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,

Psychocultural analysis stands as a signal accomplishment of the 1930s U.S. assimilation of European refugee-intellectuals. Scholars in the U.S. had been moving toward a kind of psychocultural analysis well in advance of the Great Migration—the U.S. was not an intellectual vacuum or wasteland—nevertheless, it was through their interdisciplinary collaboration, fueled by the specter of war, that these international peers stimulated one of the most wide-ranging, dynamic, and productive exchanges of ideas of the century. Through the lens of Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom, this article explores psychoculturalism’s emergence in the interstices between cultures, nations, ideas, and disciplines—between Europeans and Americans, psychoanalysts and social scientists.

“The end of drugging children: Toward the genealogy of the ADHD subject,” by Edward J. Comstock. The abstract reads,

This genealogy of the ADHD subject will demonstrate that over the course of the twentieth century a new relation between power, knowledge, the body, and ethical practices of self-formation emerged around the ADHD-type in ways that are not captured by the received critical perspective. By examining the history of knowledge and practices surrounding the ADHD-type, this work will argue that the deviant subject that was located relative to external institutional moral/juridical values or standards is replaced over the course of the century by a new intelligibility of rational self-management. A further analysis of this emergent intelligibility attempts to advance the critical understanding of the increasingly prevalent ADHD phenomenon by showing how novel drug and brain imaging technologies work to link behaviors to identity, establishing new relations of power to the subject not captured by the received medicalization perspective. This work will be of interest to anybody interested in the relations among knowledge, drugs, power, and the ADHD subject.

“The Euclidean model of measurement in Fechner’s psychophysics,” by Verena Zudini. The abstract reads,

Historians acknowledge Euclid and Fechner, respectively, as the founders of classical geometry and classical psychophysics. At all times, their ideas have been reference points and have shared the same destiny of being criticized, corrected, and even radically rejected, in their theoretical and methodological aspects and in their epistemological value. According to a model of measurement of magnitudes which goes back to Euclid, Fechner (1860) developed a theory for psychical magnitudes that opened a lively debate among numerous scholars. Fechner’s attempt to apply the model proposed by Euclid to subjective sensation magnitudes—and the debate that followed—generated ideas and concepts that were destined to have rich developments in the psychological and (more generally) scientific field of the twentieth century and that still animate current psychophysics.

Essay Review: “Nazism, philosophy, and academic accountability: The real controversy surrounding Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger,” by James Gilbert-Walsh. The abstract reads,

In this essay review, I argue that Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy is, as a work of scholarship, a disappointment: Though Faye claims to demonstrate important connections between Heidegger’s National Socialist commitments and his philosophical work, Faye offers the reader close, careful analysis of neither. In short, the book fails to deliver on its promise. But I also argue that the wave of attention Faye’s book has attracted since its English translation appeared is symptomatic of a broad set of problems plaguing contemporary Anglophone philosophy.

Book Reviews:

C. G. Jung. The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited and introduced by Sonu Shamdasani; translated by Mary Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. Reviewed by Robert Kugelmann.

Jan Goldstein. Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy: The Case of Nanette Leroux. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. Reviewed by Elizabeth A. Williams.

Michael Frampton. Embodiments of Will: Anatomical and Physiological Theories of Voluntary Animal Motion from Greek Antiquity to the Latin Middle Ages, 400 B.C.–A.D. 1300. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller. Reviewed by Russell D. Kosits.

Arianne Baggerman and Rudolf Dekker. Child of the Enlightenment: Revolutionary Europe Reflected in a Boyhood Diary. Translated by Diane Webb. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009. Reviewed by Adriana S. Benzaquén.

Thomas A. Stapleford. The Cost of Living in America: A Political History of Economic Statistics, 1880–2000. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Reviewed by David L. Seim.

Graham Richards. Putting Psychology in its Place: Critical Historical Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2010. Reviewed by Daniel J. Denis.

Charles G. Gross. A Hole in the Head: More Tales in the History of Neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009. Reviewed by Douglas B. Gibson.

John D. Greenwood. A Conceptual History of Psychology. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Reviewed by Michael J. Root.

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.