Category Archives: General

Racial anthropology in Turkey and transnational entanglements in the making of scientific knowledge: Seniha Tunakan’s academic trajectory, 1930s–1970s

A new piece in History of the Human Sciences may interest AHP readers: “Racial anthropology in Turkey and transnational entanglements in the making of scientific knowledge: Seniha Tunakan’s academic trajectory, 1930s–1970s,” by Nazan Maksudyan. Abstract:

This article situates the trajectory of the academic life of Seniha Tunakan (1908–2000) within the development of anthropology as a scientific discipline in Turkey and its transnational connections to Europe during the interwar period and up until the second half of the 20th century. Relying on the archives of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the archive of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes in Germany, and the Prime Ministry’s Republican Archives in Turkey, it focuses on the doctoral studies of Seniha Tunakan in Germany and her life as a female PhD researcher in the capital of the Third Reich, as well as her entire research career after her return to Turkey. Through Tunakan’s career, the article also provides an analysis of the perpetuation of German race science in the Turkish context, shedding light upon the success of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre und Eugenik (Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics) and its transnational impact.

Ernst Brücke and Sigmund Freud: Physiological roots of psychoanalysis

AHP readers may be interested in a new article in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences: “Ernst Brücke and Sigmund Freud: Physiological roots of psychoanalysis,” by Yunus An?l Y?lmaz. Abstract:

Ernst Brücke was one of the most influential figures in Sigmund Freud’s life and work. Freud studied under him for around six years during his student years, and he never turned his back on Brücke’s fundamental teachings. Brücke was a member of the strictly materialist and reductionist movement called the School of Helmholtz. This article will interpret how this physiological movement influenced Freud’s psychoanalysis and how its understanding of science was embedded in Freud’s theory. For this purpose, I will focus on the relationship between Brücke and Freud, and then will demonstrate how Brücke’s influence appears in Freud’s psychoanalytical theory. Despite the common practice of evaluating Project for a Scientific Psychology as the last attempt of Freud’s physiological commitment, I will take Freud’s ontology and epistemology as a product of his interaction with Ernst Brücke. In this conjunction, I will discuss psychoanalysis’s essential physiological and neurological components, such as the conservation of energy, the principle of constancy, the pleasure principle, and dual-aspect monism. For this purpose, I will apply the methodology of Randall Collins, the so-called sociology of philosophy. This method allows us to analyze personal contacts between master and pupil and the results of this interaction. This method will help to demonstrate why Brücke’s influence was more prevalent in Freud’s psychoanalysis than any other neuroscientific master of Freud.

‘If it can’t be coded, it doesn’t exist’. A historical-philosophical analysis of the new ICD-11 classification of chronic pain

AHP readers may be interested in a new article in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: “‘If it can’t be coded, it doesn’t exist’. A historical-philosophical analysis of the new ICD-11 classification of chronic pain,” Rikvan der Linden, Timo Bolt, Mario Veen. Abstract:

Chronic pain entails a large burden of disease and high social costs, but is seldom ‘in the picture’ and barely understood. Until recently, it was not systematically classified but instead viewed as a symptom or sign. In the new International Classification of Diseases, (ICD)-11, to be implemented in 2022, ‘chronic’ pain is now classified as a separate disease category and, to a certain extent, approached as a ‘disease in its own right’. Reasons that have been given for this are not based so much on new scientific insights, but are rather of pragmatic nature. To explore the background of these recent changes in definition and classification of chronic pain, this paper provides a historical-philosophical analysis. By sketching a brief history of how pain experts have been working on the definition and taxonomy since the 1970s, we demonstrate the various social and practical functions that underlie the new ICD-11 classification of chronic pain. Building on this historical-empirical basis, we discuss philosophical issues regarding defining and classifying chronic pain, in particular performativity and pragmatism, and discuss their implications for the broader philosophical debate on health and disease.

Summer issue of Revista de Historia de la Psicología

The Summer issue of Revista de Historia de la Psicología is now online. Full titles, authors, and English abstracts follow below:

Pavlov: Vivisectionist of the Mind
[Pavlov: Viviseccionista de la Mente]

David O. Clark
Independent Scholar

ABSTRACT. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) experimentally demonstrated a conditioned reflex mediated in the brain, conditioned in the sense that it was learned and unconscious. This discovery was the unintended result of his medical research program directed at gastric functions. The discovery of the reflex, and the associated experimental methods, constitute a paradigm that had a major influence of experimental psychology during the 20th century. The history of Pavlov’s discoveries takes place at a complex intersection of scientific progress, at the confluence of biological science and the unintended consequences that some discoveries had on traditional cultural beliefs. The role that physiology plays in Pavlov’s story points to the age old and ongoing problem of the relationship between the mind and body. Pavlov’s discovery unintentionally threatened the traditional understanding of the mind-body relationship, specifically the beliefs about free will and unconscious motivation. Pavlov’s discovery fostered continuous research for over one hundred years to date. In the 21st century Pavlov’s methods may again prove useful for the emerging science of neurogastroenterology.

