow to the head of the laboratory and Deputy Director, she worked at the Research Neurosurgical Institute named after Professor Andrey L. Polenov of the USSR Ministry of Health (1954–1962). In 1959 she became a Doctor of Medicine. Since 1962 – at the Institute of Institute of Experimental Medicine, USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (the head of the Department of human neurophysiology; the Deputy Director for Research; from 1970 to 1990 – the Director).

In 1975, she became an academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (subsequently Russian Academy of Medical Sciences). In 1981, she became an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. Starting in 1990, she was the scientific director of the Center "Brain" of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. In 1992 she became the head of the scientific group of the neurophysiology of thinking, creativity and consciousness of the Institute for Human Brain of the RAS.

She was Vice President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (1974–1980) and Vice President of the International Organization for Psychophysiology (1982–1994).

She worked as editor-in-chief of the academic journals Human Physiology (1975–1987) and International Journal of Psychophysiology (1984–1994).

Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union of the 8th convocation (1970–1974) and People's Deputy of the Soviet Union (1989–1991).

Rewards and titles


Bekhtereva's grave.

She died in the morning of June 22, 2008 in Hamburg at the St. George's Hospital in the 84th year of life after a long illness.


On July 7, 2020, Google celebrated her 96th birthday with a Google Doodle.[2]

6074 Bechtereva, a minor planet named after Natalia Bekhtereva.

The Bekhtereva Institute for Human Brain of the RAS [ru] is named after her.


The grandfather is Vladimir Bekhterev (1857–1927) — psychiatrist, neuropathologist, physiologist, psychologist, founder of reflexology. The father is Peter Bekhterev (1886–1938) – engineer and inventor. The mother is Zinaïda Bekhtereva – doctor.

First husband is Vsevolod Medvedev (1924–2008) – physiologist. Son from the first marriage is Svyatoslav Medvedev (1949) – physiologist.

Second husband is Ivan Kashtelyan (died in 1990) – economist. The stepson is Alexander (died in 1990).

The granddaughter is Natalia Medvedeva – psychiatrist.


Bekhtereva published more than 360 works, some of them in English, including:

Documentary films with her participation

See also