Spring 2021 JHBS: Pastoral Care, Public Opinion Research in West Germany, and More

The Spring 2021 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Full issue details below.

“Why psychiatry might cooperate with religion: The Michigan Society of Pastoral Care, 1945–1968,” Laura Hirshbein. Abstract:

The early decades of the pastoral care movement were characterized by a remarkable collaboration with psychiatry. While historians of the religious aspects of this movement have noted the reliance of pastoral care on psychiatry and psychology, it has been less clear how and why mental health professionals elected to work with clergy. This paper uses the Michigan Society of Pastoral Care (MSPC), one of the early training programs for hospital chaplains on the model of the Boston?based Institute for Pastoral Care, as a window to explore the interactions between psychiatry and religion at mid century. Raymond Waggoner, the nationally recognized and well?connected chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Michigan, was instrumental in expanding the influential pastoral care program at his hospital and in his state as part of his bigger mission of emphasizing the fundamental role of psychiatry in American life. Waggoner played a key role within the MSPC, in conjunction with leaders within the medical departments of the major hospitals in the state. All of the members of the MSPC viewed psychiatry’s insights as essential for pastoral care, with the caveat that chaplains should remain pupils, not practitioners of psychotherapy

“Intersecting aims, divergent paths: The Allensbach Institute, the Institute for Social Research, and the making of public opinion research in 1950s West Germany,” Sonja G. Ostrow. Abstract:

After 1945, both the Western Allies in Germany and some German social scientists embraced empirical public opinion research. This article examines the rhetoric, practices, and collaborative professional efforts of two of the most significant institutions conducting opinion research in West Germany in the 1950s: the Allensbach Institute and the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt. Although the political stances of these institutions differed, they were motivated to apply empirical research methods associated with Anglo?American social research to the West German population by shared concerns about the fragility of democracy, faith in the empirical sciences as an antidote to Nazi?era thought patterns, and the need to form a united front against doubters within West Germany. Even while declaring their desire to incorporate the latest empirical advances from the United States, however, they sought to articulate the meaning of their methods and findings in terms of the specific challenges faced by West Germany.

“Psychology qua psychoanalysis in Argentina: Some historical origins of a philosophical problem (1942–1964),” Catriel Fierro and Saulo de Freitas Araujo. Abstract:

Contemporary Argentinian psychology has a unique characteristic: it is identified with psychoanalysis. Nonpsychoanalytic theories and therapies are difficult to find. In addition, there is an overt antiscientific attitude within many psychology programs. How should this be explained? In this paper, we claim that a philosophical history of psychology can shed new light on the development of Argentinian psychology by showing that early Argentinian psychoanalysts held positions in the newborn psychology programs and a distinctive stance toward scientific research in general and psychology in particular. In the absence of an explicit and articulate philosophical position, psychoanalysts developed an implicit meta?theory that helped shape the context that led to the institutionalization and professionalization of psychology in Argentina. Although we do not establish or even suggest a monocausal link between their ideas and the current state of Argentinian psychology, we do claim that their impact should be explored. Finally, we discuss some limitations of our study and suggest future complementary investigations.

““Never sacrifice anything to laboratory work”: The “physiological psychology” of Charles Richet (1875–1905),” Renaud Evrard, Stéphane Gumpper, Bevis Beauvais, and Carlos S. Alvarado. Abstract:

Whilst best known as a Nobel laureate physiologist, Charles Robert Richet (1850–1935) was also a pioneer of scientific psychology. Starting in 1875 Richet had a leading role in the habilitation of hypnosis, in the institutionalization of psychology in France, and in the introduction of methodological innovations. Authoring several psychology books, Richet’s works contributed to the recognition of the scientific nature of the discipline. This role is often underplayed by some historians and psychology textbooks in favor of his later position as a proponent of the controversial discipline he christened metapsychics in 1905, which today lies within the province of parapsychology. In this article, we show how his psychological approach guided by physiology, or physiological psychology, facilitated the reception of psychology. We hypothesize a strong continuity between his physiological psychology and his metapsychics, as he himself considered metapsychics as an advanced branch of physiology, and thus also an outpost of psychology.

“Psychological operationisms at Harvard: Skinner, Boring, and Stevens,” Sander Verhaegh. Abstract:

Contemporary discussions about operational definition often hark back to Stanley S. Stevens’ classic papers on psychological operationism. Still, he was far from the only psychologist to call for conceptual hygiene. Some of Stevens’ direct colleagues at Harvard—most notably B. F. Skinner and E. G. Boring—were also actively applying Bridgman’s conceptual strictures to the study of mind and behavior. In this paper, I shed new light on the history of operationism by reconstructing the Harvard debates about operational definition in the years before Stevens published his seminal articles. Building on a large set of archival evidence from the Harvard University Archives, I argue that we can get a more complete understanding of Stevens’ contributions if we better grasp the operationisms of his former teachers and direct colleagues at Harvard’s Department of Philosophy and Psychology

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.