The May 2015 issue of History of Psychology (vol 18, issue 2) is now available (find online here), and is chock-full of interesting content. From analyses exploring the materiality of psychological and psychiatric instruments (including the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale, the ‘Utica Crib,’ and the controversial transorbital ice pick lobotomy instrument introduced by Walter Freeman), to historiographic discussions (about how to further internationalize the practice of the history of psychology in North America, and about the necessity of attention to multiple temporalities and contexts within the history of psychology in Brazil), there’s a little something for everyone.
The abstracts read as follows:
Test or toy? Materiality and the measurement of infant intelligence.
By: Young, Jacy L.
Adopting a material culture perspective, this article interrogates the composition of the copy of the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale housed at the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection. As a deliberately assembled collection of toys, the Cattell Scale makes clear the indefinite boundary between test and toy in 20th-century American psychology. Consideration of the current condition of some of the material constituents of this particular Cattell Scale provides valuable insight into some of the elusive practices of intelligence testers in situ and highlights the dynamic nature of the testing process. At the same time, attending to the materiality of this intelligence test reveals some of the more general assumptions about the nature of intelligence inherent in tests for young children. The scale and others like it, I argue, exposes psychologists’ often-uncritical equation of childhood intelligence with appropriate play undertaken with an appropriate toy, an approach complicit in, and fostered by, midcentury efforts to cultivate particular forms of selfhood. This analysis serves as an example of the kind of work that may be done on the history of intelligence testing when the material objects that were (and are) inherently a part of the testing process are included in historical scholarship.
The first issue of the 18th volume of History of Psychology is now available (here). Contents include a digital networking of early articles in the journal Psychological Review, an account of Alfred Binet’s subject Jacques Inaudi, the relation between experimental psychology and educational training in early 20th century Brazil, and more. Article titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“The ‘textbook Gibson’: The assimilation of dissidence,” by Alan Costall and Paul Morris. The abstract reads:
We examine how the textbooks have dealt with one of psychology’s most eminent dissidents, James Gibson (1904–1979). Our review of more than a hundred textbooks, dating from the 1950s to the present, reveals fundamental and systematic misrepresentations of Gibson. Although Gibson continues to figure in most of the textbooks, his work is routinely assimilated to theoretical positions he emphatically rejected: cue theory, stimulus-response psychology, and nativism. As Gibson’s one-time colleague, Ulric Neisser, pointed out, psychologists are especially prone to trying to understand new proposals “by mapping it on to some existing scheme,” and warned that when “an idea is really new, that strategy fails” (Neisser, 1990, p. 749). The “Textbook Gibson” is an example of such a failure, and perhaps also of the more general importance of assimilation—“shadow history”—within the actual history of psychology.
This month the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the American Psychological Association) offers a special virtual issue of the journal History of Psychology. Entitled “Teaching Diversity: What can History Offer?” this free volume includes three pieces selected and introduced by Division President Alexandra Rutherford which “address gender, race/ethnicity, and the intersection of sexuality and disability in historical perspective” in order to highlight “that historical scholarship offers a rich and often untapped resource for instructors who wish to engage students in critical conversations about diversity issues across the psychology curriculum.” Rutherford’s introduction “outline[s] how these articles can be incorporated into courses across the curriculum to deepen students’ understanding of how psychology and psychologists have grappled with these issues and how historical analyses can inform contemporary topics and debates.”
The conclusion to Rutherford’s introductory article provides a concise synopsis of how this special issue can be a resource for the promotion of socially responsible pedagogical values in psychology, and their application in the classroom:
“The articles featured here to encourage the use of historical scholarship across the psychology curriculum demonstrate how history can facilitate forms of critical thinking that have the potential to make students better scholars and better psychologists. By encountering historical analyses that provoke critical questions about the relationship between science and culture, science and politics, and science and society, students develop the capacity to examine the preexisting assumptions that may creep uncritically into contemporary research. They develop the capacity to examine the role that psychology, as a powerful scientific and social institution, plays in our everyday lives. There is no reason that the development of these skills should be undertaken only in the history of psychology course. I hope this introduction has provided some ideas about how to use history to achieve critical learning objectives across the curriculum.”