RESUMEN. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) demostró experimentalmente un reflejo condicionado mediado en el cerebro, condicionado en el sentido de que fue aprendido e inconsciente. Este descubrimiento fue el resultado no deseado de su programa de investigación médica dirigido a las funciones gástricas. El descubrimiento del reflejo, y los métodos experimentales asociados, constituyen un paradigma que tuvo una gran influencia en la psicología experimental durante el siglo XX. La historia de los descubrimientos de Pavlov tiene lugar en una intersección compleja del progreso científico, en la confluencia de la ciencia biológica y las consecuencias no deseadas que tuvieron algunos descubrimientos en las creencias culturales tradicionales. El papel que juega la fisiología en la historia de Pavlov apunta al antiguo y continuo problema de la relación entre la mente y el cuerpo. El descubrimiento de Pavlov amenazó involuntariamente la comprensión tradicional de la relación mente-cuerpo, específicamente las creencias sobre el libre albedrío y la motivación inconsciente. El descubrimiento de Pavlov fomentó la investigación continua durante más de cien años hasta la fecha. En el siglo XXI, los métodos de Pavlov pueden volver a resultar útiles para la ciencia emergente de la neurogastroenterología.

La Memoria como Proceso Psicológico en los Saberes de la Orientación y Selección Profesional en la Argentina: un Análisis de la Labor del Instituto de Psicotécnica y Orientación Profesional (1925- 1947)
[Memory as a Psychological Process in the Knowledge of Professional Orientation and Selection in Argentina: An Analysis of the Work of the Instituto de Psicotécnica y Orientación Profesional (1925- 1947)]

Aimé Lescano y Ana María Talak
LabHiPsi (Laboratorio de Historia de la Psicología), Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

RESUMEN. Se analiza la memoria como proceso psicológico en los primeros desarrollos de la orientación y selección en Argentina. Se considera su conceptualización y las prácticas ligadas a su evaluación en el marco de actividades de orientación y selección profesional. El trabajo se centra en los desarrollos del Instituto de Psicotécnica y Orientación Profesional, a partir de fuentes primarias ligadas al instituto, publicaciones de su director Carlos Jesinghaus y de otros miembros del instituto. Se sostiene que la línea experimental fue utilizada parcialmente en las evaluaciones psicotécnicas, dado que se privilegió la evaluación de los usos de la memoria en situaciones más ecológicas. La evaluación de la memoria en el trabajo desarrollado por el instituto distinguió tipos de memoria en función de sus usos en las actividades profesionales, lo cual da cuenta de la importancia de los fines prácticos para la evaluación de las funciones psicológicas.

ABSTRACT. Memory is analyzed as a psychological process in the first developments of orientation and selection in Argentina. Its conceptualization and the practices linked to its evaluation in the framework of professional orientation and selection activities are considered. The work focuses on the developments of the Instituto de Psicotécnica y Orientación Profesional, based on primary sources linked to the institute, publications by its director Carlos Jesinghaus and other members of the institute. It is argued that the experimental line was partially used in the psychotechnical evaluations, since the evaluation of the uses of memory in more ecological situations was privileged. The evaluation of memory at work developed by the institute distinguished types of memory based on their uses in professional activities, which accounts for the importance of practical purposes for the evaluation of psychological functions.

Investigación Chilena en Psicología: una Mirada desde WoS (1976-2020).
[Chilean Research in Psychology. A View from WoS (1976-2020).]

Yerco E. Uribe-Bahamonde
Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Talca, Chile

RESUMEN. Este articulo realiza un análisis bibliométrico de la actividad científica de la psicología en Chile, utilizando como fuente, la base de datos Web of Science (WoS) entre los años 1976 y 2020. El estudio incluyó el análisis de 2806 documentos y 8141 autores. Para análisis, se utilizaron indicadores univariados, indicadores de citación, indicadores de colaboración e indicadores relacionales. Los resultados enseñan un crecimiento acelerado en la producción al igual que la cantidad de citas. La psicología multidisciplinaria es la categoría principal. La preferencia de publicación es internacional y da favoritismo a la publicación en revistas de mejor cuartil. El análisis de redes enfatiza la existencia de 8 grupos de investigación y 3 colegios invisibles con colaboración internacional. Este documento permite conocer y evaluar las regularidades, comportamiento, tendencias e impacto de las publicaciones, autores y grupos de estudio chilenos en el área de la psicología en la base de datos WoS.

