The November issue of the American Psychological Association‘s Monitor on Psychology is now online. This month’s Time Capsule section features a piece on psychologist and civil rights activist Olivia Hooker (right). At the APA’s 2011 convention Hooker spoke about her experience, when she was just six years old, of the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921. Hooker shares similar recollections in the above video from CUNY TV. As described in the article,
Hooker is also renowned as the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a pioneering psychologist when there were few African-American women in the field. Her other noteworthy accomplishments include writing a German vocabulary guide for psychology students, leading a Girl Scout troop in a town where she was the only black person, helping to establish APA’s Div. 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) and teaching people of all ages — from preschoolers to PhD candidates — to embody the Golden Rule.
The entire piece on Hooker’s life and work can be read online here.
The wonderful blog Mind Hacks has just brought to our attention John Huston’s 1946 film, Let There Be Light. The third of three propaganda films Huston was commission to make for the United States Army, Let There Be Light features World War II era soldiers experiencing neuropsychiatric illness as the result of the trauma of war.
Initially banned by the US government, the film made its debut at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. Now the film – which showcases the experiences of these soldiers, their often harsh treatment at the hands of medical professionals, and the soldiers distaste for the military post-war – is available in full online, both on YouTube (above) and as a downloadable file on Internet Archive.
The June issue of the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology is now online. The month’s Time Capsule section examines the work of British psychologist Charles S. Myers on shell shock during World War I. Historian of medicine and psychiatry Edgar Jones examines Myers efforts establish shell shock as a legitimate condition – and not mere malingering – and to treat those affected. As Jones described,
The first cases Myers described exhibited a range of perceptual abnormalities, such as loss of or impaired hearing, sight and sensation, along with other common physical symptoms, such as tremor, loss of balance, headache and fatigue. He concluded that these were psychological rather than physical casualties, and believed that the symptoms were overt manifestations of repressed trauma.
Along with William McDougall, another psychologist with a medical background, Myers argued that shell shock could be cured through cognitive and affective reintegration. The shell-shocked soldier, they thought, had attempted to manage a traumatic experience by repressing or splitting off any memory of a traumatic event. Symptoms, such as tremor or contracture, were the product of an unconscious process designed to maintain the dissociation. Myers and McDougall believed a patient could only be cured if his memory were revived and integrated within his consciousness, a process that might require a number of sessions.
The full article, Shell Shocked, can be read online here.
AHP readers may also be interested in a series of 5 films of World War I era soldiers suffering from shell shock posted online by the Wellcome Library (previously discussed on AHP here). The first of these is featured below.
The May issue of the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology is now online. Included in this month’s Time Capsule section is a piece from AHP’s own Arlie Belliveau on the early uses of film in psychology. In particular, Belliveau describes the work of husband and wife team of engineer Frank Gilbreth and industrial psychologist Lillian Moller Gilbreth (both pictured above), who worked in the field of scientific management. The Gilbreths created what were called micromotion films, which aimed to record the minute details of the motions required to perform the highly repetitive work done within factories. (You can view one of their micromotion films online here.) As Belliveau describes,
The first instance of this form of micromotion study occurred in 1912 at the NEBC factory. The Gilbreths set up their camera in a second-floor laboratory in which the walls and floorboards were painted white with a black grid overlay to optimize light reflection and provide a reference to scale. Individual braiding machines and pieces of office equipment were brought upstairs to be filmed under the natural lights of the windows. Factory workers were enlisted to participate as the stars and experts of the films. Each factory task was filmed, and then viewed frame by frame, breaking each motion sequence into individual parts called “Therbligs” (an anagram of “Gilbreths”). The micromotion team (made up of the Gilbreths and cooperating workers) then evaluated the work process to find ways to make it safer, simpler, faster and more ergonomically correct. They developed and filmed these new procedures and used those films to retrain the factory workers.
….Workers reportedly loved seeing themselves projected onto the big screen, and the Gilbreths set up an exhibition room to periodically screen the films. Lillian believed that these screenings improved morale and output while promoting a unification phenomenon she called “happiness minutes.” Happiness minutes were the total amount of time each day that workers felt satisfied with their jobs. Lillian believed this to be an essential element of efficiency, although they only gauged employee happiness through subjective methods (such as their suggestion box system and general impressions obtained from talking to the workers), and never conducted formal psychological surveys. With this in mind, she and Frank adapted later films taken at the Ball Brothers Mason Jar factory in 1918 to include shots of workers smiling at the camera with their names and even nicknames written at the bottom of the screen.
Read the full article, “Psychology’s First Forays into Film,” online here.
For your Friday viewing (and listening) pleasure, we bring you a love song on Harry Harlow’s famous maternal separation and social isolation experiments. In Harlow’s experiments, rhesus monkeys were forced to choose between a terrycloth surrogate mother and a wire surrogate mother equipped with food. Ultimately, the monkeys preferred contact comfort over food, only going to the wire monkey for as long as it took to eat. Set to the tune of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” the song in the video above tells the story of monkeys forced to choose between contact comfort and food. The video was created by teacher Brad Wray and his students at Arundel High School in Maryland.
