Tag Archives: JHBS

New JHBS: “Primitive” Mentality, James on Emotion, Bekhterev’s Psychoreflexology, & More

The Spring 2014 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are articles on studies of “primitive” mentality, human factor psychology, William James’s theory of emotion, and Bekhterev’s (right) psychoreflexology in relation to Wundt. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Hermannsburg, 1929: Turning Aboriginal “Primitives” into Modern Psychological Subjects,” by Warwick Anderson. The abstract reads,

In 1929, the Lutheran mission at Hermannsburg (Ntaria), central Australia, became an extraordinary investigatory site, attracting an array of leading psychologists wishing to define the “primitive” mentality of the Arrernte, who became perhaps the most studied people in the British Empire and dominions. This is a story of how scientific knowledge derived from close encounters and fraught entanglements on the borderlands of the settler state. The investigators—Stanley D. Porteus, H. K. Fry, and Géza Róheim—represent the major styles of psychological inquiry in the early-twentieth century, and count among the vanguard of those dismantling rigid racial typologies and fixed hierarchies of human mentality. They wanted to evaluate “how natives think,” yet inescapably they found themselves reflecting on white mentality too. They came to recognise the primitive as an influential and disturbing motif within the civilised mind—their own minds. These intense interactions in the central deserts show us how Aboriginal thinking could make whites think again about themselves—and forget, for a moment, that many of their research subjects were starving.

“Turning Men into Machines? Scientific Management, Industrial Psychology, and the “Human Factor”,” Maarten Derksen. The abstract reads,

In the controversy that broke out in 1911 over Frederick W. Taylor’s scientific management, many critics contended that it ignored “the human factor” and reduced workers to machines. Psychologists succeeded in positioning themselves as experts of the human factor, and their instruments and expertise as the necessary complement of Taylor’s psychologically deficient system. However, the conventional view that the increasing influence of psychologists and other social scientists “humanized” management theory and practice needs to be amended. Taylor’s scientific management was not less human than later approaches such as Human Relations, but it articulated the human factor differently, and aligned it to its own instruments and practices in such a way that it was at once external to them and essential to their functioning. Industrial psychologists, on the other hand, at first presented themselves as engineers of the human factor and made the human mind an integral part of management.

““Picturesque Incisiveness”: Explaining the Celebrity of James’s Theory of Emotion,” Claudia Wassmann. The abstract reads,

William James is the name that comes to mind when asked about scientific explanations of emotion in the nineteenth century. However, strictly speaking James’s theory of emotion does not explain emotions and never did. Indeed, James contemporaries pointed this out already more than a hundred years ago. Why could “James’ theory” nevertheless become a landmark that psychologists, neuroscientists, and historians alike refer to today? The strong focus on James and Anglo-American sources in historiography has overshadowed all other answers given to the question of emotion at the time of James. For that reason, the article returns to the primary sources and places James’s work back into the context of nineteenth century brain research in which it developed.

“The Emergence and Development of Bekhterev’s Psychoreflexology in Relation to Wundt’s Experimental Psychology,” Saulo de Freitas Araujo. The abstract reads,

After its foundation, the Laboratory for Experimental Psychology at Leipzig University became an international center for psychological research, attracting students from all over the world. The Russian physiologist and psychiatrist Vladimir Bekhterev (1857–1927) was one of Wilhelm Wundt’s students in 1885, and after returning to Russia he continued enthusiastically his experimental research on mental phenomena. However, he gradually distanced himself from Wundt’s psychological project and developed a new concept of psychology: the so-called Objective Psychology or Psychoreflexology. The goal of this paper is to analyze Bekhterev’s position in relation to Wundt’s experimental psychology, by showing how the former came to reject the latter’s conception of psychology. The results indicate that Bekhterev’s development of a philosophical program, including his growing interest in establishing a new Weltanschauung is the main reason behind his divergence with Wundt, which is reflected in his conception of scientific psychology. Despite this, Wundt remained alive in Bekhterev’s mind as an ideal counterpoint.

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New JHBS: Mine Detection Dogs, Memory Improvement, Robert Owen, & the Street Corner Society

The winter 2014 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are articles describing the development of mine detector dogs during World War Two, late-nineteenth century advice on improving natural memory, parallels between debates over Robert Owen’s role in the history of sociology and contemporary sociology, and the roots of sociologist William Foote Whyte’s Street Corner Society. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“In Dogs We Trust? Intersubjectivity, Response-Able Relations, and the Making of Mine Detector Dogs,” by Robert G. W. Kirk. The abstract reads,

The utility of the dog as a mine detector has divided the mine clearance community since dogs were first used for this purpose during the Second World War. This paper adopts a historical perspective to investigate how, why, and to what consequence, the use of minedogs remains contested despite decades of research into their abilities. It explores the changing factors that have made it possible to think that dogs could, or could not, serve as reliable detectors of landmines over time. Beginning with an analysis of the wartime context that shaped the creation of minedogs, the paper then examines two contemporaneous investigations undertaken in the 1950s. The first, a British investigation pursued by the anatomist Solly Zuckerman, concluded that dogs could never be the mine hunter’s best friend. The second, an American study led by the parapsychologist J. B. Rhine, suggested dogs were potentially useful for mine clearance. Drawing on literature from science studies and the emerging subdiscipline of “animal studies,” it is argued that cross-species intersubjectivity played a significant role in determining these different positions. The conceptual landscapes of Zuckerman and Rhine’s disciplinary backgrounds are shown to have produced distinct approaches to managing cross-species relations, thus explaining how diverse opinions on minedog can coexist. In conclusion, it is shown that the way one structures relationships between humans and animals has profound impact on the knowledge and labor subsequently produced, a process that cannot be separated from ethical consequence.

