Tag Archives: bibliography

Bibliography: Laboratories, Instruments, and the Material Culture of Psychology

Harvard Psychological Laboratory, 1892. via the Virtual Laboratory.

For anyone interested in exploring the history of laboratories, instruments, and the material culture of psychology more generally, I have put together the following bibliography. Sources have been organized into the following categories: Laboratories, Instruments, Online Resources, Instrument Collections, and Introductory Material Culture Readings. For the purposes of this bibliography, “material culture” has been interpreted quite broadly. Rather than focus solely on writings narrowly confined to this field, a variety of sources that touch on the history of material objects – especially those related to the history of science – have been included here. Other items included in the bibliography also look at unconventional instruments, including paper tools, tests, and organisms as instruments. A number of reference works, photographic collections, and online resources are also provided. The bibliography is by no means complete and suggested additions are welcome and appreciated. And don’t forget to check out the full list of our bibliographies on our Resources page. Happy reading!

Update: The post now includes a section of sources, provided by Ryan Tweney, on instruments, experiments, and replication. Additional readings suggested by Rodrigo Miranda - including many in French, Portuguese, and Spanish – have also been added, as has a reading suggested by Gabriel Ruiz. Our thanks to them all.

Bibliography: Laboratories, Instruments, and the Material Culture of Psychology


General Discussion

Benjamin, Jr., L. T. (2000). The psychology laboratory at the turn of the 20th century. American Psychologist, 55(3), 318–321. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.3.318

Capshew, J. H. (1992). Psychologists on site: A reconnaissance of the historiography of the laboratory. American Psychologist, 47(2), 132–142. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.47.2.132

Garvey, C. R. (1929). List of American psychology laboratories. Psychological Bulletin, 26, 652-660. doi:10.1037/h0075811

Specific Laboratories

Brooks, J. I. (1993). Philosophy and psychology at the Sorbonne, 1885–1913. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 29(2), 123–145. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(199304)29:2<123::AID-JHBS2300290204>3.0.CO;2-C

Cirino, S. D., Miranda, R. L., & da Cruz, R. N. (2012). The beginnings of behavior analysis laboratories in Brazil: A pedagogical view. History of Psychology, 15(3), 263–272. doi: 10.1037/a0026306

Green, C. D. (2010). Scientific objectivity and E. B. Titchener’s experimental psychology. Isis, 101(4), 697–721. doi:10.1086/657473

Koutstaal, W. (1992). Skirting the abyss: A history of experimental explorations of automatic writing in psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 28(1), 5–27. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(199201)28:1<5::AID-JHBS2300280102>3.0.CO;2-X

Lachapelle, S. (2008). From the stage to the laboratory: Magicians, psychologists, and the science of illusion. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 44(4), 319–334. doi:10.1002/jhbs.20327 Continue reading

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Websites on Binet, Henri, Janet, & Bourdon!

Those interested in the history of psychology in France will find the websites created by Serge Nicholas (left), dedicated to prominent early French psychologists, invaluable resources. Together with Bernard Andrieu, Nicholas has put together a website dedicated to the life and work of Alfred Binet. Although best known for his development of the intelligence test, Binet conducted research in a number of other areas. The diversity of this research is well represented on the Alfred Binet (1857-1911) website, which in addition to featuring a biography of Binet and wonderful photographs of Binet and his family, features a complete bibliography of Binet’s works with links to full text versions of most of these publications.

Nicholas has also created similar sites for French psychologists Benjamin Bourdon (together with Christophe Quaireau), Pierre Janet (together with Isabelle Saillot), and Victor Henri, one of Binet’s best known collaborators. A further site on Théodule Ribot appears to be under development. Visit these sites now to learn more about late-nineteenth and early twentieth century French psychology!

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Bibliography: History of Feminist Psychology

This post is written by Alexandra Rutherford, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

I have included four sections in this reading list. All are limited to the North American context. The first section includes works that review and/or historically analyze the history of feminist psychology, psychology of women, and psychology of gender in North America. The second brief section includes a few resources on the history of feminist organizing/organizations in North American psychology. The last two sections I have called Feminist Psychology Classics I and II to refer to primary works pre-second wave feminism, and second wave and beyond, respectively. I have intentionally refrained from including the body of work on psychoanalysis and feminism, and have used fairly internalist inclusion criteria, that is, I have included works written by psychologists, generated within the disciplinary framework of organized psychology. Clearly, there are many classic works of feminist psychology that fall outside these boundaries.

I. History of Feminist Psychology/Psychology of Women/Psychology of Gender:

Brodsky, A. M. (1980). A decade of feminist influence on psychotherapy. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 4, 331-344.

Crawford, M. & Marecek, J. (1989). Psychology reconstructs the female, 1968-1988. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 13, 147-165.

