Category Archives: Video

Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Experiment on Mysteries at the Museum

Stanley Milgram’s infamous obedience to authority experiments have made their way to the Travel Channel. The study appears – in highly dramatized form – in the February 6th episode of Mysteries at the Museum.  Helping describe the study is Cathy Faye, Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio. The simulated shock generator from Milgram’s experiment now resides in the Center’s Museum.

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Kitty Genovese Documentary: The Detached Americans (1964)


For your Friday viewing pleasure, we present The Detached Americans a 1964 TV documentary on the Kitty Genovese case (see previous AHP posts on Genovese here). In 1964 Genovese was murdered and it was widely reported that numerous witnesses to the murder – as many as 38 – failed to intervene. The  case is often cited as the basis for what is known as the bystander effect in social psychology, whereby individuals fail to aid in emergency situations when others are present. This failure to help people in need is often attributed to a diffusion of responsibility, as it is assumed that others present will offer assistance. Happy viewing!

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Summer Reading: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

If you are a follower the Facebook page of the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the American Psychological Association) you will have seen their recent post of video from the Kellogg experiment (above). Luella and Winthrop Kellogg reared a female chimpanzee named Gua, alongside their infant son Donald for a period in the 1930s, comparing their respective development across species lines.

For anyone looking for some end of summer reading, Karen Joy Fowler‘s novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves provides an interesting fictionalized account of the Kellogg’s experiment and its aftermath. Fowler, herself the daughter of an Indiana University professor of animal behaviour, discusses the influence of the Kellogg’s work on the book in an interview available on her website here. Although inspired by the Kellogg experiments, the novel alters several fundamental elements of the study. Fowler’s story is told from the perspective of a daughter raised with an ape sister, rather than a son. The story is described as follows:

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”

Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

A detailed review of the book by Barbara Kingsolver in the New York Times can be found here.

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Video Interview: Sleep in the Age of Shakespeare


Psychologist Peter Hegarty, of the University of Surrey, has interviewed English scholar Garrett Sullivan, of Pennsylvania State University, on the history of sleep. From ideas about sleep in the age of Shakespeare to Descartes to Freud, Hegarty and Sullivan discuss our changing understandings of sleep and embodiment across the centuries. The full video is featured above.

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Film: Adaptive Behavior in Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels

Continuing our recent series of posts (here and here) on University of Oregon psychologist Lester Beck’s films, we bring one final film to your attention: Beck’s 1942 footage Adaptive Behavior in Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels (below). The film is described as follows,

Arranged and photographed by Lester F. Beck, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. Beck also wrote the script for Human Growth, the first sex education film shown in Oregon schools in 1948. Filmed in part at Crater Lake, OR. Shows golden-mantled ground squirrels (which resemble, but are not, chipmunks) first at play in the wild, and then learning increasingly complicated tasks in a lab (coerced by nuts). Silent short full of unintentional humor and pathos. Was the basis for the popular educational film Squeak the Squirrel (1952).

The later film, Squeak the Squirrel (above), Continue reading

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More Lester Beck Film Footage: Human Growth

As a followup to last week’s post of psychologist Lester Beck’s Photographic Studies in Hypnosis we bring you more of Beck’s film footage. The above film, Human Growth, was produced in 1947 under Beck’s guidance as an introduction to human reproduction for American students. The film is described as follows:

The “Oregon film” was the first film about human reproduction to be shown in U.S. public schools. It was written by Dr. Lester F. Beck, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, and produced by Eddie Albert Productions. Sy Wexler directed and shot the film. The film was sponsored by the E.C. Brown Trust, a non-profit foundation associated with the University of Oregon since 1939, whose mission was to promote healthy sexuality and family life. Intended for seventh grade students, HUMAN GROWTH was seen by millions of schoolchildren in 20 countries, and won numerous awards. At its height of popularity, there were 2,000 prints in circulation, although only a handful currently exist. Two subsequent editions were released in 1962 and 1976.

As pointed out on the blog 16mm Lost and Found, the film received rave reviews from a number of publications, including Life magazine (which can be read online here). The blog goes on to note that,

Human Growth approaches its sensitive subject in a calm, facts-based manner. It demonstrates how families and classrooms can discuss sex openly and without embarrassment. Boys and girls are not segregated, and there is no moralizing. The film also models good pedagogical methods and exemplified how it should be used in actual classrooms. In the film, junior high students watch a film called “Human Growth” and the teacher leads them in discussion before and after the film. “Every single aspect of a film being made must have an educational purpose ultimately related to the classroom so that the film will aid the teacher, but never substitute for him,” Dr. Beck wrote in a 1964 article.

The film won every national and international award for documentary film, including the Golden Eagle Award from the Committee on International Non-theatrical Events (CINE). Thousands of schools from all over the United States and 20 countries worldwide adopted the film, with widespread approval from parents and teachers.

Other, similar films written by Beck can also be viewed online, including Human and Animal Beginnings (1966), Fertilization and Birth (1967), and Human Heredity (1969).

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Film: Lester Beck’s Photographic Studies in Hypnosis

YouTube’s CreativeCommonsTV has posted a clip of University of Oregon psychologist Lester F. Beck’s Photographic Studies in Hypnosis. The footage from 1938 is described as,

This silent film shows a woman being hypnotized and includes both pre and post hypnosis scenes. The hypnotist demonstrates how a patient’s mind can be manipulated as he pinpricks and burns his patient with controlled and suggestive reactions. This unrehearsed session of hypnosis features two students whom are given false memories. The pair are then tested about their memories and are given some basic psychological tests to see the effects of the hypnosis.

Tip o’ the Hat to the Society for the History of Psychology Facebook page for bringing this film to our attention.

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International Travel: York HT Professors Visit Brazil!

At the end of April, professors Thomas Teo and Michael Pettit, of York University’s History and Theory of Psychology program, visited the Department of Psychology at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Department of Psychology, Federal University of Juiz de Fora), which recently established a History and Philosophy of Psychology graduate program. Teo and Pettit spoke about their work at the Seminário de Pós-graduação em Psicologia (Graduate Seminar in Psychology) and were interviewed, along with others, for a video that is now on YouTube (above). 

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The Making of the Extraordinary

To coincide with the release of his book, Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem, historian of psychology Peter Lamont paid a visit to the University of Surrey in February. As the University website describes,

On the 19th of February 2013, Dr Peter Lamont, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, presented an evening of magic, history and psychology to a packed house at the University of Surrey’s new Ivy Arts Centre.

The event was co-sponsored by the BPS Wessex Branch and the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey. Earlier that day, Dr Lamont was interviewed by the Psychologist Dr Peter Hegarty about past and present exchanges between psychologists and magicians.

Hegarty’s interview with Lamont is shown in the video above. In the course of just three minutes Lamont briefly touches on not only the relationship between psychologists and magicians, but also the importance of historical work for psychological understanding. If you like the video, it may be time to go out and buy the book!

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Wellesley Lab, World’s Fair, & Introspect. Videos

Occasional AHP contributor, and York University History and Theory of Psychology doctoral candidate Jennifer Bazar, has just released three short videos on the history of psychology on YouTube. The videos, each approximately 5 minutes long, explore the psychology exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (above), the history of the psychology laboratory at Wellesley College (below), and introspection (bottom), respectively. While great on their own, the videos are also fantastic resources for those teaching the history of psychology!

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