The November 2012 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Included in this issue are articles on the history of psychology in Columbia, the neurological status of Little Albert, and the work of Alfred Binet in his Sorbonne laboratory (above). Also included in this issue is a piece on how the history of the DSM can be used to teach students about the complexities of conceptions of mental health and illness, as well as a description of an archive for the history of psychology in Spain and an author’s reflection on the process of writing a recent book on William Stern. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Colombian approaches to psychology in the 19th century,” by Gilberto Leonardo Oviedo. The abstract reads,
Colombian intellectuals of the 19th century widely consulted scientific psychology in regard to their political, religious, and educational interests. Colombian independence from Spain (1810) introduced the necessity of transforming the former subjects into illustrious citizens and members of a modern state. After independence, political liberals embraced Bentham’s thesis of utilitarianism and the theories of sensibility, with a teaching style based in induction. Conservatives defended the Catholic tradition about the divine origin of the soul and used scholasticism as a model of teaching. A bipartisan coalition, the Regeneration, incorporated the ideas of modern psychology based on the principles of Thomistic thought (Neo-Thomism). The Neo-Thomists considered psychology as a science of the soul and debated physiological explanations of the mind. The conceptual advances of the period have been trivialized in historical accounts of psychology in Colombia, due to the emphasis on the institutionalization processes of the discipline in 1947.
The November issue of History of Psychology has just been released. Included in this issue are pieces marking the centenary of William James’ death and the 150th anniversary of Gustav Fechner’s Psychophysics (previous discussed on AHP here, here, and here). In additional articles, James Goodwin describe Knight Dunlap’s (right) vision of a national laboratory of psychology, while Peter Lamont explores the inherently reflexive nature psychological knowledge through the case of mesmerism. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Reaching beyond Uncle William: A century of William James in theory and in life,” by Paul J. Croce. The abstract reads,
During the hundred years since his death, James’s works have developed a reputation for literary flair and personal appeal, but also for inconsistency and lack of rigor; this has contributed to more admiration than influence. He had a talent rare among intellectuals for popularization of complex ideas. Meanwhile, his difficult coming of age and his compelling personality have contributed to an iconic status as a kind of uncle figure in philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and more fields that he influenced, and in American intellectual life in general, rather than as a major philosopher and scholar. Often reflecting these ways of depicting James, his biographies have gone through three phases: in the early-to-middle twentieth century, emphasis on his development of theories as solutions to personal problems; since the 1960s, increased scrutiny of deep troubles in his private life; and recently renewed attention to intellectual factors especially as amplified by greater appreciation of James’s theories in the last generation. Now, with so much knowledge and insight achieved for understanding his personal life and his contributions to many fields, a next frontier for biographical work will be in synthesis of these strands of the life of William James. Recent and prospective work offers the promise of finding deeper meaning and implications in his work beyond, and even through, his informal style, and with integration of his apparent inconsistencies.
AHP‘s special sneak peak into the forthcoming November issue of History of Psychology (HoP) continues with an interview with Paul Croce, Professor of American Studies at Stetson University. (Previously featured on AHP, as part of this sneak peak, was an interview with David Robinson in celebration of Fechner Day.)
In the November issue of HoP, Stetson, President of the William James Society, reviews a century of research on William James and his work to mark the centenary of James’s death. AHP asked Stetson about his work on James and about what readers can expect to find in his HoP article.
AHP: How did you first become interested in William James?
PC: I was fortunate to have had a graduate education in an interdisciplinary field, American Studies. I would run into William James in each of my areas of interest: in the history of psychology, he was a founder of the scientific turn of the discipline; in philosophy, he was the most articulate of pragmatism’s founders; in religious studies, he “redrew the map” for thinking about religion in psychological terms; in cultural and intellectual history, he bridged academic and public discourse, and was even one of the first Americans to refer to “intellectuals” as a social class (“Social Value of the College Bred,” 1907, Essays Comments, and Reviews, p. 110).