Denmark, F. L., & Fernandez, L. C. (1993). Historical development of the psychology of women. In F. L. Denmark & M. A. Paludi (Eds.), Psychology of women: A handbook of issues and theories (pp. 4-22). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Harris, B. J. (1984). The power of the past: History and the psychology of women. In M. Lewin (Ed.), In the shadow of the past: Psychology portrays the sexes (pp. 1-25). New York: Columbia University Press. Continue reading

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Bibliography: Genius

This post is written by Laura C. Ball, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

This list represents, to me, some of the most integral works on the study of genius in psychology. Based on my readings for my MA thesis (and now my PhD dissertation), this collection characterizes the themes apparent in the research on genius, and its connection to the study of giftedness. I have also tried to present several different types of scholarship: historical, theoretical, empirical, case studies, and inter-disciplinary works. These works have had an impact on our understanding of intelligence, creativity, and to a lesser extent, madness. These works also feature some of the earliest attempts at historiometry. However, this list is by no means comprehensive, nor does it aim to be: the literature that could be included from historical and contemporary perspectives (within psychology and from without) is simply to vast. To get a better idea of this literature, I would refer the reader to Dean K. Simonton’s Genius 101 (see below).

Derrida, J. (2007). Geneses, genealogies, genres, and genius: The secrets of the archive (B. B. Brahic, Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

  • In this work, Derrida provides a linguistic deconstruction of the term genius. He relates the word to the work of his long-time friend, Hélène Cixous. While not a psychological piece, it is of extreme import to anyone wishing to study the topic from a critical perspective.

Eysenck, H. J. (1995). Genius: The natural history of creativity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Continue reading

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Bibliography: Psychologist-made Films

This post is written by Arlie Belliveau, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

For an overall history and discussion of psychological films I suggest the following reading list:

1. Beck, L.F. (1938). A review of sixteen-millimeter films in psychology and allied sciences. Psychological Bulletin, 35(3), 127-169.

In the 1938 paper “Sixteen-Millimeter Films in Psychology” Beck collected 324 psychological films offering readers brief descriptions of the footage. He categorized the films under the following headings: films of psychologists; development of behavior; the response mechanism; animal and human learning; perception; emotional reactions; action, motor skills and fatigue; personality, guidance and educational problems; abnormal behavior; naturalistic films of plant and animal behavior; and miscellaneous films.

2. Valentine, W.L. (1938). Report of a survey conducted by the motion picture committee. Psychological Bulletin, 35(7), 423-429. doi: 10.1037/h0061142

By the 1930s the APA experienced an influx of filmed materials. Conference presentations were increasingly paired with film footage, much of which was poorly edited. The Motion Picture Committee of the APA was organized to gather data on film use in the APA and at US universities. They sent out a questionnaire to APA members, as well as to 156 different institutions, inquiring as to whether or not universities were equipped to make use of the new films, if they planned to purchase film equipment in the future, obstacles that could arise from film use in the classroom, and opinions regarding the overall effectiveness of films in the classroom. The report summarized those findings and led to a committee that would seek to regulate film production by members of the APA in much the same way as the APA Publication Manual regulates written publications. Continue reading

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Bibliography: Race and Racism

This post is written by Thomas Teo, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

Adapted from: Teo, T. (2008). Race and psychology. In W. A. Darity (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences (2nd ed.) (Vol. 7, pp. 21-24). Detroit, MI: Macmillan.


Before the formal institutionalization of psychology in the nineteenth century, academics attributed psychological qualities to specific ethnic groups (doing so can even be found in Aristotle’s writings). However, the systematic combination of psychological characteristics with race occurred in the eighteenth century when Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) combined varieties of humans (“races”) with psychological and social characteristics in his taxonomy. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) advanced the concept of the Caucasian based on his idea that European culture originated in the Caucasus. The term Caucasian, still used in empirical studies of psychology, has no scientific validity.

In the second half of nineteenth century some European scholars suggested that the Caucasian variety divided into two branches, identified as Semites and Aryans. Both were associated with different psychological characteristics and formed the theoretical basis for Hitler’s ideology. In the 1860s John Langdon H. Down (1829-1896) studied the structure and function of various organs in idiots and imbeciles. He observed a group of individuals that he characterized as having round faces, flattened skulls, extra folds of skin over their eyelids, protruding tongues, short limbs, and retardation of motor and mental abilities. Continue reading

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Bibliography: History of Social Psychology

This post is written by Cathy Faye, Assistant Director, Archives of the History of Psychology, Center for the History of Psychology and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

In the following list of resources I have tried to provide literature that discusses social psychology from both a historical and a theoretical standpoint and that reflects both psychological and sociological approaches to the discipline. Nonetheless, my own interests are centred largely on the disciplinary history of twentieth-century American social psychology and the historiography of social psychology. This list reflects that focus. I’ve also focused on sources that take a very broad view of the field, and have therefore omitted reference to specific topics or time periods in the history of social psychology. For those interested in a more topical consideration of social psychology, I highly recommend Roger Smith’s (1997) bibliographic essay on “The individual and the social” (see Smith, The Norton History of the Human Sciences, pp. 993-999). I have provided brief explanatory notes regarding each book-length work in the list below. With a few exceptions, most of these works are standard histories, while the articles provided are mainly critiques of these standard histories or theoretical considerations of the discipline. Read together, they provide a really interesting story not only of what social psychology has been, but also of the changing views regarding what it should be. The list of articles is brief, but the best articles are those in the special issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences that I have cited.


