“Historical Impact in Psychology Differs Between Demographic Groups”

Forthcoming from New Ideas in Psychology is an article reporting the results of the PsyBorg‘s historical psychologist rating game we previously reported on in 2016. As the article reports, “although …overall rankings had considerable similarity with traditional efforts, we also found that rankings differed markedly among different demographic groups, undermining the assumption of a general measure of eminence that is valid for all.” Full details below.

“Historical impact in psychology differs between demographic groups,” by Christopher D. Green & Shane M. Martin. Abstract:

Psychology has a long tradition of creating lists of the most eminent members of the discipline. Such lists are typically created under the assumption that there is a general answer to the question of eminence, covering all psychologists everywhere. We wondered, however, to what degree perceived eminence depends on the individual’s particular demographic situation. Specifically, are different historical figures “eminent” to people of different genders, ages, and geographical locations? We tested this by asking a wide swath of people – mostly psychologists – who they think has had the most impact on the discipline of psychology, historically. We used an online game in which “players” were shown a series of pairs of significant figures from psychology’s past and asked to select which had had the greater impact. We then converted these selections into a ranked list using the Elo rating system. Although our overall rankings had considerable similarity with traditional efforts, we also found that rankings differed markedly among different demographic groups, undermining the assumption of a general measure of eminence that is valid for all.

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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.

One thought on ““Historical Impact in Psychology Differs Between Demographic Groups”

  1. Sneak peek for AHP readers only. Here is the top 20:
    1. William James
    2. B. F. Skinner
    3. Wilhelm Wundt
    4. Sigmund Freud
    5. Jean Piaget
    6. Charles Darwin
    7. Ivan Pavlov
    8. John B. Watson
    9. Albert Bandura
    10. Edward L. Thorndike
    11. Elizabeth Loftus
    12. Stanley Milgram
    13. Hermann Helmholtz
    14. Harry Harlow
    15. Robert L. Thorndike
    16. Abraham Maslow
    17. Hans Eysenck
    18. Charles Spearman
    19. Lev Vygotsky
    20. Solomon Asch

    But, the really interesting thing is to see how much the rankings differ from one demographic group to another — by gender, by age by continent. See the article!

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