“Advice for Improving Memory: Exercising, Strengthening, and Cultivating Natural Memory, 1860–1910,” by Alan F. Collins. The abstract reads,

The idea that human memory can be improved appears to be as ancient as the concept of memory itself. Continue reading

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New JHBS: Sensory Deprivation, USDA Research, and More

The autumn 2013 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are three all new articles. The history of John Zubek’s (left) sensory deprivation research is explored in an article by Mical Raz, while Andrew Jewett discusses the social science involvement in United States Department of Agriculture research in the 1930s. A further article details the relationship between British sociology and colonialism in the mid-twentieth century. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Alone Again: John Zubek and the Troubled History of Sensory Deprivation Research,” by Mical Raz. The abstract reads,

In the 1950s, sensory deprivation research emerged as an influential new field for behavioral science researchers, supported by the intelligence community. Within a few years, deprivation research had become ubiquitous; images of sensory deprivation were invoked to explain a wide range of phenomena, from religious revelations to the very structure of psychoanalysis. Yet within a decade and a half, this field of research became implicated in cases of torture and abuse. This article examines the history of University of Manitoba psychologist John Zubek, who remained one of the final researchers still conducting sensory deprivation research in the 1970s. It raises questions on how might it be possible to successfully and cautiously perform controversial research.

“The Social Sciences, Philosophy, and the Cultural Turn in the 1930s USDA,” by Andrew Jewett. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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New Issue: JHBS

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are a number of new articles that range from the difficulty in classifying postpartum depression, the mental hygiene in socialist Mexico, and even a digital analysis of the Psychological Review. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“A Tricky Object to Classify: Evidence, Postpartum Depression and the DSM-IV,” by Rebecca Godderis. The abstract reads:

The concept of evidence has become central in Western healthcare systems; however, few investigations have studied how the shift toward specific definitions of evidence actually occurred in practice. This paper examines a historical case in psychiatry where the debate about how to define evidence was of central importance to nosological decision making. During the fourth revision of the Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders a controversial decision was made to exclude postpartum depression (PPD) as a distinct disorder from the manual. On the basis of archival and interview data, I argue that the fundamental issues driving this decision were related to questions about what constituted suitable hierarchies of evidence and appropriate definitions of evidence. Further, although potentially buttressed by the evidence-based medicine movement, this shift toward a reliance on particular kinds of empirical evidence occurred when the dominant paradigm in American psychiatry changed from a psychodynamic approach to a research-based medical model.

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New JHBS: Ribot, German psych, & More!

The Winter 2013 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are articles on French psychologist Théodule Ribot’s (right) founding of the Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger and the founding of the German Gesellschaft für psychologische Forschung” (“Society for Psychological Research”), which was intended to be an outlet for non-Wundtian psychologies from France and Britain. Other articles in this issue look at the history of ethnographic research and Bayesian rationality in economics. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘A Big Piece of News': Théodule Ribot and the Founding of the Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger,” by Serge Nicolas. The abstract reads,

This paper describes the founding of the Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger by Théodule Ribot (1839–1916) in 1876. Like the English journal Mind, which was launched the same year, this journal introduced the new scientific psychology to France. Its founding increased Ribot’s scientific credibility in psychology and led him to be regarded as the most distinguished French specialist in the field. First, we review the state of French philosophy at the time of the journal’s founding, focusing on the three main French schools of thought in philosophy and on their relations with psychology. Second, after analyzing the preface written by Ribot in the first issue of the Revue Philosophique, we examine how the journal was received in French philosophical circles. Finally, we discuss its subsequent history, highlighting its founder’s promotion of new ideas in psychology.

“Normalizing the Supernormal: The Formation of the “Gesellschaft Für Psychologische Forschung” (“Society for Psychological Research”), c. 1886–1890,” by Andreas Sommer. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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New JHBS! Sociology, Stereotypes, & Emotions

The autumn 2012 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are articles on the role of emotions in animal experimentation, the career and interests of Japanese sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani, the development of sociology during the Progressive Era in the United States, and the importance of Walter Lippmann’s (left) theory of stereotypes. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Animal Tales: Observations of the Emotions in American Experimental Psychology, 1890-1940,” by Anne C. Rose.  The abstract reads,

In nineteenth-century science, the emotions played a crucial role in explaining the social behavior of animals and human
beings. Beginning in the 1890s, however, the first American psychologists, resolutely parsimonious in method, dismissed affective experience as intellectually imprecise. Yet in practice, feelings continued to influence at least one research setting: animal experiments. Laboratory reports, although focused on learning, became a repository of informal observations about the animals’ temperaments and moods. When American psychologists began to reexamine the emotions between the world wars, they drew on this empirical legacy in animal studies. They also devised a conceptual approach to emotion consistent with their expectation of experimental precision.

