Special Issue of HoP: “Mental Testing after 1905: Uses in Different Local Contexts”

The August 2014 issue of History of Psychology is now online. A special issue on “Mental Testing after 1905: Uses in Different Local Contexts” edited by Annette Mülberger (left), the issue includes articles on intelligence testing in the Soviet Union, pedagogical uses of intelligence tests in Spain, psychological testing in Brazil, and more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The need for contextual approaches to the history of mental testing,”by Annette Mülberger. The abstract reads,

The effort to locate the origin and follow the historical development of mental tests comes as no surprise, given the success the technique enjoyed throughout the 20th century. It is a controversial, yet also essential, professional tool that characterizes the work of the psychologist in contemporary society. Why write more on this subject? In this introductory article, Mülberger will argue that although we have a great number of publications at our disposal, new contributions are needed to reinterpret this crucial episode in the history of psychology from different angles. Although unable to cover the huge number of publications, she will first comment briefly on some contributions that marked historical research in the second half of the 20th century. In doing so, she will focus on works that aim to explain the origin and historical development of mental testing. Mülberger will thereby leave aside the debate regarding the reliability of some empirical data gathered by certain psychologists and the social consequences of intelligence testing. She will then move on to evaluate the status quo by considering Carson’s (2007) ambitious research and the historiographical idea guiding this monographic issue.

“A psychology for pedagogy: Intelligence testing in USSR in the 1920s,” by Irina Leopoldoff. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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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.” 

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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.

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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.

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4th Annual BPS ‘Stories of Psychology’ Symposium

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre is hosting its fourth annual history of psychology symposium, “Stories of Psychology,” October 8, 2014. This year’s symposium is one of a number of BPS events marking the centenary of the First World War and looks at the influence of the war on psychology’s development in Britain. The day’s events are hosted by Alan Collins (right) of Lancaster University. Full program details follow below.

‘Stories of Psychology’ Symposium
War and Its Legacy

The fourth annual history of psychology symposium

Wednesday 8 October 2014 at the Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
10.30am-4pm (including buffet lunch)

Convened by Dr Alan Collins (Lancaster University)

This year’s symposium is part of the British Psychological Society’s planned series of events to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The First World War came at a time when psychology was still only beginning to emerge as an academic discipline and psychological organisations were in their infancy, particularly in Britain. After the War things started to look very different very quickly. So what impact did the War have on the development of psychological ideas and practice? Our speakers will attempt to provide some answers.

Speakers:

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes (Anglia Ruskin University, and BPS President Elect)
‘From Myers to the MoD: 99 Years of British Military Psychology’

Professor Edgar Jones (Institute of Psychiatry)
‘Shell Shock: The First World War and the Origins of Psychological Medicine’

Professor Michael Roper (University of Essex)
‘Growing Up in the Aftermath: Childhood and Family Relationships Between the Wars’

Professor Sonu Shamdasani (University College London)
‘C.G Jung, 1914-1918: From the Great War to the War Within’

plus

Andrea von Hohenthal (University of Freiburg, Germany) will make a short presentation of initial findings from her doctoral research on the development of psychology in Britain and Germany during the Great War.

This is a public event and all are welcome. The programme has been designed to have general appeal as well as academic validity for historians of psychology. 

Cost (including lunch): £15 Registration essential

To register click here

For more information, e-mail hopc@bps.org.uk or call Peter Dillon Hooper on 0116 252 9528.

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July Talk! BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced another talk as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On July 21st Vincent Barras, of the University of Lausanne, will be speaking on “Plays between Reason, Language and Gods: The Case of Glossolalia 19th-20th Centuries.” Full details follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 21 July
Professor Vincent Barras (University of Lausanne)
“Plays between Reason, Language and Gods: The Case of Glossolalia 19th-20th Centuries”

Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, plays a surprisingly important role in discussions between theologians, psychologists and psychiatrists at the turn of the 20th century on the relationships between religious psychology, mental automatisms, subliminal
processes and inner language, and in the formation of modern psychology itself. Its role in the formation of modern psychology will be reconstructed, with particular emphasis on the debates around the Swiss theologian Emile Lombard’s masterpiece of 1910, “Concerning glossolalia in the early Christians and similar phenomena.”

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New Issue Round-Up! JHBS, HHS, Memorandum

We’re popping in quickly from our annual summer vacation (read: dissertation writing) with a round up of recent journal issues for your summer reading pleasure. Now online are new issues of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, History of the Human Sciences, and Memorandum: Memory and History in Psychology (Memorandum: Memória e História em Psicologia). Full details, including titles, authors, and abstracts, follow below for each.

