Ninth Annual History of Psychology Centre Stories of Psychology Day 7 November 2019 10am – 4pm
Friends House, Euston Road, London
How have past and present psychologists interacted with the public to provide an understanding of social issues and anxieties, such as the threat of war, economics, technology and political upheaval?
Historians and psychologists will be discussing this issues in front of an audience of members, academics and the wider public.
The first session will consider the changing messages given and the second will focus on the medium used by public psychologists from pre-war BBC radio talks to current multi-channel and social media outlets.
A round table of media psychologists will discuss their current and future role.
Cost £18 including buffet lunch (registration is essential)
For more information and to register www.bps.org.uk/stories
The Second World War lent impetus to the creation of new models and explanatory frameworks of risk, encouraging a closer reading of the relationship between individual psychiatric disorder and social disarray. This article interrogates how conceptions of psychiatric risk were animated in debates around abortion reform to forge new connections between social conditions and psychiatric vulnerability in post-war Britain. Drawing upon the arguments that played out between medical practitioners, I suggest that abortion reform, culminating in the 1967 Abortion Act, was both a response to and a stimulus for new ideas about the interaction between social aetiologies and medical pathologies; indeed, it became a site in which the medical and social domains were recognised as mutually constitutive. Positioned in a landscape in which medical professionals were seeking to assert their authority and to defend their areas of practice, abortion reform offered new opportunities for medical professionals to intervene in the social sphere under the guise of risk to women’s mental health. The debate in medical journals around the status of issues that were seen to bridge the social and the medical were entangled with increasing anxiety about patient agency and responsibility. These concerns were further underscored as conversations about psychiatric risk extended towards considerations of the potential impact on women’s existing families, bringing domestic conditions and the perceived psychosocial importance of family life into relief within medical journals. This article, then, argues that conceptions of psychiatric risk, as refracted through the creation of new synapses connecting the social and the medical domains, were critical to medical debates over abortion reform in post-war Britain.
Science journalist Bhahar Gholipour reports on the history of how Helmut Kornhuber and Lüder Deecke’s 1964 bereitschaftspotential research has signified in neuroscience.
The article deftly surveys the eras of interpretation about the results of the study, identifying presumptions that affected decades of seemingly positive replication, and how advancing comprehension of ambient neuronal activity in the brain led to a reframing of the landmark results, creating new directions for inquiry.
Under the editorship of Kieran O’Doherty and Jeffrey Yen at the University of Guelph, Lisa Osbeck at the University of West Georgia, and Ernst Schraube at Roskilde University, a new volume of interest to our readership, Psychological Studies of Science and Technology. This book is intended to present “critical and situated approaches to the psychological study of science and technology;” Demonstrate “how an expansion of dialogue between psychology and STS can contribute to the development of psychological theory, methodology, and practice;” and focus “on a variety of issues relating to the psychological study of science and technology in our contemporary world.”
Here is an in-depth synopsis from Palgrave Macmillan:
This book provides a significant contribution to scholarship on the psychology of science and the psychology of technology by showcasing a range of theory and research distinguished as psychological studies of science and technology. Science and technology are central to almost all domains of human activity, for which reason they are the focus of subdisciplines such as philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, sociology of knowledge, and history of science and technology. To date, psychology has been marginal in this space and limited to relatively narrow epistemological orientations. By explicitly embracing pluralism and an international approach, this book offers new perspectives and directions for psychological contributions.
The book brings together leading theorists and researchers from around the world and spans scholarship across a variety of traditions that include theoretical psychology, critical psychology, feminist psychology and social constructionist approaches. Following a historical and conceptual introduction, the collection is divided into three sections: Scoping a New Psychology of Science and Technology, Applying Psychological Concepts to the Study of Science and Technology and Critical Perspectives on Psychology as a Science. The book will interest interdisciplinary scholars who work in the space of Science and Technology Studies and psychologists interested in the diverse human aspects of science and technology.
This article revisits a forgotten, late project by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram: the ‘cyranoid’ studies he conducted from 1977 to 1984. These investigations, inspired by the play Cyrano de Bergerac, explored how individuals often fail to notice when others do not speak their own thoughts, but instead relay messages from a hidden source. We situate these experiments amidst the intellectual, cultural, and political concerns of late Cold War America, and show how Milgram’s studies pulled together a variety of ideas, anxieties, and interests that were prevalent at that time and have returned in new guises since. In discussing the cyranoid project’s background and afterlife, we argue that its strikingly equivocal quality has lent itself to multiple reinterpretations by historians, psychologists, performers, artists, and others. Our purpose is neither to champion Milgram’s work nor to amplify the critiques already made of his methods. Rather, it is to consider the uncertain, allusive, and elusive aspects of the cyranoid project, and to seek to place that project in context, whilst asking where ‘context’ might end. We show how the experiments’ range of meanings, in different temporal registers, far exceeded the explanatory rubric that Milgram and his intellectual critics provided at that time, and ponder the risk for the historian of making anachronistic or teleological assumptions. In short, we argue, cyranoids invite our open-ended exploration of ‘voices offstage’ in social and psychological relations, and offer a useful tool for thinking about historical context and the nature of historical interpretations.