“Japanese American Wartime Experience, Tamotsu Shibutani and Methodological Innovation, 1942-1978,” by Karen M. Inouye. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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New JHBS! James, Mead, & Peace Psych

The Spring 2012 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are articles on the history of peace psychology, the importance of mind cure for William James, and George Herbert Mead’s (left) development of his social psychology. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Finding Patrons for Peace Psychology: The Foundations of the Conflict Resolution Movement at the University of Michigan, 1951–1971,” by Teresa Tomás Rangil. No abstract provided.

“Interpreting “Mind-Cure”: William James and the ‘Chief Task…of the Science of Human Nature’,” by Emma Kate Sutton. The abstract reads,

The private papers of the philosopher-psychologist, William James, indicate that he frequented several mental healers during his life, undertaking 100–200 therapeutic sessions concerning a range of symptoms from angina to insomnia. The success of the mind-cure movement constituted for James both a corroboration, and an extension, of the new research into the subconscious self and the psychogenesis of disease. Epistemologically, the experiences of those converts to the “mind-cure religion” exemplified his conviction that positivistic scientific enquiry can only reveal only one part of a wider reality. Metaphysically their reports comprised a powerful body of support for the existence of a “higher consciousness,” a supernatural world of some description. The positing of such a source of “supernormal” healing power was, for James, the best way to reconcile the accounts of those who had been regenerated, via their faith, despite having exhausted all natural reserves of energy and will.

“The Construction of Mind, Self, and Society: The Social Process Behind G. H. Mead’s Social Psychology” by Daniel R. Heubner. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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The Human Sciences and Cold War America

The Summer 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has just been released online. This issue is a Special Issue on The Human Sciences and Cold War America, guest edited by Joel Isaac (left) of Queen Mary University of London. Articles in this special issue address, among other topics, 1960s Pentagon-funded psychological research in Vietnam, efforts to use projective tests as mental “X-ray” machines, and the relationship of rational choice models and international relations theory. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Introduction: The human sciences and Cold War America,” by Joel Isaac. The abstract reads,

Studies of the history of the human sciences during the Cold War era have proliferated over the past decade—in JHBS and elsewhere. This special issue focuses on the connections between the behavioral sciences and the culture and politics of the Cold War in the United States. In the recent literature, there is a tendency to identify the Cold War human sciences with two main paradigms: that of psychocultural analysis, on the one hand, and of the systems sciences, on the other. The essays in the special issue both extend understanding of each of these interpretive frameworks and help us to grasp their interconnection.

“The last stand of the psychocultural Cold warriors: Military contract research in Vietnam,” by Joy Rohde. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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New Issue: JHBS Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has just been released online. Included in this issue are four all new articles as well as a number of book reviews. Among the subjects addressed in the issue’s articles are the history of linguistics, the work of Herbert Blumer, music research in early experimental psychology and the influence of nondirective interviewing methods, as developed by Carl Rogers (left), in sociological interviewing. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘The most important technique …”: Carl Rogers, Hawthorne, and the rise and fall of nondirective interviewing in sociology,” by Raymond M. Lee. The abstract reads,

In the 1940s, interviewing practice in sociology became decisively influenced by techniques that had originally been developed by researchers in other disciplines working within a number of therapeutic or quasi-therapeutic contexts, in particular the “nondirective interviewing” methods developed by Carl Rogers and the interviewing procedures developed during the Hawthorne studies. This article discusses the development of nondirective interviewing and looks at how in the 1930s and ’40s the approach came to be used in sociology. It examines the factors leading to both the popularity of the method and its subsequent fall from favor. Continue reading

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New Issue: JHBS

The winter 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has been released online. Included in this issue are four all new research articles, an essay review, and eight book reviews. Among topics addressed in the research articles, are the disciplinary myth of Little Albert (left), neo-Freudianism in the United States, ADHD, and the role of measurement in Gustav Fechner’s work. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Letting go of little Albert: Disciplinary memory, history, and the uses of myth,” by Ben Harris. The abstract reads,

In 2009 American Psychologist published the account of an attempt to identify the infant “Albert B.,” who participated in Watson and Rayner’s study of the conditioning of human fears. Such literal interpretations of the question “Whatever happened to Little Albert?” highlight the importance of historical writing that transcends the narrowly biographical and that avoids the obsessive hunt for “facts.” The author of a 1979 study of how secondary sources have told the story of Little Albert relates his attempts to purge incorrect accounts of that story from college textbooks. He renounces such efforts as misguided and suggests that myths in the history of psychology can be instructive, including the myth that the identity of Little Albert has been discovered.

“The great escape: World War II, neo-Freudianism, and the origins of U.S. psychocultural analysis,” by Edward J. K. Gitre. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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