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

“Operant Psychology Makes a Splash—In Marine Mammal Training (1955–1965),” by James Arthur Gillaspy Jr., Jennifer L. Brinegar and Robert E. Bailey. The abstract reads,

Despite the wide spread use of operant conditioning within marine animal training, relatively little is known about this unique application of behavioral technology. This article explores the expansion of operant psychology to commercial marine animal training from 1955 to 1965, specifically at marine parks such as Marine Studios Florida, Marineland of the Pacific, Sea Life Park, and SeaWorld. The contributions of Keller and Marian Breland and their business Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE) as well as other early practitioners of behavioral technology are reviewed. We also describe how operant technology was introduced and formalized into procedures that have become the cornerstone of marine animal training and entertainment. The rapid growth of the marine park industry during this time was closely linked to the spread of behavioral technology. The expansion of operant training methods within marine animal training is a unique success story of behavioral technology.

“Beyond the Schools of Psychology 2: A Digital Analysis of Psychological Review, 1904–1923,” by Christopher D. Green, Ingo Feinerer and Jeremy T. Burman. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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CfP: European Yearbook of the History of Psychology

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 2.58.40 PMA new peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the history of psychology has just issued a call for papers. As announced on the blog earlier this year, the European Yearbook of the History of Psychology (EYHP) is edited by Mauro Antonelli, University of Milano. Horst Gundlach, of the University of Würzburg, is Co-Editor. The full call for papers follows below.

European Yearbook of the History of Psychology (EYHP). Sources, Theories, and Models

Call for Papers

The European Yearbook of the History of Psychology. Sources, Theories, and Models (EYHP) is a new peer-reviewed international Journal devoted to the history of psychology, published by Brepols Publishers. This new journal is now indexed on the web site of Brepols Publishers: http://brepols.metapress.com/content/122892/?v=editorial

The editorial board is excited to announce its first call for papers of EYHP’s for the first number to be published in winter 2014

Besides Original essays on interdisciplinary topics pertaining to psychological research and interconnections between historiographic survey and epistemology, the Yearbook encompasses 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.

Contributions should be written preferably in English,however contributions in French, Italian, and German are also welcome (but must be accompanied by an English abstract). Articles should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words in length, including footnotes (however exceptions can be taken into consideration by the editors). Contributions should be submitted by September 15 to:

Prof. Mauro Antonelli
Department of Psychology
University of Milano – Bicocca
Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1
20126 Milano
Italy

Email: mauro.antonelli@unimib.it

For informal details contact the editor, Mauro Antonelli (mauro.antonelli@unimib.it)

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June Talks – BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society’History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next two talks as part of the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On Monday June  16th Graham Richards will be speaking on Some Psychological Facets of Creationism. Two weeks later Sarah Chaney (right) will be speaking on ‘A Perversion of Self-feeling': The Emergence of Self-harm in Victorian Asylum Psychiatry. Full details, including abstracts, follow below.

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Monday 16 June: Dr Graham Richards (UCL), Some Psychological Facets of Creationism. The abstract reads,

This presentation explores the psychological aspects of the debates around Creationism. It explores the psychological character of the ‘Argument from Design’ and how this has changed over time from Ray, via Paley to current Intelligent Design theorists, the underlying motivations of Creationists, and the relevance to these debates of Paul Tillich’s discussion of ‘types of anxiety,’ and the history of ‘literal’ biblical fundamentalism. It signposts how psychology has the potential to illuminate the Creationism/Intelligent Design issue in ways which might break what is currently a log-jam of ritualised argument and counter-argument.

Monday 30 June: Dr Sarah Chaney (UCL), ‘A Perversion of Self-feeling': The Emergence of Self-harm in Victorian Asylum Psychiatry. The abstract reads,

This paper explores the emergence of self-harm as a specific category of abnormal individual behaviour in the second half of the 19th century, when ‘self-mutilation’ was defined within asylum psychiatry. I will briefly explain the background of the asylum system and psychiatric profession in Western Europe and the USA in this period, and describe how ‘self- mutilation’ emerged from the interest clinicians had in classifying and defining ‘insane’ behaviour. In particular, this was associated with the widespread publicity given to the increasing decision to regard suicidal acts as evidence of mental illness. While it is often assumed today that Victorian writers made no distinction between suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury, I argue that this was not the case. Psychiatrists in the 19th century frequently claimed that self-mutilation was not carried out for suicidal reasons, although they differed in their method of applying alternative meaning to such acts.

Finally, I will explore why it was that this distinction was made in this particular period, and what led psychiatrists to draw parallels between different kinds of self-inflicted injury to create a universal category. The concept of self-harm today is often used to refer to an act of injury; this application, I argue, emerged from late 19th-century asylum psychiatry. While people had certainly harmed themselves in a variety of ways prior to this period, the late 19th century was the first time these diverse acts – from skin-picking to amputation – became regarded as equivalent behaviours. Combining them under the umbrella term ‘self-mutilation’ prompted the idea that some form of universal meaning might also be discoverable. Self-harm became viewed as an act that had meaning beyond the physical nature of any wounds inflicted or the immediate sensations caused; an act that revealed something of the character of an individual; and, in addition, an act that might help to explain the relationship between individual and society.

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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

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