The August 2022 issue of History of Psychology is now available online. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
““Um, mm-h, yeah”: Carl Rogers, phonographic recordings, and the making of therapeutic listening.” Guenther, Katja. Abstract:
Listening seems to be a simple and natural act. We sit back, look at the speaker, and take in what she says. And yet, we also know that good listening is a skill, an art, that if done correctly, can be transformative. This article looks into the history of listening as a therapeutic practice placing emphasis on the ways it has been shaped by media technologies. Sketching the development of the concept and practice of “empathic,” “reflective,” or “active listening” through the career of humanistic psychologist Carl R. Rogers, the article shows how Rogers’ use of phonographic recordings changed not only his practice of listening, but ultimately also the ideals that shaped that practice. The technology of recording offered Rogers and his colleagues the opportunity to listen to themselves to learn how to listen well, thus allowing them to study, and to adjust, their own role in the therapeutic situation.
“The quest for objectivity and measurements in phrenology’s “bumpy” history.” Finger, Stanley; Eling, Paul. Abstract:
Phrenology is based on correlating character traits with visible or palpable cranial bumps (or depressions) thought to reflect underlying brain areas differing in size and levels of activity. Franz Joseph Gall, who introduced the doctrine during the 1790s, relied heavily on seeing and feeling skulls when he formulated his theory, as did Johann Spurzheim, who served as his assistant until 1813 and then set forth on his own. But Peter Mark Roget, a British critic of the doctrine, first assailed these methods as too subjective in 1818, and never changed his mind. George Combe, a Scotsman who admired Spurzheim, introduced calipers and other measuring instruments during the 1820s, hoping to make phrenology more like the admired physical sciences. In the United States, the Fowlers also called for more numbers, including measuring distances between the cortical sites above the organs of mind. Nonetheless, phrenologists realized they faced formidable barriers when it came to measuring the physical organs of mind, as opposed to basic skull dimensions. This essay examines the subjectivity that left phrenology open to criticism and shows how some phrenologists tried to overcome it. It also shows how vision and touch remained features of phrenological examinations throughout the numbers-obsessed 19th century.
“A neglected and forgotten episode of Nazi Race Psychology in Occupied Poland: A critical analysis by T. Tomaszewski (1945).” Pisula, Wojciech; Mamzer, Hanna; Mirecki, Jacek; Lauterbach, Reinhard; Doli?ski, Dariusz. Abstract:
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis used science as a tool for shaping state policy. One of the most abhorrent aspects of scientific collaboration with the Nazis at that time was the broadly defined field of “race psychology.” In this article, we focus on German comparative research on the psychology of Poles and Germans, as analyzed by Tadeusz Tomaszewski, who is considered to be one of the founders of contemporary Polish psychology. We illuminate this episode from the history of science by providing a full translation of Tomaszewski’s article published in 1945 on a research project led by Rudolf Hippius conducted in 1942 in Pozna? (in occupied Poland) in the name of the political interests and ideology of the Nazi regime. We also shed light on the historical context of Tomaszewski’s article, which facilitates the understanding of the core ideas of race/ethnic psychology per se; the sociohistorical context also provides the framework in which the other research articles that we refer to must be read. Reading Tomaszewski’s text today will enhance our understanding of the relationship between science and politics, and serve as a warning for researchers today.
“Problems and possibilities concerning the concept of psychoanalytic pedagogy in the light of the work of Susan Isaacs in the malting house school.” Szabó, Dóra. Abstract:
In the first decades of the 20th century, high hopes were raised of the adaptability of psychoanalysis into the pedagogical field. According to this new discourse, the possibilities of educational application became one of the most important research areas within the psychoanalytical community. However, several definitional and technical questions have remained unexplained. The aim of this article is to highlight the theoretical and methodological difficulties and opportunities regarding the concept of the so-called “psychoanalytically informed pedagogy” through the examination of the Malting House School, a unique and well-documented nursery in British educational history. This article focuses on Susan Isaacs’ educational practice from 1924 until 1927 and its connection with psychoanalytic theory. Isaacs’ critical reflections concerning her work at the Malting House School can offer a different perspective not just to the historical examination of psychoanalytic pedagogy, but generally to the scientific relationship between theory and practice.
News & Notes
“Society for the History of Psychology news and notes.” Bonfield, Stephan. Abstract:
Cheiron’s Book Prize Committee is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2022 Prize is Nadine Weidman, Lecturer on the History of Science at Harvard University, for her book Killer Instinct: The Popular Science of Human Nature in Twentieth-Century America. In other news from the Society for the History of Psychology, Marjorie Lorch has recently published an article on how the concept of a matched control group was initially developed in neuropsychological testing. Lorch, M. P. (2022). Defining ‘normal’: Methodological issues in Aphasia and intelligence research. Cortex, 153, 224–234.
“Commentary on a recent event.” Jackson Jr., John P. Abstract:
On May 14, 2022, a gunman walked into a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and opened fire on the customers, killing 10 and injuring three. The alleged killer published a document explaining he chose a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood to maximize the likelihood of killing Black people. He believed in the “Great Replacement” theory that Jews were conspiring to commit “White Genocide” by having inferior races outbreed the superior White race. The 180-page “Manifesto” relied on a mix of Internet memes, plagiarized arguments from a similar killing in New Zealand, links to White nationalist and antisemitic websites, and citations to scientific publications. Overwhelmingly, the scientific publications cited in the document were from psychology. In this brief article, the author contends that psychologists need to ask themselves why an alleged deranged killer took his inspiration from psychology and not, for example, human genetics. The answer is that geneticists have recognized the responsibility that comes along with inquiry. While researchers are free to pursue any questions they desire, scientific and editorial standards still need to be met for disciplinary integrity. The heart of academic freedom is the ability and responsibility to distinguish responsible scholarship from its pretender. Psychology must do better.