Category Archives: News

Congrats Center for the History of Psychology!

A big congratulations to the Center for the History of Psychology, which has secured a donation of $3.5 million. With the gift the Center will now be known as the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. The Cummings’s generosity comes in the wake of a previous donation of $1.5 million to the Center. With the funds the Cummings Center plans “to expand its museum and construct a dedicated research space and offices for visiting scholars and staff, as well as to fund an endowment to support a full-time associate director position.” 

Share on Facebook

Galton Papers Now Online!

UCL Special Collections and the Wellcome Trust have collaborated to make available online the papers of Francis Galton. This is part of a larger Wellcome Library endeavour Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics, which includes digitized papers from a number of important figures in the development of genetics. The full Galton papers can be explored online here.

Share on Facebook

Latest on Little Albert: Not Neurologically Impaired After All?

Now available via  History of Psychology‘s OnlineFirst option is the latest in the ongoing saga over the identity of John Watson and Rosalie Rayner’s Little Albert. Forthcoming in History of Psychology is an article from Nancy Digdon, Russell A. Powell, and Ben Harris challenging the recent depiction of Albert as a neurologically impaired child. Full article details, including abstract, follow below.

“Little Albert’s Alleged Neurological Impairment: Watson, Rayner, and Historical Revision,” by Nancy Digdon, Russell A. Powell, and Ben Harris. The abstract reads,

In 2012, Fridlund, Beck, Goldie, and Irons (2012) announced that “Little Albert”—the infant that Watson and Rayner used in their 1920 study of conditioned fear (Watson & Rayner, 1920)—was not the healthy child the researchers described him to be, but was neurologically impaired almost from birth. Fridlund et al. also alleged that Watson had committed serious ethical breaches in regard to this research. Our article reexamines the evidentiary bases for these claims and arrives at an alternative interpretation of Albert as a normal infant. In order to set the stage for our interpretation, we first briefly describe the historical context for the Albert study, as well as how the study has been construed and revised since 1920. We then discuss the evidentiary issues in some detail, focusing on Fridlund et al.’s analysis of the film footage of Albert, and on the context within which Watson and Rayner conducted their study. In closing, we return to historical matters to speculate about why historiographical disputes matter and what the story of neurologically impaired Albert might be telling us about the discipline of psychology today.

Share on Facebook

Who Was Little Albert? The Story Continues…

Little Albert and a rat.
Little Albert and a rat. Source: http://hopkins. typepad.com/guest/images/2007/11/03/tanya8.jpg

For generations, psychology students have been asking the question, “Whatever happened to Little Albert?”, the baby who John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner conditioned to fear furry things back in 1919. Five years ago, it seemed that the question had finally been answered when Hall Beck of Appalachian State University in North Carolina and his colleagues published the results of some intensive archive-snooping. They declared that “Albert B.” (as the baby was called in the original report) had actually been Douglas Merritte, a child who died of hydrocephaly just a few years after the experiment. Now, however, two psychologists in Alberta are disputing that claim, and The Chronicle of Higher Education has just published an article on the matter. Continue reading

Share on Facebook

Recent Book: The Psychology of Personhood

AHP readers may be interested to know about the recently published book, The Psychology of Personhood: Philosophical, Historical, Social-Developmental, and Narrative Perspectives, edited by Jack Martin and Mark H. Bickhard.

As described by the book’s title, the included essays cover a range of aspects, and are meant to provide “both an introduction to the psychology of personhood, and an invitation to participate in it” (p. 16). Of particular interest to AHP readers is the “Historical Perspectives” section, including essays by Kurt Danziger, Jeff Sugarman, and James T. Lamiell. With topics from ‘critical personalism’, to ‘historical ontology’, to ‘identity and narrative’, this collection of essays will please historians, theorists, and those in between who have any interest in a psychology of persons that is neither fixated on traits nor statistical methods.

Now available on Amazon.

 

 

Share on Facebook

Music from the Asylum

As the old adage goes, there is more than one way to share  history. A new project that takes this idea to heart will be made available to the public next week. The Telegraph has reported that Edward Elgar’s “Music for Powick Asylum” will be available from Somm Recordings on March 3rd, 2014 (a book of the written music is already available).

Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar (1857–1934) was an English composer who, at the age of 22, was conductor of the attendants’ band at the Worcester and County Lunatic Asylum in Powick, England. In this role, he reportedly both coached his fellow musicians and wrote the music they played.  As was commonly practiced during the period, the institution’s resident physician, James Sherlock, encouraged these musical performances as part of the Friday night dances that were held for patients.

The music written by Elgar for the Asylum band between 1879 and 1884 was forgotten until it was re-discovered by contemporary British conductor Barry Collett. First re-played for the closing of the institution in 1988, the collection has now been recorded by the Innovation Chamber Ensemble. In describing the music, The Telegraph quotes Collett as saying “Some are quirky, some are foot-tapping and some are full of grace. I love them all.”

