Category Archives: Journals

History of Psychology: Special Section on Digital History of Psychology, Plus Early Vygotsky

The November 2018 issue of History of Psychology is now online. The issue includes a special section on the digital history of psychology. Full details below.

Digital methods can help you . . . If you’re careful, critical, and not historiographically naïve,” by Burman, Jeremy Trevelyan. Abstract:

This special section on the digital history of psychology includes target articles by Ivan Flis and Nees Jan van Eck and Jeremy Trevelyan Burman, with comments by Melinda Baldwin, Ted Porter, and Chris Green. In his introduction to the section, Burman explains his original motivation in turning to tools borrowed from the digital humanities: helping graduate students to identify dissertation topics more easily, and thereby reduce completion times for the doctorate, while at the same time doing “good history.” Since then, a new field—digital history of psychology—has blossomed. John Burnham, especially, is recognized here as an important interlocutor.

“Through the looking-glass: PsycINFO as an historical archive of trends in psychology,” by Burman, Jeremy Trevelyan. Abstract:

Those interested in tracking trends in the history of psychology cannot simply trust the numbers produced by inputting terms into search engines like PsycINFO and then constraining by date. This essay is therefore a critical engagement with that longstanding interest to show what it is possible to do, over what period, and why. It concludes that certain projects simply cannot be undertaken without further investment by the American Psychological Association. This is because forgotten changes in the assumptions informing the database make its index terms untrustworthy for use in trend-tracking before 1967. But they can indeed be used, with care, to track more recent trends. The result is then a Distant Reading of psychology, with Digital History presented as enabling a kind of Science Studies that psychologists will find appealing. The present state of the discipline can thus be caricatured as the contemporary scientific study of depressed rats and the drugs used to treat them (as well as of human brains, mice, and myriad other topics). To extend the investigation back further in time, however, the 1967 boundary is also investigated. The author then delves more deeply into the prehistory of the database’s creation, and shows in a précis of a further project that the origins of PsycINFO can be traced to interests related to American national security during the Cold War. In short: PsycINFO cannot be treated as a simple bibliographic description of the discipline. It is embedded in its history, and reflects it.

“Framing psychology as a discipline (1950–1999): A large-scale term co-occurrence analysis of scientific literature in psychology,” by Flis, Ivan; van Eck, Nees Jan. Abstract: Continue reading History of Psychology: Special Section on Digital History of Psychology, Plus Early Vygotsky

History of Psychiatry: Extra-Institutional Psychiatry, the Rockefeller Foundation, & More

The December 2018 issue of History of Psychiatry is now available online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Creating a new psychiatry: on the origins of non-institutional psychiatry in the USA, 1900–50,” by Andrew Scull. Abstract:

This paper examines the early origins of the shift away from institutional psychiatry in the USA. It focuses on the period between 1900 and 1950. Attention is paid to the role of neurologists and disaffected asylum doctors in the early emergence of extra-institutional practice; to the impact of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and Thomas Salmon; to the limited role of psychoanalysis during most of this period; and to the influence of the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to focus most of its effort in the medical sciences on psychiatry.

“Mental disorders in commentaries by the late medieval theologians Richard of Middleton, John Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Gabriel Biel on Peter Lombard’s Sentences,” by Vesa Hirvonen. Abstract: Continue reading History of Psychiatry: Extra-Institutional Psychiatry, the Rockefeller Foundation, & More

New CBHM: Visualization of Mental Illness in Advertisements, Orthodontics and Psychology, and More

The Fall 2018 issue of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History includes several articles relevant to AHP readers. Full details below.

“Disappearing Acts: Anguish, Isolation, and the Re-imagining of the Mentally Ill in Global Psychopharmaceutical Advertising (1953–2005),” by Mat Savelli, Melissa Ricci. Abstract:

The visualization of mental illness has attracted substantial attention from scholars in recent decades. Due to the invisible nature of mental disorders, this work has stressed the importance of representations in shaping perceptions of mental illness. In the second half of the 20th century, advertisements for psychopharmaceutical medications became important avenues through which mental illness was made visible. This article analyzes how drug advertisements portrayed mentally ill individuals in medical journal advertisements from 14 countries between 1953 and 2005. We argue that a shift in representations occurred in the 1980s: whereas earlier campaigns were dominated by images of the mentally ill suffering in isolation, the post-1980s period was marked by a trend toward “positive” imagery, social inclusion, and ordinariness. This shift re-imagines the role of psychopharmaceuticals and who might be understood as mentally ill, reflecting changes in global marketing and the arrival of the “happiness turn” within the pharmaceutical industry.

