New HoP Issue Now Online

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. A second new feature is Teaching the History of Psychology, with Barney Beins, a past-President of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, serving as Section Editor. While the journal will continue to cover all eras of psychology, I will seek more submissions on the history of psychology after World War Two. For American psychology, this has been the period when it has grown most dramatically, not only in numbers, but in worldwide influence, concurrent with the growth of American political, economic, and military influence. My goal as editor is to make the journal indispensable reading and to have the kind of quality that will make it necessary to expand the number of pages we print each year.

“The psychology of thinking before the cognitive revolution: Otto Selz on problems, schemas, and creativity” by Michel ter Hark.

Otto Selz has been hailed as one of the most important precursors of the cognitive revolution, yet surprisingly few studies of his work exist. He is often mentioned in the context of the Würzburg School of the psychology of thinking and sometimes in the context of Gestalt psychology. In this paper, it is argued that Selz’s emphasis on the role of problems and schemas in the direction of thought processes and creativity sets him apart from the program of the Würzburg School. On the other hand, by developing a theory of thinking that is exclusively at the intentional level, Selz also differs from psychologists that take physics as a model for psychology, such as the Gestalt psychology of Wolfgang Köhler. Special emphasis is given in this paper to Selz’s use of the concept of problem or task and the concept of the schema. It is further argued that the concept of the schema is the result of Selz’s adaptation of the theory of relations as developed by the philosopher Meinong. The paper begins with a sketch of Selz’s life that ended so tragically.

“The ontogeny of an idea: John Bowlby and contemporaries on mother–child separation” by Frank C. P. van der Horst and René van der Veer.

In this contribution, the authors situate the development of Bowlby’s attachment theory against the background of the social, cultural, and scientific developments in interbellum Britain. It is shown that fairly early in his life Bowlby adopted one fundamental idea—that an infant primarily needs a warm and loving mother, and that separations from the mother are potentially damaging—and never substantially changed that basic notion in later years. Bowlby’s first and foremost goal—and his lifelong undertaking—was to convince certain others (e.g., orthodox psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, clinicians, and medical doctors) of the importance of this idea by theorizing and gathering empirical evidence. Bowlby’s view of mother love deprivation as the main source of maladjusted behavior was at variance with the views of many practitioners and theorists, but it was by no means fully novel and original. The authors show that Bowlby took inspiration from various persons and groups in British society with whom he shared basically similar views.

“Grief as pathology: The evolution of grief theory in psychology from Freud to the present” by Leeat Granek.

The emergence of grief as a topic worthy of psychological study is an early 20th century invention. Freud published his influential essay on mourning and melancholia in 1917. Since he proposed the concept of “grief work,” contemporary psychologists have examined his theory empirically and have claimed that grief is a pathology that should be included within the psychological domain. How, and why, has grief theory evolved within the discipline of psychology in this way? In what ways do these changes in the understanding of grief coincide with other historical developments within the discipline? In this article, I trace the development of grief, originally conceived by Freud within a psychoanalytic and nonpathological framework, to the current conceptualization of grief within the disease model. I show how grief theory has evolved within the discipline of psychology to become (a) an object worthy of scientific study within the discipline, and subsequently, (b) a pathology to be privatized, specialized, and treated by mental health professionals.

“Documenting history: An interview with Kenneth Bancroft Clark” by Lawrence Nyman.

As part of an oral history project of the City College of New York Psychology Department, I interviewed my friend and colleague Kenneth B. Clark. It was in the late spring of 1975, a few weeks before his 61st birthday. He had just retired from the college where he had taught since 1941. Two interview sessions were held in Professor Clark’s office, interrupted by a few weeks, each session lasting about 1[1/2] hours. The transcript was reviewed by Professor Clark in the fall of 1975. I have made minor editing changes, mainly adjusting oral speech patterns to written expression and, from time to time, liberalizing grammatical rules. In a few instances, I have chosen to delete material that may have diluted the primary thrust of a discussion. I did this to give greater coherence and clarity to the written interview. All in all, I have made every effort to keep the essence, vitality, and style of the speaker. Oral communication, by its free-flowing nature, demands broad discretion and careful scrutiny in the transition to the printed page. Kenneth Clark died May 1, 2005 at age 90. He fought the good battle. His passion for justice and the importance of education remains a heritage to be honored and protected.

“Teaching measurement through historical sources” by Bernard C. Beins.

This article provides an example of the use of historical issues associated with intelligence testing to teach about the nature of measurement in psychology and includes pedagogical questions for the classroom. Students learning about research may assume that the ways psychologists measure constructs are permanent and immutable. However, using intelligence as the focus, this article shows how its measurement evolved, reflecting contemporaneous theories and assumptions. The initial sensory and psychophysical measurements designed by Cattell (1890) to measure mental ability were logically defensible in his era and gained temporary acceptance by many psychologists. Currently, standardized tests reflect the biases of later psychologists. The article highlights reasons for such changes

“Sources, research notes, and news” edited by Kelli Vaughn-Blount.

Presents a series of items, including: “Archival sources for Sir Godfrey Hilton Thomson,” which describes sources that contain useful information on Thomson’s life and work; “Historians of psychology no longer invisible in the American Psychological Association, Publication Manual,” which discusses the place historians of psychology have finally found within the pages of the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2009); “A student’s quandary: Historian to archivist and back again,” which describes a student researcher’s experiences in the trial-run of a developing internship program at the Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP) in Akron, Ohio; and “Letter from Christopher D. Green, outgoing President of the Society for the History of Psychology.” Various news items and announcements are also presented here.

AHP has previously discussed History of Psychology here and here.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.