Reading the scholarship on James, however, revealed a strange split: theorists of his psychology, philosophy, and religious thought paid little attention to his life and contexts, and biographers and historians told stories of his deep youthful crisis and impulsive personality often without reference to his theorizing. As a historian, I wondered about the connections between these strands of research: how did a person with such troubles produce an array of interesting and influential ideas? Continue reading Interview with Paul Croce on William James→
The February 2010 issue of History of Psychology has just been released online. The issue begins with a statement from the journal’s new editor, Wade Pickren. Also included in this issue are three all new articles, a section devoted to teaching the history of psychology, a new “Sources, research notes, and news” section, as well as an interview with Kenneth B. Clark (right). Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“History of Psychology new editor statement” by Wade E. Pickren.
Two astute and creative editors have guided History of Psychology through its first 12 volumes. Michael Sokal, Founding Editor, and James Capshew have done marvelous work in making the journal must reading for scholars in the history of the human sciences. I feel honored to serve as the third editor of the journal and will continue the excellent editorial standards set for the journal. Over the course of the next year, readers will see several new features in the journal. Each year, we plan to have either one full issue or a special section devoted to a particular topic. Continue reading New HoP Issue Now Online→
The soon-to-appear February 2010 issue of History of Psychology is the journal’s first issue under the editorship of Wade Pickren. Pickren, also currently president of the Society for the History of Psychology, Division 26 of the American Psychological Association, has been kind enough to provide AHP‘s readers with an overview of his vision for the journal, as well as a sneak peak at the content of the first issue. He writes,
As the new editor of History of Psychology, I want to be careful to keep the high quality that Michael Sokal and James Capshew maintained over the first 12 volumes. At the same time, I will introduce several new features that I think will enhance our readers experience and contribute to our field of scholarship. In this first year, we will have a special issue on the international historiography of psychology, with reviews of historical scholarship from the Czech Republic, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gustav Fechner’s Elemente der Psychophysik, we will have a special section co-edited by David K. Robinson. A new feature that will appear in each issue is a regular contribution on teaching the history of psychology. The history of psychology scholarly community has much to offer our colleagues who teach the history course, but who do not have specialty training or involvement in the field. Continue reading Introducing the New HoP→
The January 2010 issue of the American Psychological Association’s Monitoron Psychology features an article on History of Psychology‘s new editor, Wade Pickren (pictured left). Pickren, associate professor of psychology at Ryerson University, begins his six year term as editor of History of Psychology this month. History of Psychology is the official journal of Society for the History of Psychology, division 26 of the APA, of which Pickren is also President-Elect. Pickren takes over from the journal’s previous editor James Capshew of Indiana University.
For Pickren, “Even as psychology becomes more specialized, history will always be the field’s common core.” In an effort to make the history of psychology more accessible to others in the field, he has introduced several new features into the journal. These include a teaching section, edited by Bernard Beins of Ithaca College, in which ways for including historical topics into coursework will be discussed, as well as a “Documenting Psychology” series that will feature interviews with prominent psychologists. Other features include, a spotlight on a psychology archive, as well as a rebranded and expanded “Sources, Research Notes, and News” section edited by Kelli Vaugh-Blount of York University. The article is available free online here.
The December 2009 issue of History of Psychiatryhas just been released online. Among the five all-new articles that appear in the journal are ones on the history of homosexuality in Scotland, the visual experience of landscape as a therapeutic practice in British asylums, and Byzantine understandings of lycanthropy. Also included in this issue is a translated section of L. Snell’s 1852 “On alterations in the form of speech and on the formation of new words and expressions in madness”, as well as a request from researchers of the Venice asylum for assistance in a project that seeks to situate the history of this institution in the larger European context. The titles, authors, and abstracts from the articles in the issue follow below.
In “Psychiatry and homosexuality in mid-twentieth-century Edinburgh: the view from Jordanburn Nerve Hospital” Robert Davidson (pictured, left), Emeritus Professor of Social History and Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, examines the 1950s understanding of homosexuality in Edinburgh and contrasts these views with those of the medical community in Glasgow. Continue reading Homosexuality, Asylums, and Lycanthrophy→