New Issue: JHBS Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has just been released online. Included in this issue are four all new articles as well as a number of book reviews. Among the subjects addressed in the issue’s articles are the history of linguistics, the work of Herbert Blumer, music research in early experimental psychology and the influence of nondirective interviewing methods, as developed by Carl Rogers (left), in sociological interviewing. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘The most important technique …”: Carl Rogers, Hawthorne, and the rise and fall of nondirective interviewing in sociology,” by Raymond M. Lee. The abstract reads,

In the 1940s, interviewing practice in sociology became decisively influenced by techniques that had originally been developed by researchers in other disciplines working within a number of therapeutic or quasi-therapeutic contexts, in particular the “nondirective interviewing” methods developed by Carl Rogers and the interviewing procedures developed during the Hawthorne studies. This article discusses the development of nondirective interviewing and looks at how in the 1930s and ’40s the approach came to be used in sociology. It examines the factors leading to both the popularity of the method and its subsequent fall from favor.

“A forgotten social science? Creating a place for linguistics in the historical dialogue,” by Janet Martin-Nielsen. The abstract reads,

The post–World War II era was one of great triumph for American linguists—and yet linguistics is all but absent from the historical literature on postwar social science. This paper aims to illuminate this curious situation: to understand its provenance, evaluate its merits, and contextualize it broadly. I argue that the historiographic lacuna results from two factors: (1) the opt-out of linguists from the wider American social science community, and (2) historical-developmental and -orientational factors that stand linguistics apart from the social science mainstream. The resultant isolation of linguistics has led to a parallel isolation in the historical literature. Ultimately, this paper poses a pivotal and timely question: How is the postwar social science space construed within the existing historiographic framework, and how should it be construed in order to maximize understanding? I propose a rethink of the received historiography centered on intellectual transformations and cross-disciplinary integration.

“Life experience and the value-free foundations of Blumer’s collective behavior theory,” by David Keys and R. J. Maratea. The abstract reads,

Herbert Blumer stated throughout his long career that his ideas regarding collective behavior originated with his introduction to pragmatist philosophy under the auspices of G. H. Mead at the University of Chicago. Blumer’s biography, however, presents a different picture. Firsthand experiences with mob behavior, collective outrage, and the fallout associated with Blumer’s public utterances early in his career may have had significant impact on the eventual corpus of collective behavior.

“The role of tone sensation and musical stimuli in early experimental psychology,” by Sven Hroar Klempe. The abstract reads,

In this article, the role of music in early experimental psychology is examined. Initially, the research of Wilhelm Wundt is considered, as tone sensation and musical elements appear as dominant factors in much of his work. It is hypothesized that this approach was motivated by an understanding of psychology that dates back to Christian Wolff’s focus on sensation in his empirical psychology of 1732. Wolff, however, had built his systematization of psychology on Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, who combined perception with mathematics, and referred to music as the area in which sensation is united with numerical exactitude. Immanuel Kant refused to accept empirical psychology as a science, whereas Johann Friedrich Herbart reintroduced the scientific basis of empirical psychology by, among other things, referring to music.

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.