Collier, G., Minton, H. L., & Reynolds, G. (1991). Currents of thought in American social psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. This book is a good place to start, since it highlights trends in the history of American social psychology. It does not, however, provide much detail or reflection.

Farr, R. M. (1996). The roots of modern social psychology, 1872-1954. Oxford: Blackwell. Farr provides a more reflective and critical history, along with a consideration of historiographical issues in writing the history of social psychology.

Greenwood, J. D. (2004). The disappearance of the social in American social psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Greenwood provides a critical, historical analysis of the individualistic nature of contemporary social psychology. He argues that early twentieth-century social psychologists had a rich conception of the social that has since dissipated. This book is particularly useful because it raises important questions regarding what constitutes a social versus an asocial psychology. Continue reading

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Bibliography: History of Women in Psychology

This post is written by Kelli Vaughn, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

In 2005, I wrote an article that included the phrase “we must teach the teachers;” no where is this more true than the study of the history of women in psychology. Even today when the body of scholarship in this marginalized area is growing we still see that women are forgotten or placed in a box (or “special” chapter as the case may be). The goal of my research is to address the need to rid ourselves of these omissions and pedestals by the general inclusion of women’s history within texts and courses, where it has always belonged. The first step in doing that is, as I mentioned, to teach the teachers or in this case the future teachers that which they are often not provided in their initial training. The following is a list of basic resources to familiarize yourself with the names and work of the earliest female pioneers in the field as well as the struggles often incurred in the historical construction of women and gender. These resources are updated regularly on my own website.


Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (1980). Women in psychology: Biography and autobiography. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 5, 140-144.

Bohan, J. S. (1995). Re-placing women in psychology: Readings toward a more inclusive history. Second Edition. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Furumoto, L. (1984). Review of Women scientists in America: Struggles and strategies to 1940. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 20, 238-240. Continue reading

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Bibliography: History of Functionalism

This post is written by Christopher Green, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

For the past few years I have been working on the American school of psychology that was known as Functionalism. Functionalism was prominent from around 1890 to around 1920, though its roots go back into the 1870s and, in some ways, it carries forward to the present day. I have made two video documentaries about it (http://tinyurl.com/functionalism1, http://tinyurl.com/functionalism2), and I had an article in the February 2009 issue of American Psychologist (as part of their Darwin bicentennial celebration). I will also have a related article on Titchener and objectivity in the December 2010 issue of Isis. One of the reasons I became interested in this topic was the relative lack of good historical work on it, but I have put together a list of the books and papers that I found to be most helpful in understanding it. Most of it is primary source, but I have included some secondary material as well (some of which has a somewhat different focus — e.g., pragmatism, intelligence testing, applied psychology, behaviorism — but still bears on Functionalism in important ways).

Angell, James R. (1903). The relation of structural and functional psychology to philosophy. Decennial publications of the University of Chicago (First Series, Vol. 3, pp. 55-73).

Angell, James Rowland. (1907). The province of functional psychology. Psychological Review, 14, 61-91.

Angell, James Rowland & Moore, Addison W. (1896). Studies from the psychological laboratory of the University of Chicago: 1. Reaction-Time: A study in attention and habit. Psychological Review, 3, 245-258.

Backe, Andrew. (2001). John Dewey and early Chicago functionalism. History of Psychology, 4, 323-340.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1895b). Mental development in the child and race. New York: Macmillan.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1896a). A new factor in evolution. American Naturalist, 30, 441-451, 536-553. Continue reading

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Bibliography: Historiography of Psychology

This post is written by Michael Pettit, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

Making (and reading) these kinds of lists is fun but always tricky. The problem is not so much what to include but exclude. The following gives you a snapshot of how I conceive of the “greatest hits” in the history of psychology (rather broadly construed) over the past fifty years. The list consists entirely of books: this reflects my graduate training if not necessarily my current reading habits. Most authors get only one book. The thought of Michel Foucault definitely has shaped this historiography profoundly, but the response among historians has been quite nuanced and sophisticated. This list of books includes work by historians, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, alongside psychologists, demonstrating how interdisciplinary the field has become. An important question to contemplate at the current moment is whether there are new, untapped historiographic directions offered by this tradition or whether we require a new starting point for debate?

Foucault, M. (1966/1970). The Order of Things. New York: Vintage.

Ellenberger, H. (1970). The discovery of the unconsciousness. New York: Basic Books.

Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: An introduction. New York: Vintage.

Young, R. M. (1985). Darwin’s metaphor: Nature’s place in Victorian culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Digby, A. (1985). Madness, morality and medicine: A study of the York Retreat, 1796-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Donnell, J. M. (1985). The origins of behaviorism: American psychology, 1870-1920. New York: New York University Press. Continue reading

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