The first issue of the Journal of The History of the Behavioral Sciences is now available (Vol. 53, 1). It features four articles, the topics of which span the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries: early social surveying in Denmark; the replacement of Richard Avenarius’ work in the established history of the theoretical disagreement between Wundt and Külpe; the hybrid investigative research by Bowlby et al. at the Tavistock Clinic 1948-1956; and not least, the work by Gordon Gallop Jr. in the 1960s and 1970s on animal self-recognition as a lens to consider the often precluded compatibility between behaviorism and cognitive science. The abstracts for each follow after the jump.
BRINGING THINGS TOGETHER: DEVELOPING THE SAMPLE SURVEY AS PRACTICE IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Author: PETER GUNDELACH
The first sample surveys in the latter parts of the 19th century were an intellectual social movement. They were motivated by the intention to improve the economic and political conditions of workers. The quantitative survey was considered an ideal because it would present data about the workers as facts, i.e. establish a scientific authoritative truth. In a case study from Denmark, the paper shows how the first survey – a study of seamstresses – was carried out by bringing several cognitive and organizational elements together: a network of researchers, a method for sampling, the construction of a questionnaire, a procedure for coding, and analyzing the data. It was a trial and error process where the researchers lacked relevant concepts and methods but relied on their intuition and on inspiration from abroad.
BACK TO THE ORIGINS OF THE REPUDIATION OF WUNDT: OSWALD KÜLPE AND RICHARD AVENARIUS
Author: CHIARA RUSSO KRAUSS
This essay provides a fresh account of the break between Oswald Külpe and his master Wilhelm Wundt. Kurt Danziger’s reconstruction of the “repudiation” of Wundt, which has become the canon for this significant episode of history of psychology, focused on the supposed influence of Ernst Mach on this set of events, overshadowing the other exponent of Empiriocriticism: Richard Avenarius. Analyzing archival documents and examining anew the primary sources, the paper shows that Avenarius was himself a member of Wundt’s circle, and that his “repudiation” of the master paved the way for Külpe. The essay points out the original anti-Wundtian aspects of Avenarius’ notion of psychology, thus showing how they were then adopted by Külpe.
BEFORE ATTACHMENT THEORY: SEPARATION RESEARCH AT THE TAVISTOCK CLINIC, 1948–1956
Author: BICAN POLAT
This article traces the formation of attachment theory to the pioneering research program of Bowlby and his colleagues at the Tavistock Clinic between 1948 and 1956. Through a discussion of the concepts and practices that informed Bowlby’s program, I examine the efforts of his team to reconstruct psychoanalytic objects according to preventive objectives and operational criteria. I discuss how the exploratory techniques that Bowlby and his colleagues were developing during these years ultimately led to the establishment of a hybrid investigative framework, in which the prophylactic requirements of mental hygiene, the psychometric model of personality disturbances, the psychoanalytic theory of object relations, and a direct-observational methodology were brought to bear on the problem of the psychological consequences of early separation experiences. I further claim that this shift in investigative practice was crucial for the succeeding theoretical developments that eventually gave rise to the statistically validated constructs of attachment theory.
MONKEYS, MIRRORS, AND ME: GORDON GALLUP AND THE STUDY OF SELF-RECOGNITION
Author: KATJA GUENTHER
This article explores the work of psychologist Gordon Gallup, Jr., during the 1960s and 1970s on mirror self-recognition in animals. It shows how Gallup tried to integrate the mental “self-concept” into an otherwise strictly behaviorist paradigm. By making an argument from material culture, the article demonstrates how Gallup’s adoption of a self-concept is best understood as a product of his sustained analysis of the workings of the mirror as a piece of experimental apparatus. In certain situations, the stimulus properties of the mirror changed dramatically, a shift that Gallup thought legitimated the positing of a self-concept. For this reason, Gallup supposed he could use a mirror to provide an operationalized concept of the self, that is, produce a definition that was compatible with behaviorist experimental norms. The article argues that behaviorism was more supple and productive than is often assumed, and contained resources that could align it with the “cognitive revolution” to which it is most often opposed.