Category Archives: News

New at the Wellcome Library: Tavistock Institute of Human Relations Archive Now Open to Researchers!

The papers of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) have now been catalogued – 130 boxes of them! – and are now open to researchers at the Wellcome Library. As the TIHR Archive Project reports,

These papers – the registered document series (SA/TIH/B/1) – provide a framework for the research and outputs of the Institute from 1945 to 2005, containing key reports and findings from seminal social studies from the post-war period to the early 21st century.

The reports trace the dynamic and cutting-edge work undertaken by the Tavistock Institute’s team of social scientists, anthropologists and psychoanalysts, in their efforts to apply new thinking emerging in the social sciences to the most prevalent contemporary needs and concerns of society. The topics addressed in the reports are hugely diverse, covering many aspects of the organisation of human social and cultural relations, institutions, social conflicts, and organisational structures and group dynamics.

More details about the archive can be found here, while the collection can be explored here.

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Controversy Brewing over Suzanne Corkin and Patient H.M.

Henry Molaison (know as H.M. in much of the published literature)

As we recently reported on AHP a new book on the infamous case study of H.M. has subjected this work to increasing scrutiny, especially with respect to the actions of psychologist Suzanne Corkin, chief H.M. researcher who also served as gatekeeper of other researchers’ access to H.M. Corkin died in May of this year, while H.M. (now known to be Henry Molaison) died in 2008.

Backlash against Luke Dittrich and his book, Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, has been growing since a lengthy piece adapted from the book appeared in the New York Times Magazine last week. (Further pieces on Dittrich’s book can be found on Psychology Today and the NYTMag’s Science of Us, among many other sources.) Particularly controversial have been three points: (1) reports that Corkin destroyed the records related to H.M.; (2) claims that Corkin suppressed reports of an additional lesion in H.M.’s brain; and (3) questions regarding the appropriateness of appointing a a non-relative as H.M.’s conservator.

Dr. James DiCarlo, head of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has written a letter to the New York Times disputing these claims. Additionally, reports are circulating that a group of roughly 200 neuroscientists have written to the Times claiming that Dittrich’s work “contains important errors, misinterpretations of scientific disputes, and unfair characterizations of an MIT neuroscientist who did groundbreaking research on human memory” (from here; also see here and here for more). The letter signed by this group can be read in full here.

In response to DiCarlo’s claims Dittrich has written a post for Medium outlining his position and evidence regarding each claim. Included in Dittrich’s post is a 7-minute audio clip from an  interview he conducted with Corkin wherein she can be heard asserting that records concerning H.M. were destroyed. The audio can be heard here.

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The Guardian: “Starved, tortured, forgotten: Genie, the feral child who left a mark on researchers”

The Guardian recently published a piece looking back on the history of Genie, the so-called feral child whose horrendous treatment at the hands of her father made headline news in the 1970s. The fact that Genie had been raised without language or basic social skills also attracted the attention psychologists interested in understanding language development. As The Guardian recounts, however, it was not long before Genie fell out of the public eye and out of the reach of researchers. Her fate today remains something of a mystery.

Read the full piece online here.

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Sad News, the Passing of Jerome Bruner

young brunerOn June 5th, 2016, after becoming a centenarian last October. Renowned for his significant thinking in cognitive, developmental, and educational psychology, and ranked as one of the top-cited psychologists of the 20th century. Comprehensive obituaries are certain to follow, but for the time being, here is an engaging interview in the NYU Law magazine from last year that aptly identifies him as an “acrobatic meta-connector of ideas;” also, a note on his life and career from the Harvard department of psychology.

older bruner

Additionally, here is a post that I particularly enjoyed over on the History of Emotions
blog
 , by Jules Evans, about Bruner’s volume Acts of Meaning and the cultural construction of emotion.

Here, here, and here, are previous AHP posts that relate to his work.

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Help Kickstart the National Museum of Psychology!

Kurt Lewin, Edward Tolman, and Clark Hull.

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the National Museum of Psychology at the Center. In just a few days the campaign has raised more than $17,000 of their $250,000 goal. Donations at every level come with rewards, including a number of fun history themed items (Stanford Prison Experiment t-shirt anyone?) and the opportunity to sponsor an aisle of the archives, a table in the reading room, and more.

Head on over to Kickstarter to back the project and help #KickstartHistory! (And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and colleagues about this worthy and important endeavour!)