ABSTRACT. This article performs a bibliometric analysis of the scientific activity of psychology in Chile, using as a source, the Web of Science (WoS) database between 1976 and 2020. The study included the analysis of 2806 documents and 8141 authors. Univariate indicators, citation indicators, collaboration indicators, and relational indicators were used for analysis. The results show accelerated growth in production as well as in the number of citations. Multidisciplinary psychology is the main category. Publication preference is international and favors publication in top quartile journals. The network analysis emphasizes the existence of 8 research groups and 3 invisible schools with international collaboration. This document allows us to know and evaluate the regularities, behavior, trends, and impact of Chilean publications, authors, and study groups around psychology in the WoS database.

El Programa de Luis Simarro para la Cátedra de Psicología Experimental de la Universidad Central de Madrid (1902)
[Luis Simarro’s Syllabus for the Chair of Experimental Psychology at Universidad Central in Madrid (1902)]

Rafael Llavona y Javier Bandrés
Universidad Complutense (Madrid)

RESUMEN. El doctor Luis Simarro Lacabra ganó la cátedra de Psicología Experimental de la Universidad Central de Madrid en 1902. Simarro presentó para los ejercicios de la oposición un programa de 70 temas divididos en cuatro secciones. Presentamos el programa íntegro y su índice onomástico, con una introducción en la que se comenta la distinta ponderación en el temario de las secciones dedicadas a aspectos teóricos, metodológicos y de procesos de análisis y síntesis psicológicos. El estudio del temario sugiere el interés personal de Simarro por los aspectos históricos y teóricos de la Psicología, manteniéndose globalmente el programa en cualquier caso en la línea marcada por los textos normativos de Wundt.

ABSTRACT. Dr. Luis Simarro Lacabra won the chair of Experimental Psychology at the Central University of Madrid in 1902. Simarro presented a program of 70 topics divided into four sections for the examination exercises. We present the full program accompanied by an introduction commenting on the different weighting in the agenda of the sections dedicated to theoretical and methodological aspects and processes of psychological analysis and synthesis. The study of the syllabus suggests Simarro’s personal interest in the historical and theoretical aspects of Psychology, keeping the program globally, in any case, in line with Wundt’s normative texts.

Paying attention to each other. An essay on the transnational intersections of industrial economy, subjectivity, and governance in East Germany’s social-psychological training

A new open-access article in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will interest AHP readers: “Paying attention to each other. An essay on the transnational intersections of industrial economy, subjectivity, and governance in East Germany’s social-psychological training,” Verena Lehmbrock. Abstract:

This article examines a little-known chapter both in the history of socialist labor relations and the history of psychology: Social Psychological Training (SPT) for industrial leaders in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Based on previously untapped archival sources, it uncovers the transnational genesis of SPT and its intricate relationships with Western “therapeutic culture” of the 1970s. Governmental perspectives are addressed, as well as the level of individual appropriation of SPT and possible unintended side effects of techniques that were drawn from the social psychological and therapeutical fields. This case study helps to explore the functions of psychological expertise in authoritarian political contexts, as well as the polyvalence of group methods of change, the effects of which could turn out repressive as well as liberating on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The history of SPT solicits a polycentric view on therapeutic culture, capturing its diverse manifestations and interconnections between different societies and political economies.

‘Wars Begin in the Minds of Men’: Psychiatry and the Cold War Antinuclear Movement

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in the Journal of Contemporary History: “‘Wars Begin in the Minds of Men’: Psychiatry and the Cold War Antinuclear Movement” by Paula A. Michaels. Abstract:

This article analyzes the history of psychiatrists’ entwined efforts to understand the psychological effect of nuclear war’s threat and to disseminate those findings as a contribution to the antinuclear movement. The sub-specialty of ‘nuclear psychiatry’ sought: (1) to expose how avoidance, denial, and dehumanization set the conditions for the arms race and, potentially, nuclear war; (2) to explain the psychological consequences of nuclear war’s threat, particularly on children and adolescents. By enlightening leaders and the public about delusional, distorted thinking on the nuclear question and the rise of nuclear anxiety, psychiatrist-activists hoped to leverage their expertise for political ends. Connecting developments in the United States with those in Great Britain and the Soviet Union, this article draws on previously untapped archival and published materials, including research findings, media coverage, and internal documents from profession-based antinuclear organizations from the 1960s through the 1980s. In the process, it reveals the centrality of psy-disciplines to the history of the antinuclear movement and the Nuclear Age.

The Mirror and the Mind: A History of Self-Recognition in the Human Sciences

The forthcoming book The Mirror and the Mind: A History of Self-Recognition in the Human Sciences by Katja Guenther will be of interest to AHP readers. The book is described as follows:

Since the late eighteenth century, scientists have placed subjects—humans, infants, animals, and robots—in front of mirrors in order to look for signs of self-recognition. Mirrors served as the possible means for answering the question: What makes us human? In The Mirror and the Mind, Katja Guenther traces the history of the mirror self-recognition test, exploring how researchers from a range of disciplines—psychoanalysis, psychiatry, developmental and animal psychology, cybernetics, anthropology, and neuroscience—came to read the peculiar behaviors elicited by mirrors. Investigating the ways mirrors could lead to both identification and misidentification, Guenther looks at how such experiments ultimately failed to determine human specificity.

