The May 2015 issue of History of Psychology (vol 18, issue 2) is now available (find online here), and is chock-full of interesting content. From analyses exploring the materiality of psychological and psychiatric instruments (including the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale, the ‘Utica Crib,’ and the controversial transorbital ice pick lobotomy instrument introduced by Walter Freeman), to historiographic discussions (about how to further internationalize the practice of the history of psychology in North America, and about the necessity of attention to multiple temporalities and contexts within the history of psychology in Brazil), there’s a little something for everyone.
The abstracts read as follows:
Adopting a material culture perspective, this article interrogates the composition of the copy of the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale housed at the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection. As a deliberately assembled collection of toys, the Cattell Scale makes clear the indefinite boundary between test and toy in 20th-century American psychology. Consideration of the current condition of some of the material constituents of this particular Cattell Scale provides valuable insight into some of the elusive practices of intelligence testers in situ and highlights the dynamic nature of the testing process. At the same time, attending to the materiality of this intelligence test reveals some of the more general assumptions about the nature of intelligence inherent in tests for young children. The scale and others like it, I argue, exposes psychologists’ often-uncritical equation of childhood intelligence with appropriate play undertaken with an appropriate toy, an approach complicit in, and fostered by, midcentury efforts to cultivate particular forms of selfhood. This analysis serves as an example of the kind of work that may be done on the history of intelligence testing when the material objects that were (and are) inherently a part of the testing process are included in historical scholarship.
In 1946, Walter Freeman introduced the transorbital ice pick lobotomy. Touted as a procedure that could be learned and subsequently performed by psychiatrists outside of the operating room, the technique was quickly criticized by neurosurgeons. In this article, we take a material culture approach to consider 2 grounds upon which neurosurgeons based their objections—surgical instruments and operative spaces. On both counts, Freeman was in contravention of established normative neurosurgical practices and, ultimately, his technique was exposed as an anomaly by neurosurgeons. Despite its rejection, the transorbital lobotomy became entrenched in contemporary memory and remains the emblematic procedure of the psychosurgery era.
During the latter half of the 19th century, a device known popularly as the “Utica crib” became widely used in asylums and state hospitals across North America. The design varied to an extent between institutions but generally consisted of an enclosed, rectangular box made from combinations of wood slats or metal screening, with a hinged lid that could be latched closed on one side. The box was large enough to allow a person to lie straight inside with the lid closed. It has generally been described as no more than a restraint device used to confine patients in a recumbent position. In this article, I resituate the Utica crib in its broader historical context, focusing on the key role it played in the boundary debates faced by North American alienists. Particular attention is paid to the challenge from British alienists with regard to the nonrestraint movement and the attack from neurologists concerning the purported expertise of alienists.
This essay is intended first as a contribution to historiography, and only second as a contribution to the history of developmental psychology. It is therefore a discussion—primarily—of the doing of the history of psychology, rather than of its content. Briefly put: American psychology, including its associated approaches to the history of psychology, is not adequately equipped to benefit fully from the contributions of foreign scholars. To make the resulting argument clear, two archive-driven microhistories are reviewed, contrasted, augmented with new archival research, and synthesized: Yeh Hsueh’s (2004) examination of the nomination process at Harvard University that led to the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Jean Piaget in 1936, and Marc Ratcliff and Paloma Borella’s (2013) examination—just recently published in French—of a similar process that resulted in Piaget’s hiring at Geneva in 1929 and his eventual promotion in 1940. Comparing the authors’ different approaches to similar content then affords this article’s larger argument: we need to broaden our sensibilities so we can see high-quality foreign contributions for what they are. Several interesting insights result if we do. Among them: although Piaget’s theory is today mistakenly criticized for being asocial, and this serves as justification for countering his early works with Vygotsky’s posthumous critique, it emerges from these archival studies that Piaget may have in fact chosen to present himself and his work as nonsociological (when this was not the case) for reasons unrelated to his intellectual project. Such examples then broaden the discussion of “neglect of the foreign invisible” to include suppression—even censorship (by self or other)—which in turn reflects the primary problem afforded by internationalization: by what standards are we to judge the contributions of “foreigners” into “our” discipline?
After a brief presentation of the research program on the “history of psychological knowledge in the ambit of cultural history,” this article addresses 2 issues that we consider particularly important from the methodological point of view: the notion of multiple temporalities (regimes of historicity) and of complexity as characteristics of the contexture of Brazilian culture. It will be shown how both require specific attention from the researcher, because the process of incorporation of psychology in Brazil over time is complex and articulated according to various regimes of historicity that intersect and interpenetrate each other, without being exclusive. Our approach will be exemplified by the concept of memory, showing how this can be grasped in its constitution in Brazilian culture, which is composed of several sedimented layers according to different temporalities.
This article examines the views of early developmental psychologist Florence Goodenough, summarizing her contributions to the field, her complex viewpoints on science and gender issues, and her arguments for maternal record-keeping as a valuable scientific strategy, as drawn from her writings in textbooks, popular magazine articles, and private correspondence. During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, when Goodenough enjoyed a high professional profile as a research scientist, the field of child psychology shifted from focus on producing applied knowledge to benefit parents and educators to a preference for laboratory-controlled basic science approaches to understanding development. Goodenough championed observation and other descriptive methods, including use of mothers as data collectors in the home, even while these approaches were increasingly discredited by prominent peers in the United States. I argue that Goodenough’s allegiance to maternal record-keeping highlights a forgotten strand of context-sensitive, descriptive work that survived despite its general disparagement among proponents of a narrower version of strictly experimental developmental science emerging in the 1920s.
This study continues a previous investigation of the intellectual structure of early American psychology by presenting and analyzing 3 networks that collectively include every substantive article published in Psychological Review during the 15-year period from 1909 to 1923. The networks were laid out such that articles (represented by the network’s nodes) that possessed strongly correlated vocabularies were positioned closer to each other spatially than articles with weakly correlated vocabularies. We identified distinct research communities within the networks by locating and interpreting the clusters of lexically similar articles. We found that the Psychological Review was in some turmoil during this period compared with its first 15 years attributable, first, to Baldwin’s unexpected departure in 1910; second, to the pressures placed on the discipline by United States entry into World War I; and, third, to the emergence of specialty psychology journals catering to research communities that had once published in the Review. The journal emerged from these challenges, however, with a better-defined mission: to serve as the chief repository of theoretical psychology in the United States.
The growing popularity of cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) has helped reshape the mental health scene in the city of Buenos Aires, historically the stronghold of psychoanalysis. In the early 1980s, CBT was infrequently used and sometimes overtly resisted in the field of mental health. Almost 3 decades later, the impact of CBT has increased dramatically in Argentina, not only in independent practice but also in the health system and in everyday life. This article aims to describe the process by which Argentine psychotherapists first adopted this new theoretical framework.
Storia e “crisi” della Psicologia scientifica in Italia [The History and “Crisis” of Scientific Psychology in Italy] (Milan: LED, 2014), edited by Giovanni Pietro Lombardo, Professor of the History of Psychology at the Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, offers a multidimensional analysis of the construct of “crisis” in the context of scientific psychology in Italy. The book is the first historical account of the “crisis” in Italian psychology to approach the subject from multiple perspectives: philosophical-epistemological, scientific, and institutional. This integrative approach is essential for the proper interpretation of a historiographical construct (Cimino, 2014). The idea for a book dedicated to the “crisis” in Italian psychology arose from the recognition that although there have been numerous meetings and events related to the crisis in psychology, both primary sources and secondary Italian sources are largely ignored in the international literature. The intention was to analyze the crisis from the historiographical perspective of continuity– discontinuity through investigation of internal and external history.
Share on FacebookProvides news briefs from the Society for the History of Psychology. This edition includes SHP member publication news, a call for papers, and the reluctant birth of William James’s talks to teachers.