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Kitty Genovese’s Killer Has Died in Prison

As The New York Times reports, Winston Mosesley has died in prison at the age of 81. Mosesley infamously raped and murdered Kitty Genovese in New York City in 1964. The story that 38 bystanders stood by and did nothing as Genovese pled for help during the attack inspired the development of the “bystander effect” within psychology, which describes the diffusion of responsibility that occurs when events are witnessed by multiple individuals. That 38 bystanders in Genovese’s case witnessed the attack and did not intervene, however, has been discredited. (For more on the Genovese case see here.) The full New York Times piece, which describes the Genovese case and its historical significance, can be read online here.

 

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National Museum of Psychology Kickstarter Coming April 13th!

Observations, part of the Association for Psychological Science’s magazine the Observer, has announced that the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a National Museum of Psychology. The campaign will begin at 3pm April 13th and “the crowdsourcing project plans to reward donors with autographed copies of APS Fellow Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, naming opportunities in the museum’s reading room, a trip to the museum’s grand opening, and more.” As Observations reports,

The museum hopes to engage audiences on a personal, intellectual, and scientific level. “We have the unique ability and responsibility to tell the story of what it means to be human, through the acquisition, preservation, and presentation of iconic objects, manuscripts, and media,” said Baker. “As a Smithsonian Affiliate, we are honored to take part in the long-standing tradition of insuring that our nation’s history remains relevant and is preserved with the utmost respect to the bold men and women who were pioneers of this exciting discipline.”

More details here.

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IamPsyched! Museum Day Live! Inspiring Histories, Inspiring Lives: Women of Color in Psychology

As we mentioned previously on AHP a special IamPsyched! Museum Day Live exhibit is planned for March 12th at the APA Capitol View Conference Center. The event, “Inspiring Histories, Inspiring Lives: Women of Color in Psychology,”  is a collaboration between the American Psychological Association Women’s Programs Office, the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron and Psychology’s Feminist Voices Oral History and Digital Archive Project, in partnership with the White House Council on Women and Girls. The initiative aims to “immerse museum-goers in the histories of women of color in psychology and their legacies for contemporary psychology.” The event will feature a curated, interactive exhibit, a live-streamed interactive discussion, and empowering activities for girls. Full details can now be found on exhibit’s webpage.

In advance of the big day you can also join in the social media excitement by pledging your support on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr through Thunderclap. This platform allows social media postings to be pre-scheduled and unleashed all at once, like an online flash mob. When you sign up to share the IamPsyched! message, it will automatically post just this one message on your behalf. Go here to schedule your Tweet or Facebook post now!

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Bandura Wins National Medal of Science

Albert Bandura

Longtime Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura has won the prestigious National Medal of Science in the US. Bandura is best known for his studies of the effects television violence on children, published in the 1960s, in which children were shown a film of an adult beating up a “Bobo Doll,” and the were placed in a room with the same to doll to see what they would do. Many of the children re-enacted the violent behaviour that had been modelled by the adult on the film. The phenomenon was elaborated by Bandura into Social Learning Theory.

Bandura is a Canadian, born in Alberta. He attended the University of British Columbia for his BA, before moving to the University of Iowa for graduate study. He has been a professor at Stanford since 1953.

The APS announcement of Bandura’s award can be found here.

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APA out of Guantánamo

Well it’s been a long haul, but it’s official. The Pentagon has ended their use of psychologists in the Guantánamo Bay prison.

The post-Hoffman Report AGM in Toronto this past summer saw the association executive taken to task by the membership for ongoing failure to enforce increased ethical requirements initiated in 2008’s Petition Resolution.

The media should be praised for contributing external pressure through exposure of the association’s collusion with  American governmental agencies in ways that violate international human rights agreements as established by the UN, including interrogation programs run by the CIA under the Bush administration. As reported in the NY Times,  a FBI-led High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, founded under the Obama admin, is the only part of the current government to have expressed concern over the APA’s new adherence to their own policies. Here’s hoping that doesn’t prove to be cause for real concern moving forward.

The Times’ piece also succinctly covers the association’s internal climate re. this most recent turn of events:

Some current and former military psychologists have been critical of the A.P.A. ban, saying it is so broadly written that it could make it difficult for them to work professionally in almost any national security setting. But advocates of the ban say it had to be written in a way that would close what they believe were longstanding loopholes in the organization’s ethics guidance.

Below please find a reverse chronology of our extensive APA torture coverage from throughout the era in which these developments occurred (It is our sincere wish to be able to end the series with this post):

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