Tag Archives: Mary Ainsworth

Marga Vicedo on “Putting Attachment in its Place: Disciplinary and Cultural Contexts”

A new article on the history of attachment is now in press at the European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Marga Vicedo‘s piece explores the reception of John Bowlby’s and Mary Ainsworth’s theories of attachment and puts these into context. Full details below.

“Putting attachment in its place: Disciplinary and cultural contexts,” by Marga Vicedo. The abstract reads,

This paper examines the reception of John Bowlby’s and Mary Ainsworth’s ethological theory of attachment among anthropologists and cultural psychologists. First, it shows that from Margaret Mead’s criticisms in the mid 1950s to the present, many of them have challenged the main tenets of attachment theory but attachment theorists ignored those challenges. Second, it argues that we need to understand the different disciplinary goals of psychology and anthropology after WWII in order to illuminate the lack of attention to children’s cultural context in attachment research. The privileging within psychology of laboratory data over field observations supported the rise of attachment research focused on the strange situation procedure and contributed to the neglect of ethnographic data about children in their socio-cultural milieu. Recognizing the importance of studying children in context, however, recent studies by anthropologists and developmental psychologists sensitive to the power of culture have deepened the challenge to attachment theory.

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New HoP: Evil, Attachment, and Trends in Psychiatry

The February 2016 issue of History of Psychology is now online. The issue includes an opening editorial note from incoming editor Nadine Weidman on her plans for the journal. Articles in the issue explore studies of evil by Ernest Becker and Stanley Milgram, the influence of William Blatz on Mary Ainsworth’s attachment theory, and Foucault’s work on mental illness. The issue also includes an article on cyclical trends in the history of psychiatry by Hannah Decker, along with commentary from Allen Frances and Ronald Pies and a response from the author. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“History of Psychology,” by Nadine Weidman. The abstract reads,

The editor of History of Psychology discusses her plan to vary the journal’s content and expand its scope in specific ways. The first is to introduce a “Spotlight” feature, a relatively brief, provocative thought piece that might take one of several forms. Along with this new feature, she hopes further to broaden the journal’s coverage and its range of contributors. She encourages submissions on the history of the psy-sciences off the beaten path. Finally, she plans to continue the journal’s tradition of special issues, special sections, and essay reviews of two or more important recently published books in the field.

“Ernest Becker and Stanley Milgram: Twentieth-century students of evil,” by Jack Martin.

Both Stanley Milgram and Ernest Becker studied and theorized human evil and offered explanations for evil acts, such as those constituting the Holocaust. Yet the explanations offered by Becker and Milgram are strikingly different. In this essay, brief biographical records of their lives are provided. Differences in their research methods and theories are then examined and traced to relevant differences in their lives, education, and careers. Especially important in this regard were their personal experiences of evil and the scholarly practices and traditions of social scientific and humanities scholarship that characterized their graduate education and scholarly work. The final parts of the essay are devoted to a comparative and integrative analysis of their respective approaches to the question of evil, especially as manifest during the Holocaust, and a brief exegesis of their disciplinary commitments.

“From secure dependency to attachment: Mary Ainsworth’s integration of Blatz’s security theory into Bowlby’s attachment theory,” by Lenny van Rosmalen, Frank C. P. van der Horst, and René van der Veer. Continue reading New HoP: Evil, Attachment, and Trends in Psychiatry

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New JHBS: Race Relationships, Lazarfeld’s Voter Studies & More!

Mary Ainsworth

The summer issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Articles in this issue explore the relationships of scientists who disagreed over the nature of race, the origins of Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure, Alfred Binet’s role as editorial director of a French publishing house, and more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Race relationships: Collegiality and demarcation in physical anthropology,” by Peter Sachs Collopy. The abstract reads,

In 1962, anthropologist Carleton Coon argued in The Origin of Races that some human races had evolved further than others. Among his most vocal critics were geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky and anthropologist Ashley Montagu, each of whom had known Coon for decades. I use this episode, and the long relationships between scientists that preceded it, to argue that scientific research on race was intertwined not only with political projects to conserve or reform race relations, but also with the relationships scientists shared as colleagues. Demarcation between science and pseudoscience, between legitimate research and scientific racism, involved emotional as well as intellectual labor.

“Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure: The origin of an instrument,” by Lenny Van Rosmalen, René Van der Veer and Frank Van der Horst. The abstract reads, Continue reading New JHBS: Race Relationships, Lazarfeld’s Voter Studies & More!

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SRCD Oral Histories Go Online

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) has just posted online a number of transcripts from its Oral History Project. Over the course of its 25 year history, the SRCD Oral History Project has interviewed 135 important scholars in the field of child development. Now online are 16 interviews with individuals such as Mary Ainsworth, Eleanor Gibson, and Jerome Kagan (left). A full list of the available oral history transcripts is provided below and efforts are underway to post transcripts of further SRCD oral histories. For those interested in the history of developmental psychology, these interviews will undoubtedly prove an invaluable window into the field.

As described on the SRCD website,

Launched 25 years ago, the Oral History Project of SRCD is now available on this website to members of the Society as well as other interested scholars.  Interviews of 135 major figures in the fields of child development and child psychology, as well as other related fields, are included in the collection.  Sixteen of some of the earliest obtained oral histories are posted here and others will be incorporated in the near future.  Each person was interviewed by someone whom he/she selected, and the recordings were then transcribed, edited for accuracy, and approved before inclusion in the collection.  Some scholars in this project are now deceased, while others are alive and well; many played key roles in the governance or service of SRCD.  Approximately 50 more interviews are now in progress.

The transcripts in this project should be of interest for a variety of reasons, including instruction both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Scholars interested in historical roots and trends in the field and those concerned about the emergence of research, policy, and practice concerning children and families will find a wealth of informative history in these interview transcripts.  An example of how the transcripts may be used is the article by Claire E. Cameron and John W. Hagen (2005), “Women in child development: Themes from the SRCD Oral History Project” (History of Psychology, 8, 289-314, 2005), in which quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted on 47 early oral histories of women who became leading scholars and spokespersons in child development.

Transcripts of interviews with the following individuals are currently available on the SRCD Oral History Project webpage.

Mary Ainsworth
Gerald Patterson
Jack Block
Julius Richmond
Urie Bronfenbrenner
Sir Michael Rutter
Norman Garmezy
Sandra Scarr
Eleanor Gibson
Harold W. Stevenson
E. Mavis Hetherington
Ann Streissguth
Jerome Kagan
Emmy Werner
Eleanor Maccoby
Edward Zigler

Tip’o the hat to Cathy Faye for bringing this to AHP’s attention.

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