The mirror test was thrust into the limelight when Charles Darwin challenged the idea that language sets humans apart. Thereafter the mirror, previously a recurrent if marginal scientific tool, became dominant in attempts to demarcate humans from other animals. But because researchers could not rely on language to determine what their nonspeaking subjects were experiencing, they had to come up with significant innovations, including notation strategies, testing protocols, and the linking of scientific theories across disciplines. From the robotic tortoises of Grey Walter and the mark test of Beulah Amsterdam and Gordon Gallup, to anorexia research and mirror neurons, the mirror test offers a window into the emergence of such fields as biology, psychology, psychiatry, animal studies, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

The Mirror and the Mind offers an intriguing history of experiments in self-awareness and the advancements of the human sciences across more than a century.

Epistemics of the soul: Epistemic logics in German 18th-century empirical psychology 

A new open-access piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will interest AHP readers: “Epistemics of the soul: Epistemic logics in German 18th-century empirical psychology,” by Andrew Rydberg. Abstract:

This article examines epistemic logics in 18th-century German empirical psychology and distinguishes three basic patterns at play throughout the century. First, as empirical psychology was introduced in the 1720s, it relied on the Aristotelian-scholastic conception of experience as universal and evidently true propositions of how things typically behave in nature. Empirical psychology was here a matter of defining and demonstrating the general nature, structure, and functions of the soul by referring to experiences that most people could recognize as universally and evidently true. Second, around midcentury this logic was challenged as a new generation of philosopher-physicians launched an empirical psychology based on extraordinary medical cases. Rather than focusing on the general and universal, this new strand of case-based empirical psychology charted the individual, unique and often abnormal. Third, from the early 1770s, the interest in the individual was complemented by a new discourse on psychological method. Adopting the epistemic techniques developed within natural and experimental philosophy, empirical knowledge of the soul was seen as the result of rigorously conducted singular observations that were frequently repeated and carefully documented and analyzed. Rather than replacing one another sequentially, these three epistemic logics should be understood as cumulative. That is, despite sometimes profound differences, each new logic was layered on top of the existing ones, thereby broadening and increasing the epistemic complexity of empirical psychology. from the early 1770s, the interest in the individual was complemented by a new discourse on psychological method. Adopting the epistemic techniques developed within natural and experimental philosophy, empirical knowledge of the soul was seen as the result of rigorously conducted singular observations that were frequently repeated and carefully documented and analyzed. Rather than replacing one another sequentially, these three epistemic logics should be understood as cumulative. That is, despite sometimes profound differences, each new logic was layered on top of the existing ones, thereby broadening and increasing the epistemic complexity of empirical psychology. from the early 1770s, the interest in the individual was complemented by a new discourse on psychological method. Adopting the epistemic techniques developed within natural and experimental philosophy, empirical knowledge of the soul was seen as the result of rigorously conducted singular observations that were frequently repeated and carefully documented and analyzed. Rather than replacing one another sequentially, these three epistemic logics should be understood as cumulative. That is, despite sometimes profound differences, each new logic was layered on top of the existing ones, thereby broadening and increasing the epistemic complexity of empirical psychology. empirical knowledge of the soul was seen as the result of rigorously conducted singular observations that were frequently repeated and carefully documented and analyzed. Rather than replacing one another sequentially, these three epistemic logics should be understood as cumulative. That is, despite sometimes profound differences, each new logic was layered on top of the existing ones, thereby broadening and increasing the epistemic complexity of empirical psychology. empirical knowledge of the soul was seen as the result of rigorously conducted singular observations that were frequently repeated and carefully documented and analyzed. Rather than replacing one another sequentially, these three epistemic logics should be understood as cumulative. That is, despite sometimes profound differences, each new logic was layered on top of the existing ones, thereby broadening and increasing the epistemic complexity of empirical psychology.

Rise and fall of the (social) group

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in Social Studies of Sciences: “Rise and fall of the (social) group” by David Armstrong. Abstract:

This article maps the rise and fall of the idea of a (social) group across medicine in the context of contemporary analyses in psychology and sociology. This history shows the early 20th century emergence and growth of group medicine, group therapy and group comparisons. In recent decades, however, the idea that groups constituted the basic units of society has been replaced with the emergence of populations and systems that offer a more virtual and abstract context for individual relationships. This has implications for explanation itself as the demise of groups has changed the epistemological ground-rules for understanding identity formation and social change.