Tag Archives: neurohistory

New HoP: Neurohistory, Titchener at Oxford, & Debating the New History of Psych

Edward Bradford Titchener

The May 2017 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore neurohistory, the influence of Titchener’s Oxford years on his thought, and gender and psychoanalysis in 1940s Britain. The issue also features a special section devoted to “Debating the New History of Psychology.” Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Historiography, affect, and the neurosciences,” by Larry S. McGrath. Abstract:

Recent historiography has put to rest debates over whether to address the neurosciences. The question is how? In this article, I stage a dialogue between neurohistory and the history of the emotions. My primary goal is to survey these two clusters and clarify their conceptual commitments. Both center on the role of affect in embodied subjectivity; but their accounts widely diverge. Whereas neurohistorians tend to treat affects as automatic bodily processes, historians of the emotions generally emphasize that affects are meaningful and volitional activities. This divergence entails contrasting understandings of selfhood, embodiment, and historical change. More importantly, I argue, it reflects a broader realm of disputes within the neurosciences. The divisions among methodologies and commitments testify to the importance of historians’ selection of evidence as well as the critical perspectives they can bring to scientific debates. The neurosciences do not offer readymade theories. Secondarily, I take stock of the shared limitations of neurohistory and the history of the emotions. Both conceptualize the biological bases of affection as a universal ground for historical inquiry. By reexamining this transhistorical approach to neuroscientific evidence, I suggest that historiography might widen the horizon of interdisciplinary scholarship beyond the present options.

“From classicism and idealism to scientific naturalism: Titchener’s Oxford years and their impact upon his early intellectual development,” by Saulo de Freitas Araujo and Cintia Fernandes Marcellos. Abstract: Continue reading New HoP: Neurohistory, Titchener at Oxford, & Debating the New History of Psych

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Neuro History Grants @ Osler Library

osler-accessAnna Dysert, Assistant Head Librarian at MCGill University’s Osler Library of the History of Medicine in Montreal made an announcement on HNet for two research travel grants to be allocated during May 2016-April 2017.

The Mary Louise Nickerson Fellowship in Neuro History carries a value of up to $10, 000 Canadian, and the  Dimitrije Pivnicki Award in Neuro History and History of Psychiatry  up to $4,000.

Both are intended to “allow scholars to carry out research with the rich neuro history archival and artifact collections of the library, the centrepiece of which is the Wilder Penfield Fonds, and other relevant collections at the Montreal Neurological Institute and the McGill University Archives.”

Submissions are welcomed from a variety of individuals, including graduate students, scholars, and professionals. The deadline for both is March 1st.

Follow the links above for more detailed information. Find their Archives website here.

 

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New Isis: Organizational Revolution and the Human Sciences, Neurohistory, & More

The March 2014 issue of Isis, the official journal of the History of Science Society, is now online. Included in this issue are a number of items of interest to AHP readers, including a special Focus section on Neurohistory. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The Organizational Revolution and the Human Sciences,” by Hunter Heyck. The abstract reads,

This essay argues that a new way of understanding science and nature emerged and flourished in the human sciences in America between roughly 1920 and 1970. This new outlook was characterized by the prefiguration of all subjects of study as systems defined by their structures, not their components. Further, the essay argues that the rise of this new outlook was closely linked to the Organizational Revolution in American society, which provided new sets of problems, new patrons, and new control technologies as “tools to think with” for researchers in this period. As examples of this new way of thinking and of the multidirectional traffic connecting control technologies, the Organizational Revolution, and the social sciences, the essay looks at Chester Barnard and his book The Functions of the Executive, at Warren Weaver and his essays on communication theory and on science and “organized complexity,” and at the works of J. C. R. Licklider and Robert Taylor on human/computer symbiosis through computer-based communications.

Focus: Neurohistory and History of Science

“Neuroscience, Neurohistory, and the History of Science: A Tale of Two Brain Images,” by Steve Fuller. The abstract reads,

This essay introduces a Focus section on “Neurohistory and History of Science” by distinguishing images of the brain as governor and as transducer: the former treat the brain as the executive control center of the body, the latter as an interface between the organism and reality at large. Most of the consternation expressed in the symposium about the advent of neurohistory derives from the brain-as-governor conception, which is rooted in a “biologistic” understanding of humanity that in recent years has become bound up in various nefarious “neoliberal” political and economic agendas. However, given the sophisticated attitude that neurohistory’s leading champion, Daniel Smail, displays toward evolutionary theory’s potential impact on historical practice, he is perhaps better understood as part of the brain-as-transducer tradition. This tradition, largely suppressed in current representations of neuroscience, has a strong theological provenance, ultimately concerned with our becoming attuned to the divine frequency, not least by extending the powers of the human nervous system through technology. This essay sympathetically explores the implications of this perspective for historical practice.

“Neurohistory in Action: Hoarding and the Human Past,” by Daniel Lord Smail. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Isis: Organizational Revolution and the Human Sciences, Neurohistory, & More

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New Issue: History of Psychology

The February 2012 issue of History of Psychology has just been released online and is chock full of new articles. Included in this issue are articles on the origins of the therapeutic theories of Aaron Beck (right) and Carl Rogers, respectively. Other articles address developments in historical methods, including one on transcending “Great Man” histories and another on the new neurohistory. Further articles recount how Wundt’s philosophical studies influenced his early theory of the unconscious and describe the development of anglophone psychology’s vocabulary. The issue ends with a short piece on the fate of John Dillingham Dodson, the co-creator of the Yerkes-Dodson law. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Aaron T. Beck’s drawings and the psychoanalytic origin story of cognitive therapy,” by Rachael I. Rosner. The abstract reads,

In this essay the author challenges the standard origin story of cognitive therapy, namely, that its founder Aaron T. Beck broke with psychoanalysis to pursue a more pragmatic, parsimonious, and experimentalist cognitive model. It is true that Beck broke with psychoanalysis in large measure as a result of his experimental disconfirmation of key psychoanalytic ideas. His new school of cognitive therapy brought the experimental ethos into every corner of psychological life, extending outward into the largest multisite randomized controlled studies of psychotherapy ever attempted and inward into the deepest recesses of our private worlds. But newly discovered hand-sketched drawings from 1964 of the schema, a conceptual centerpiece of cognitive therapy, as well as unpublished personal correspondence show that Beck continued to think psychoanalytically even after he broke with psychoanalysis. The drawings urge us to consider an origin story much more complex than the one of inherited tradition. This new, multifaceted origin story of cognitive therapy reaches beyond sectarian disagreements and speaks to a broader understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive therapy.

“The Roosevelt years: Crucial milieu for Carl Rogers’ innovation,” by Godfrey T. Barrett-Lennard. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Issue: History of Psychology

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