At the beginning of the 1950s a young graduate of the Parisian École normale supérieur—with an interest vacillating between philosophy and psychology, but evidently insufficiently challenged intellectually by a tutorship at the École and an assistantship in the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Lille—engaged his personal contacts to acquaint himself with the daily routine and research in psychiatry. For a period of time, under Jacqueline and Georges Verdeaux, he was an auditor in the EEG section at the neuropsychiatric Hôpital Sainte-Anne in Paris, where he himself had once been a patient, while a student, for a depressive condition. As a control test subject, he became, literally, a participatory observer of their studies and also accompanied them during their EEG analyses in the centralized French examination station for medical psychological evaluations of prisoners in Fresnes. This overlap between the two EEG-application sites manifested a nexus of therapeutical and disciplinary practice that would repeatedly occupy the intellectual as an overlap of knowledge and power. Although Michel Foucault did not make any decided statement about his experiences in EEG research, they coincide more than merely by chance with his first book Maladie mentale et personalité. There, in 1954, he formulated a challenging epistemological perspective on the development of psychology:

One must not forget that “objective” or “positive” or “scientific” psychology had found its historical origin and its basis in pathological experience. […] The human being became a psychologizable species only ever since its relationship toward insanity first made psychology possible, i.e., since its relationship toward insanity was defined, externally by exclusion and punishment, and internally by arrangement within morality and by guilt. 1