The Journal of Genetic Psychology’s 125th Anniversary Issue

G. Stanley Hall founded this journal as The Pedagogical Seminary in 1891. The title was changed under the editorship of Carl Murchison in 1924 to The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, and then in 1954 the shift to its new focus was completed by reduction of the title to its current iteration.

The periodical has celebrated its history with a special volume that focuses on Stanley Hall, pedagogy, and the early 20th century field of developmental research. Abstracts for the included articles follow after the jump:

G. Stanley Hall and The Journal of Genetic Psychology : A Note

By: John D. Hogan

Abstract: The Journal of Genetic Psychology (originally called The Pedagogical Seminary ) has a complicated history. Known primarily as a journal of development psychology, it was originally intended to be a journal of higher education. In addition, G. Stanley Hall created it, at least in part, to curry favor with Jonas Clark, the benefactor of Clark University. The journal had a cumbersome start, with irregular issues for most of its first decade. Hall was a hands-on editor, often contributing articles and reviews as well as the texts of many of his speeches. A substantial number of additional articles were written by Clark University faculty and fellows where Hall was president. After Hall.s death, the editor became Carl Murchison who eventually left Clark University with the journal and continued to publish it privately until his death. Through the years, the journal has been the source for many classic articles in developmental psychology.

G. Stanley Hall, Child Study, and the American Public

By: Jacy L. Young

Abstract: In the final decades of the 19th century psychologist Granville Stanley Hall was among the most prominent pedagogical experts in the nation. The author explores Hall’s carefully crafted persona as an educational expert, and his engagements with the American public, from 1880 to 1900, arguably the height of his influence. Drawing from accounts of Hall’s lecture circuit in the popular press, a map of his talks across the nation is constructed to assess the geographic scope of his influence. These talks to educators on the psychology underlying childhood and pedagogy, and his views and research on child life more generally, were regularly discussed in newspapers and popular periodicals. The venues in which Hall’s ideas were disseminated, discussed, and in some cases, dismissed are described. His efforts to mobilize popular support for, and assistance with, his research endeavors in child study are also discussed. Such efforts were controversial both within the burgeoning field of psychology and among the public. Through his various involvements in pedagogy, and concerted efforts to engage with the American public, Hall helped establish psychology’s relevance to parenting and educational practices.

Far More Than Dutiful Daughter: Milicent Shinn’s Child Study and Education Advocacy After 1898

By: Elissa N. Rodkey

Abstract: Previous scholarship on the life of psychologist Milicent Shinn (E. Scarborough & L. Furumoto, 1987 ) emphasized Shinn’s failure to pursue an academic career in psychology following her PhD in 1898. Scarborough and Furumoto used Shinn as an example of “the family claim”—the career limitations women faced in terms of their family obligations. This narrative, however, obscured Shinn’s continued engagement with child study before and after her years in graduate school, as a recent article documenting Shinn’s leadership of network of home-based observers of infant development makes clear (C. von Oertzen, 2013 ). This article challenges the traditional retelling of Shinn’s story still further, by exploring how Shinn used her professional contacts from her previous role as editor of the Overland Monthly to promote a wide range of causes related to child study and education. Following G. Lerner ( 1979 ), the author attends to Shinn’s own values, such as her love of California, education, and her family. These values suggest a much more positive evaluation of Shinn’s life work and the domestic environment in which she conducted her research and advocacy work.

Heinz Werner: His Life, Ideas, and Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the First Half of the 20th Century

By: Teresa Ostler

Abstract: The author provides an overview of Heinz Werner’s life and contributions to the field of developmental psychology during the first half of the 20th century. She focuses on his early work in Vienna and Munich as well as his tenure at the Psychological Institute in Hamburg, up through the time when he became a named Professor in Psychology at Clark University. Recognized as one of the founders of developmental psychology, Heinz Werner worked in the areas of perceptual development, comparative psychology, and symbol formation. Versatile in rigorous experimental methodologies, and in observational and phenomenological methodologies, Werner’s approach to development stood in contrast to other approaches of development, both past and current. For Werner, development was a heuristic, a way of looking at processes in a variety of domains, including ontogeny, phylogeny, microgenesis, biology, developmental psychopathology, neuropsychology, and comparative psychology. Werner viewed development as proceeding from a state of relative globality and lack of differentiation to a state of increasing differentiation, articulation, and hierarchical integration, but he also stressed that individuals can function at different developmental levels under different times and conditions. Werner’s holistic, organismic, comparative, and contextual approach to development transcended interdisciplinary boundaries, allowing him to study the interrelatedness between thought, language, feeling, perception, and culture.

Developmental Psychology in the 1920s: A Period of Major Transition

By: Dennis Thompson (current editor of the journal)

Abstract: A 1918 survey (H. E. Jones, 1956 ) indicated that only 3 psychologists in the United States expressed an interest in conducting research on child development. By the end of the 1920s there were more than 600 who expressed such an interest, and their areas of inquiry encompassed not only child development but also adolescence, the lifespan, and old age. The author explores the factors and people that contributed to this remarkable transition and highlights some of the major contributions that resulted from their work.

Early Tests of Piagetian Theory Through World War II

By: Bernard C. Beins

Abstract: Psychologists recognized the importance of Jean Piaget’s theory from its inception. Within a year of the appearance of his first book translated into English, The Language and Thought of the Child (J. Piaget, 1926) , it had been reviewed and welcomed; shortly thereafter, psychologists began testing the tenets of the theory empirically. The author traces the empirical testing of his theory in the 2 decades following publication of his initial book. A review of the published literature through the World War II era reveals that the research resulted in consistent failure to support the theoretical mechanisms that Piaget proposed. Nonetheless, the theory ultimately gained traction to become the bedrock of developmental psychology. Reasons for its persistence may include a possible lack of awareness by psychologists about the lack of empirical support, its breadth and complexity, and a lack of a viable alternate theory. As a result, the theory still exerts influence in psychology even though its dominance has diminished.