Reminder: Ninth Annual History of Psychology Centre Stories of Psychology Day 7 November 2019

On November 7th, 2019 the BPS History of Psychology Centre (HoPC) and the BPS History and Philosophy of Psychology Section are hosting the 9th Annual Stories of Psychology Day. Registration is required for the event. Full details below.

Ninth Annual History of Psychology Centre Stories of Psychology Day 7 November 2019 10am – 4pm

Friends House, Euston Road, London

How have past and present psychologists interacted with the public to provide an understanding of social issues and anxieties, such as the threat of war, economics, technology and political upheaval?

Historians and psychologists will be discussing this issues in front of an audience of members, academics and the wider public.

The first session will consider the changing messages given and the second will focus on the medium used by public psychologists from pre-war BBC radio talks to current multi-channel and social media outlets.

A round table of media psychologists will discuss their current and future role.

Cost £18 including buffet lunch (registration is essential)

For more information and to register www.bps.org.uk/stories

Psychiatric risk, social indicators and medical authority in abortion reform in post-war Britain

Sarah Crook, of Swansea University, has published an open access article in Medical Humanities that will be of interest to our readership. The abstract is as follows, follow this link for the full work.

The Second World War lent impetus to the creation of new models and explanatory frameworks of risk, encouraging a closer reading of the relationship between individual psychiatric disorder and social disarray. This article interrogates how conceptions of psychiatric risk were animated in debates around abortion reform to forge new connections between social conditions and psychiatric vulnerability in post-war Britain. Drawing upon the arguments that played out between medical practitioners, I suggest that abortion reform, culminating in the 1967 Abortion Act, was both a response to and a stimulus for new ideas about the interaction between social aetiologies and medical pathologies; indeed, it became a site in which the medical and social domains were recognised as mutually constitutive. Positioned in a landscape in which medical professionals were seeking to assert their authority and to defend their areas of practice, abortion reform offered new opportunities for medical professionals to intervene in the social sphere under the guise of risk to women’s mental health. The debate in medical journals around the status of issues that were seen to bridge the social and the medical were entangled with increasing anxiety about patient agency and responsibility. These concerns were further underscored as conversations about psychiatric risk extended towards considerations of the potential impact on women’s existing families, bringing domestic conditions and the perceived psychosocial importance of family life into relief within medical journals. This article, then, argues that conceptions of psychiatric risk, as refracted through the creation of new synapses connecting the social and the medical domains, were critical to medical debates over abortion reform in post-war Britain.

History of the Bereitschaftspotential in The Atlantic

Science journalist Bhahar Gholipour reports on the history of how Helmut Kornhuber and Lüder Deecke’s 1964 bereitschaftspotential research has signified in neuroscience.

The article deftly surveys the eras of interpretation about the results of the study, identifying presumptions that affected decades of seemingly positive replication, and how advancing comprehension of ambient neuronal activity in the brain led to a reframing of the landmark results, creating new directions for inquiry.

This piece would serve well as a resource for teaching, read the entirety here:
A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked

New Book: Psychological Studies of Science and Technology

Under the editorship of Kieran O’Doherty and Jeffrey Yen at the University of Guelph, Lisa Osbeck at the University of West Georgia, and Ernst Schraube at Roskilde University, a new volume of interest to our readership, Psychological Studies of Science and Technology. This book is intended to present “critical and situated approaches to the psychological study of science and technology;”
Demonstrate “how an expansion of dialogue between psychology and STS can contribute to the development of psychological theory, methodology, and practice;”
and focus “on a variety of issues relating to the psychological study of science and technology in our contemporary world.”

Here is an in-depth synopsis from Palgrave Macmillan:

This book provides a significant contribution to scholarship on the psychology of science and the psychology of technology by showcasing a range of theory and research distinguished as psychological studies of science and technology. Science and technology are central to almost all domains of human activity, for which reason they are the focus of subdisciplines such as philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, sociology of knowledge, and history of science and technology. To date, psychology has been marginal in this space and limited to relatively narrow epistemological orientations. By explicitly embracing pluralism and an international approach, this book offers new perspectives and directions for psychological contributions. 

The book brings together  leading theorists and researchers from around the world and spans scholarship across a variety of traditions that include theoretical psychology, critical psychology, feminist psychology and social constructionist approaches. Following a historical and conceptual introduction, the collection is divided into three sections: Scoping a New Psychology of Science and Technology, Applying Psychological Concepts to the Study of Science and Technology and Critical Perspectives on Psychology as a Science. The book will interest interdisciplinary scholars who work in the space of Science and Technology Studies and psychologists interested in the diverse human aspects of science and technology.

Follow this link to find out more

Recently in JHBS’ Early View: Maslow, Gall & more

The Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences has a great ‘early view’ autumn line up, including the following pieces:

Of Maslow, motives, and managers: The hierarchy of needs in American business, 1960–1985

by Kira Lussier
Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in American management. I trace how a roster of management experts translated the hierarchy of needs into management through case studies of job redesign programs at Texas Instruments and marketing firm Young & Rubicam’s management training. The hierarchy of needs resonated with management, I argue, because it seemed to offer both a concrete guide for management, with practical implications for designing management training and work structures, alongside a broader social theory that purported to explain changing social values and economic circumstances in America. For the management theorists who invoked the hierarchy of needs, the corporation served as both the prime site for people to fulfill their higher psychological needs and the ideal site to study and cultivate motivation. This article contributes to histories of psychology that show how psychology became a prominent resource in American public life.

Find the article here.

Franz Joseph Gall’s non?cortical faculties and their organs

By Paul Eling and Stanley Finger
Abstract:

Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) is remembered for his claims that behavior results from a large number of independent mental faculties, and that these faculties are associated with cortical organs. Apart from the 26 faculties he localized in the cerebrum, he also recognized one faculty (reproductive drive) in the cerebellum. This picture, however, is based on Gall’s presentations in his well?known later works, his four volume Anatomie et Physiologie. These books reflect the outcomes of Gall’s thinking. They were steered by the observations and feedback he received in Vienna and while presenting his theories in the German states and neighboring countries between 1805 and 1807. Examining his lists before what he published in Paris shows how his faculties were changing. Notably, and as shown here, he had previously included several faculties associated with brainstem structures, in addition to the cerebellum, which he would continue to associate with some reproductive behaviors.

This article has been published open access! Read the entirety here.

The return of the repressed. On Robert N. Bellah, Norman O. Brown, and religion in human evolution

by Matteo Bortolini
Abstract:

As much as Robert Bellah’s final work, Religion in Human Evolution, has been studied and dissected, no critic underlined the importance of psychoanalysis for its main argument and its theoretical framework. The paper shows the influence exerted by a controversial interpreter of Freud, Norman O. Brown, on Bellah’s ideas, intellectual profile, and writing style in the late?1960s and early 1970s. While in search for a new intellectual voice, Bellah was struck by Brown’s work and began to make intensive use of his book, Love’s Body, both in his teaching and in his research of the early 1970s, during his so?called “symbolic realism” period. While Bellah abandoned Brown’s ideas and style in the mid?1970s, some of the basic intuitions he had during that period still survived as one of the major theoretical intuitions of Religion and Human Evolution.

Find it here!