La visualisation des maladies mentales a considérablement attiré l’attention des chercheurs dans les dernières décennies. À cause de l’apparente invisibilité des troubles mentaux, ces travaux ont souligné l’importance des représentations dans la mise en place des perceptions de la maladie mentale. Dans la seconde moitié du 20e siècle, les publicités pour les médicaments psychopharmaceutiques sont devenues des outils importants permettant de rendre la maladie mentale visible. Cet article analyse la façon dont les publicités sur les médicaments ont dépeint les personnes souffrant de troubles mentaux à travers des annonces parues dans les revues médicales de 14 pays entre 1953 et 2005. Nous soutenons qu’un changement dans les représentations a eu lieu dans les années 1980 : alors que les campagnes précédentes étaient dominées par les images de personnes isolées souffrant de troubles mentaux, la période postérieure aux années 1980 a été marquée par le recours à l’imagerie « positive », à l’inclusion sociale et à la quotidienneté. Ce changement réinvente le rôle des produits psychopharmaceutiques et ceux qui pourraient être perçus comme des malades mentaux, reflétant les changements dans le marketing mondial et l’arrivée du « happiness turn » dans l’industrie pharmaceutique.

“From Improving Egos to Perfecting Smiles: Orthodontics and Psychology, 1945–2000,” Melissa Micu, Catherine Carstairs. Abstract: Continue reading New CBHM: Visualization of Mental Illness in Advertisements, Orthodontics and Psychology, and More

Osiris: Psychologists, Automobile Safety, and the Emergence of the Accident-Prone Driver

The recently released 2018 volume of Osiris, dedicated to
Science and Capitalism: Entangled Histories,” includes a piece that may interest AHP readers. Details below.

““Safe Driving Depends on the Man at the Wheel”: Psychologists and the Subject of Auto Safety, 1920–55,” by Lee Vinsel. Abstract:

In the first decades of the twentieth century, deaths from automobile accidents quickly mounted, and influential figures, like Herbert Hoover, sought ways to control this icon of industrial capitalism and its users. These early regulatory efforts opened up the new field of automotive safety, a crowded market for ideas full of both buyers and sellers of potential solutions. This essay examines the 1920s and 1930s, as one profession, psychology, entered and sought to influence this emerging field, which thoroughly entangled science and capitalism. It describes how psychologists used a committee in the National Research Council to find positions of power. It argues that the psychologists’ successes and failures were largely determined through a dialectical process between the psychologist’s skills, other powerful professions, like engineering, and available patronage and funding. The psychologists’ greatest success came through positing a novel entity—the accident-prone driver. Yet by the late 1930s, the most influential psychologists had turned against this idea, criticizing less prestigious colleagues who promoted it to industry and government. Established psychologists worried mostly that self-interested, junior colleagues were overselling their ideas and aligning too closely with corporate capitalism, thereby undermining the young profession’s already tenuous credibility.

New JHBS: Wundt’s Apperceptionism, Police Selection during the Civil Rights Movement, and More

The Autumn 2018 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

““Drawn from Alice in Wonderland”: Expert and public debates over merit, race, and testing in Massachusetts police officer selection, 1967–1979,” by Kimberly Probolus. Abstract:

This study explores the use of tests to select police officers in Massachusetts from 1967–1979. I show how a range of actors understood the construction of merit within the context of police selection in Boston during the Civil Rights movement and how these debates raised larger questions about objectivity in the social sciences and the law. I argue that when experts exposed the way seemingly objective “intelligence” tests perpetuated racial inequality, the public rejected their expertise, instead reaffirming their trust in tests as the best way to evaluate merit and by instead challenging the law’s objectivity. This paper puts histories of merit in conversation with scholarship on affirmative action and employment discrimination to provide a fuller understanding of how intelligence tests are constructed and how nonexpert actors interpreted debates about testing, defining and redefining merit in ways that reflected their beliefs about race, opportunity, and employment.

“Robert Owen, utopian socialism and social transformation,” by Chris Rogers. Abstract: Continue reading New JHBS: Wundt’s Apperceptionism, Police Selection during the Civil Rights Movement, and More

Special Issue: Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism

AHP readers may be interested in the most recent issue of Theory & Psychology, a special issue devoted to “Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism.” Guest edited by Wade Pickren (right), the articles in the issue are currently available open access. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Psychology in the social imaginary of neoliberalism: Critique and beyond,” by. Wade E. Pickren. Abstract:

This is an introduction to the special issue on the impact of neoliberalism on the sociality, politics, and governmentality of contemporary psychological life. The articles suggest that Euro-American psychology writ large has not been a force for human freedom. Still, the articles are additional evidence of the historical and current lines of resistance and activism that indicate a move toward an emancipatory psychology.