Personally, one of the reasons I am so fascinated with this project is the auditory experience that it provides of the historical record. This recording brings to life the “sounds of the asylum” – or at least those that were heard on Friday nights. Dolly MacKinnon, of the University of Queensland, has written about the importance of the historical soundscape of asylums and the Elgar project provides an opportunity for contemporary listeners to glimpse into this auditory world. Needless to say, I have already ordered a copy of the album.

Share on Facebook

New HOP Journal: European Yearbook of the History of Psychology

A new peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the history of psychology is coming our way in 2014! The journal will be edited by Mauro Antonelli, professor of psychology at the Università degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca in Italy.

The announcement making its rounds on listservs describes the scope of the new journal:

The European Yearbook of the History of Psychology will be a peer-reviewed international journal devoted to the history of psychology, and especially to the interconnections between historiographic survey and problems of epistemology. The Journal will welcome contributions that offer precise reconstructions of specific moments, topics, and people in the history of psychology via the recovery and critical analysis of archival as well as published sources. Critical editions of relevant primary texts or archival sources will be welcome. Research papers should be preferably in English, while the critical edition of texts may also be in French, German, and Italian. The national traditions in Europe will be respected not only in their own right and in their interrelations, but also in their further connection to and confrontation with non-European research traditions. With this focus, the Journal aims at uncovering paths to aid the understanding of the common and of the specific roots of European scientific thought, and its building connections with non-European traditions.

With an eye on the interdisciplinary nature of cultural studies, the Journal will pay special attention to those common areas between psychological research and its adjacent disciplines, in particular the human and the life sciences (philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychiatry, physiology, neurology, biology, zoology, etc.).

Aimed primarily at historians and philosophers of psychology, epistemologists, historians of philosophy, and historians of human sciences, the Journal will also be open to contributions from all areas of psychology that address a phenomenon or topic of interest in psychology from a historical perspective and/or with an epistemological approach.

Besides original essays, the Journal will encompass the following sections: Unpublished and archival material; Discussions (a space where authors can confront one another and discuss specific topics); Interviews; Book reviews and reading recommendations.

H/T to Cathy Faye (@CLFaye)

Share on Facebook

In Memoriam, John Popplestone (1928-2013)

We here at AHP are saddened by the news of the passing of John Popplestone on September 15, 2013. Popplestone, along with his wife Marion McPherson White, founded the Archives of the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio in 1965. He served as its original director until retiring in 1999. Popplestone has left behind one of the most pre-eminent collections dedicated to the history of psychology for many generations to come.

In his honour, the Center for the History of Psychology (which today encompasses the Archives), has recently posted a series of photographs from their founder’s past and we invite you to visit their site.

Share on Facebook

New AHP Series: Inside the Digital History of Psychology

Starting tomorrow, Advances in the History of Psychology will begin running a special series of posts related to work on the digital history of psychology. As you may be aware, the blog is based out of the History and Theory of psychology program at York University. Many of the blog’s contributors are also members of the institution’s PsyBorgs Lab, a research collective  dedicated to undertaking research on the discipline’s past using the methods of the digital humanities. The research group is headed by professors Christopher Green and Michael Pettit. More information on the group’s members can be found here. In the weeks and months to come we’ll provide you with an inside look at some of this work, including both its methods and results.  Expect to see regular posts on this work the first Tuesday of each month, with a few bonus posts sprinkled in between.

Visit us tomorrow for the first of these posts: a discussion of networking the discipline’s non-human research organisms by Michael Pettit.

The full series of posts can be found here.

Share on Facebook

Call for Nominations: History of Psychology Journal Editor

History of Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association, has issued a call for nominations for journal editor. David Dunning, PhD has been appointed chair of the search. The nomination deadline is January 11, 2014 and the candidates should be prepared to start receiving manuscripts in 2015. The journal is described as,

History of Psychology features refereed articles addressing all aspects of psychology’s past and of its interrelationship with the many contexts within which it has emerged and has been practiced. It also publishes scholarly work in closely related areas, such as historical psychology (the history of consciousness and behavior), psychohistory, theory in psychology as it pertains to history, historiography, biography and autobiography, the teaching of the history of psychology, and data mining regarding the history of psychology.

Details of the nomination procedure follow below.

Candidates should be members of APA and should be available to start receiving manuscripts in early 2015 to prepare for issues published in 2016. Please note that the P&C Board encourages participation by members of underrepresented groups in the publication process and would particularly welcome such nominees. Self-nominations are also encouraged.

Nominate candidates through APA’s EditorQuest website.

Prepared statements of one page or less in support of a nominee can also be submitted by email to Sarah Wiederkehr, P&C Board Search Liaison.

Deadline for accepting nominations is January 11, 2014, when reviews will begin.

Share on Facebook