Read more about Harlow in the recent Observer piece, Love According to Harry Harlow, wherein Deborah Blum revisits a Psychology Today interview with Harlow from 1973. Download the 1973 interview with Harlow here.
In 1913, Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler moved from Germany to the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. In Puerto de la Cruz on the island of Tenerife, Köhler assumed the directorship of the Prussian Academy of Science Anthropoid Research Station where he conducted important early work on tool use in apes. Famous images from Köhler’s ape research include that of apes stacking wooden crates to reach bananas hanging out of research. His research with apes led him to argue that it was insight rather than trial-and-error that allowed apes to problem solve. In 1917 he published his findings as the book, The Mentality of Apes.
Today the Tenerife research station still exists, but in a state of disrepair. The station has been classified as a cultural interest site by the Spanish government and the Wolfgang Köhler Association is working toward the site’s restoration. The videos above show the site as it exists today, interspersed with film clips from Köhler’s original research and is it part of an ongoing documentary project, INSIGHT. Though the film’s audio is in Spanish, the images are striking.
Tip ‘o the hat to Gabriel Ruiz for bringing these videos to AHP’s attention during a recent discussion on the Cheiron (the International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences) and Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the American Psychological Association) listserves.
In case you missed it yesterday, the Center for the History of Psychology (CHP) has posted on their blog a 8 minute clip of a home movie by psychologists Harry and Leta Stetter Hollingworth. The clip is narrated by CHP Reference Archivist Lizette Royer Barton, who reads from Harry Hollingworth’s autobiography over the course of the film (below).
The Center is currently collaborating with the University of Akron Press and will release Harry Hollingworth’s two volume memoir – Roots in the Great Plains: The Applied Psychology of Harry Hollingworth (Vol. I) and From Coca-Cola to Chewing Gum: The Applied Psychology of Harry Hollingworth (Vol. II) – in the new year.
This Sunday October 30th, just in time for Halloween, the Discovery Channel is airing a special episode of their series Curiosity. The series itself is described on Discovery’s website as
an adventure of discovery, an expedition to uncover the truths behind life’s most challenging questions. With an insatiable thirst for answers and experiences, we’re prepared to do anything, go anywhere and ask anyone to get to the heart of the matter. Whether it’s jumping out of an airplane to confront fear, having neuroscientists implant false memories, or donating tissue to test the possibility of regeneration, there is nothing stopping us as we embark on a global journey of learning and surprises.
Curiosity asks and answers the most fundamental questions facing the world today. Each episode of Curiosity will focus on a single enduring question in science, technology, and society. As is always the case, one single question cascades into several more, making each episode of Curiosity a rich and textured experience. From the micro to the macro, we tackle provocative and insightful questions. Is there a Creator? Is it likely there’s an alternate universe? Could you find out exactly how you are going to die and would you want to know? Are some people genetically prone to violence? Is time travel really possible? Why is it that we dream? What don’t we know about gravity and does it hold the secret for exploring the universe?
Sunday’s episode tackles the question of evil. How Evil Are You?, hosted by horror film director Eli Roth, explores the nature of evil. And, of course, the Milgram obedience to authority experiments are front and center. As has been done a number of times in the last several years, the program attempts to replicate Milgram’s experiment to see if his finding – that ordinary people can be pushed to do horrible things – still holds. The episode is described as follows
Actor/Director Eli Roth is no stranger to exploring the nature of evil. As a master of horror with films like Inglorious Basterds and Hostel, Roth turns his lens to research possibly the most horrifying monster of them all – the average American. In CURIOSITY’s “How Evil are You?”, Roth sets out to recreate the infamous Milgram experiment to see how, or if, the results have changed. Roth himself even undergoes tests and scans to see if he carries what researchers dub “the evil gene.” So does Hollywood’s famous horror director have a little extra ‘edge’ in his craft?…
The video above offers a brief introduction to the program, much of which is focused on the Milgram replication, while the clip below is specifically of the show’s obedience to authority segment. Tune in Sunday at 9pm EST to see what you think of this latest recreation of Milgram’s now infamous experiments.
You can find AHP’s previous coverage of Milgram’s obedience to authority experiments here.
Interested in learning more about history of scientific views on human instincts? Marga Vicedo (whose work has been featured on AHP here and here) discusses this history in the video above, focusing especially on the history of views on maternal instincts. Vicedo is currently at work on a manuscript entitled “Human Nature and Mother Love: The Search for the Maternal Instinct,” in which she explores evolving views on human instincts from the nineteenth century to the present. Among those whose work Vicedo discusses in the video are ethologist Konrad Lorenz, psychologist Harry Harlow, and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. It is the work of such individuals on attachment theory that has been used as a basis for the idea that individuals have an innate need for mother love. Vicedo argues that the idea that there is an innate need for mother love has been largely accepted by society, with important social consequences.
In 1975, William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek television series, took on the starring role in a now largely forgotten television movie: The Tenth Level. Broadcast on CBS, the TV movie featured Shatner as the Stanley Milgram-esque psychologist Stephen Turner, conducting research into the ability of individuals to “just follow orders.” While the movie is not a cinematic masterpiece, it is a fun watch for fans of Shatner and historians of psychology alike. The full movie, though not available for purchase, has been posted online on YouTube in 13 parts: