New HoP: Instruments, Forensic Psychology in Germany, & More

The November 2015 issue of History of Psychology is now online.  Articles in this issue explore forensic psychology in Germany, phrenology in Gilded Age America, and much more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Anthropophagy: A singular concept to understand Brazilian culture and psychology as specific knowledge,” by Arthur Arruda Leal Ferreira. The abstract reads,

The aim of this work is to present the singularity of the concept of anthropophagy in Brazilian culture. This article examines its use in the Modernist Movement of the 1920s and explores the possibilities it creates for thinking about Brazilian culture in nonidentitarian terms. We then use the concept of anthropophagy in a broader, practical sense to understand psychology as a kind of anthropophagical knowledge. We do so because in many ways the discipline of psychology is similar to Brazilian culture in its plurality and complexity.

““God save us from psychologists as expert witnesses”: The battle for forensic psychology in early twentieth-century Germany,” by Heather Wolffram. The abstract reads,

This article is focused on the jurisdictional battle between psychiatrists and psychologists over psychological expertise in legal contexts that took place during the first decades of the 20th century. Using, as an example, the debate between the psychologist William Stern, the psychiatrist Albert Moll, and the jurist Albert Hellwig, which occurred at the International Congress for Sexual Research held in Berlin in 1926, it aims to demonstrate the manner in which psychiatrists’ responses to psychologists’ attempts to gain admittance to Germany’s courtrooms were shaped not only by epistemological and methodological objections, but also by changes to expert witnessing that had already encroached on psychiatrists’ professional territory. Building upon recent work examining the relationship between psychologists and jurists prior to the First World War, this article also seeks to examine the role of judges and lawyers in the contest over forensic psychology in the mid-1920s, arguing that they ultimately became referees in the increasingly public disputes between psychiatrists and psychologists.

“Psychological testing and the German labor market, 1925 to 1965,” by David Meskill. The abstract reads,test

From the 1920s to the 1950s, the massive German Labor Administration used loosely standardized, pragmatic evaluations of personality to steer young people into appropriate jobs. Starting in the late 1950s, the Administration shifted to American scientific methods of trait and factor psychological testing. Behind this change lay not a change in academic psychology but a power shift in the German labor market. Originally, the Labor Administration had to appeal to employers, for whom pragmatic evaluations of personality seemed most convincing. Thanks to the Economic Miracle in the 1950s, the Administration had to gain the trust of young Germans, their parents, and the public, who, it was hoped, would be won over by science.

“The Hipp chronoscope versus the d’Arsonval chronometer: Laboratory instruments measuring reaction times that distinguish German and French orientations of psychology,” by Serge Nicolas & Peter B. Thompson. The abstract reads,

Chronoscopes and chronographs were commonly used instruments that measured reaction times (RTs) in the first psychology laboratories. The Hipp chronoscope is commonly associated with the emergence of psychological laboratories in the late 19th century. This instrument is considered the key apparatus for the study of scientific psychology. Although German and American psychologists preferred the Hipp chronoscope, French psychologists of late 19th century favored another chronometer built by Jacques Arsène d’Arsonval (1851–1940). Unlike German and American psychologists, French psychologists demanded less precision in most experimental situations because they claimed that individual differences are very pronounced in a variety of situations. The advantage of the d’Arsonval chronometer was its portability and its simplicity. This article presents this chronometer and its advantages and drawbacks. The Hipp chronoscope and the d’Arsonval chronometer were the most commonly used apparatuses in Europe for the measurement of RTs until World War II, as is demonstrated by the catalogues of the time (Zimmermann and Boulitte).

“Theodor Waitz’s theory of feelings and the rise of affective sciences in the mid-19th century,” by David Romand. The abstract reads,

The German psychologist Theodor Waitz (1821–1864) was an important theorist of affectivity in the mid-19th century. This article aims to revisit Waitz’s contribution to affective psychology at a crucial moment of its history. First, I elaborate the context in which Waitz’s ideas were carried out by showing how affective sciences emerged as an autonomous field of investigation between about 1770 and 1910. Second, I discuss the principles of Waitz’s model of affectivity and their contextual significance. Third, I deal with the first major category of affective states identified by Waitz, namely, “formal feelings,” which are supposed to be involved in the appraisal of the relational properties between representations. Fourth, I investigate “qualitative feelings,” the second major category of affective states identified by Waitz, which refer to affective processes that relate to specific representational contents, namely, intellectual, aesthetic, and moral feelings. In conclusion, I emphasize the genealogical link between Waitz’s pioneering research on musical feelings and current research on emotion and expectation in music.

“Bringing the environment in: Early Central European contributions to an ecologically oriented psychology of perception,” by Jan Radler. The abstract reads,

This article explores the Central European philosophical roots of perceptual psychology from a historical perspective. It will be shown that Alexius Meinong’s notion of a forum of perception is the point of departure for a beginning inclusion of external factors in explaining perception. This conclusion is mainly because of Fritz Heider’s early contributions on perception and its influence on Egon Brunswik. In addition, the impact of Meinong and Edmund Husserl—both students of Franz Brentano—on Brunswik’s teacher, Karl Bühler, is highlighted.

““Assuming the privilege” of bridging divides: Abigail Fowler-Chumos, practical phrenology, and America’s Gilded Age,” by Erica Lilleleht. The abstract reads,

Nineteenth-century phrenology is often presented as a failed or pseudoscience. Based on erroneous anatomical assumptions and indirect observation, phrenology as such offers historians of psychology an object lesson in what scientists ought not do (e.g., Boring, 1929). As a practical profession, however, phrenology presents a more complicated narrative. This is particularly true in the United States where in the hands of practitioners including and influenced by the Fowler family, phrenology maintained a cultural presence long after being rejected by the scientific and medical mainstream (Janik, 2014). The prevalence of women practitioners, whose work and lives have yet to be adequately explored, represents another complication. Abigail Ayers Doe Fowler-Chumos, third wife of America’s “great gun of phrenology” Orson Squire Fowler, is one practitioner worthy of closer examination (Davies, 1955, p. 46). Using the separate spheres concept (Kerber, 1988) and newspaper announcements, articles, and advertisements spanning the 1870s to 1920s, this article explores Abigail Ayers Doe Fowler-Chumos’ development as a practical phrenologist. Her story suggests much about the unrecognized capacity of practical phrenology to create concepts and practices of selfhood capable of moving women beyond the private and domestic, while also preparing all Americans for modern psychology.

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About Jacy Young

Jacy Young recently completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. She earned her doctorate in the History and Theory of Psychology at York University in 2014.

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