Tag Archives: E. G. Boring

New Articles: Washburn’s Cognitivism and Boring in the AJP

The Summer 2017 issue of The American Journal of Psychology is now available and includes two articles that may interest AHP readers. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Margaret F. Washburn in The American Journal of Psychology: A Cognitive Precursor?,” by José T. Boyano. The abstract reads,

In the early 20th century, Margaret F. Washburn (1871–1939) produced numerous studies on perception, affective value of stimulus, memory, emotions, and consciousness. This experimental work was published in The American Journal of Psychology. The purpose of this article is to analyze the temporal evolution of these kinds of experiments and relate them to Washburn’s theoretical production. Contrary to other views, Washburn’s experimental evolution follows a logical sequence and has a strong inner coherence. Among other reasons, the lack of a scientific and social framework to the study of the mind has tended to overshadow large areas of Washburn’s thought. However, both the work published in AJP and the methods used in experiments provide reasons to consider Washburn one of the precursors of contemporary cognitive psychology.

“Edwin G. Boring: The Historian’s Path in the Pages of The American Journal of Psychology,” by Shawn P. Gallagher. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Articles: Washburn’s Cognitivism and Boring in the AJP

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Masculinity in Mid-20th Psychology in the New Osiris

The 2015 volume of special topic publication Osiris is now available and dedicated to the theme of “Scientific Masculinities.” Among the plethora of interesting pieces in the issue, is one specifically on the history of psychology: “Maintaining Masculinity in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Psychology: Edwin Boring, Scientific Eminence, and the ‘Woman Problem'” by Alexandra Rutherford. The abstract reads,

Using mid-twentieth-century American psychology as my focus, I explore how scientific psychology was constructed as a distinctly masculine enterprise and was navigated by those who did not conform easily to this masculine ideal. I show how women emerged as problems for science through the vigorous gatekeeping activities and personal and professional writings of disciplinary figurehead Edwin G. Boring. I trace Boring’s intellectual and professional socialization into masculine science and his efforts to understand women’s apparent lack of scientific eminence, efforts that were clearly undergirded by preexisting and widely shared assumptions about men’s and women’s capacities and preferences.

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APA Monitor: Preparing the Human Machine for War

The July/August issue of the American Psychological Association‘s Monitor on Psychology is now online. This issue’s Time Capsule section features an article on psychologist E. G. Boring’s popular 1943 book Psychology for the Fighting Man. As Ben Harris describes in the piece,

At first, the book was planned as a textbook for officer candidates to educate them about “the great human war machine.” Boring was a logical choice for editor because he had done psychological work in World War I and was first author of a popular, collaborative introductory text. But plans for such a textbook were scrapped in favor of a paperback geared toward the high-school reading level, thanks to Col. Joseph Greene, editor of the popular Infantry Journal, which had a sideline of book publishing. Its 25¢ Fighting Forces Penguin Specials were cheap paperbacks modeled after a British series that Penguin Books created to make money and circumvent wartime paper rationing.

Greene convinced Boring to aim the book at general readers with no college education. As the inside cover explained, “the corporal in the next bunk can get as much out of the book as his colonel can.”

The book’s appeal began with its striking cover, which promised it would tell readers “what you should know about yourself and others.” Using a technique that ad men had perfected in the 1930s, the editors aroused the soldier’s fears and then promised to show the path to safety. The book promised “practical ideas that will improve his personal adjustment, and give him a better chance to stay off the casualty lists than he already has.”

The full article can be read online here.

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from all of us at AHP! (And, of course, from Santa Claus – AKA psychologist E. G. Boring – at Harvard’s 1940 Christmas party.)

 

*Images via the Center for the History of Psychology blog.

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