“Homo neoliberalus: From personality to forms of subjectivity,” by Thomas Teo. Abstract:

Based on a Neo-Sprangerian approach to forms of life in Western cultures, and drawing on humanities-based ideas about personality, a critical-hermeneutic description of a neoliberal form of life and its corresponding form of subjectivity is presented. In the neoliberal form of subjectivity, the self becomes central, but in a way that the distinction between an ego and the self is no longer relevant. Neoliberal thinking is reduced to utilitarian, calculating thinking in all domains of life from work, to interaction, and to identity. Feeling is considered to be more relevant than thinking and is used to manage stress while aiming for happiness, which is core to this subjectivity. It is argued that agency is reduced to self- and family-interests while consequences for the conduct of life are presented. Concepts such as new nihilism, reduction of individuality, and (im)possibility of resistance in neoliberalism are discussed.

“Neoliberalism and IQ: Naturalizing economic and racial inequality,” by Andrew S. Winston. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism

New in Isis: Turing’s “Paper Machine” in Clinical Research

The September issue of Isis includes a piece that may interest AHP readers: “A Paper Machine of Clinical Research in the Early Twentieth Century,” by Volker Hess. Abstract:

This article introduces Turing’s idea of a “paper machine” to identify and understand one important mode of clinical research in the modern hospital, how that research worked, and how office technology and industrialized labor shaped and helped drive it. The unusually rich archives of Berlin psychiatry allow detailed reconstruction of the making of the new diagnostic category “hyperkinetic syndrome” in the 1920s. From the generating of data to the processing of information to the visualizing of the nature and course of the new syndrome in the lives of more than sixty patients, this case study shows how clinical research could be based on the apparatus of the clerks’ room (folders, registers, inventories, and the dispatch of documents), office technologies (new filing systems, preprinted forms, and duplicating machines), and the principles and paper practices of the division and rationalization of labor (charts organizing worktime in complex organizations). The result is an important example of clinical research embedded in the broader history of office technology, industrial labor, and the modern hospital.

Diagnosing the Kaiser: Psychiatry, Wilhelm II and the Question of German War Guilt

Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany 1890–1914 Head and shoulders portrait of the Kaiser by Court Photographer T. H. Voigt of Frankfurt, 1902.

The July 2018 issue of Medical History includes the The William Bynum Prize Essay 2016: “Diagnosing the Kaiser: Psychiatry, Wilhelm II and the Question of German War Guilt,” by David Freis. Abstract:

After his abdication in November 1918, the German emperor Wilhelm II continued to haunt the minds of his people. With the abolition of the lese-majesty laws in the new republic, many topics that were only discussed privately or obliquely before could now be broached openly. One of these topics was the mental state of the exiled Kaiser. Numerous psychiatrists, physicians and laypeople published their diagnoses of Wilhelm in high-circulation newspaper articles, pamphlets, and books shortly after the end of the war. Whether these diagnoses were accurate and whether the Kaiser really was mentally ill became the issue of a heated debate.

This article situates these diagnoses of Wilhelm II in their political context. The authors of these diagnoses – none of whom had met or examined Wilhelm II in person – came from all political camps and they wrote with very different motives in mind. Diagnosing the exiled Kaiser as mentally ill was a kind of exorcism of the Hohenzollern rule, opening the way for either a socialist republic or the hoped-for rule of a new leader. But more importantly, it was a way to discuss and allocate political responsibility and culpability. Psychiatric diagnoses were used to exonerate both the Emperor (for whom the treaty of Versailles provided a tribunal as war criminal) and the German nation. They were also used to blame the Kaiser’s entourage and groups that had allegedly manipulated the weak-willed monarch. Medical concepts became a vehicle for a debate on the key political questions in interwar Germany.

A Neurotic Dog’s Life: Experimental Psychiatry and the Conditional Reflex Method in the Work of W. Horsley Gantt

Horsley Gantt feeding dog, Gundy.

The June 2018 issue of Isis contains an article on the conditional reflex and experimental psychiatry that will interest AHP readers.

A Neurotic Dog’s Life: Experimental Psychiatry and the Conditional Reflex Method in the Work of W. Horsley Gantt,” by Edmund Ramsden. Abstract:

From the 1920s, inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, many American psychiatrists, physiologists, and psychologists turned to the animal laboratory. Focusing on the work of W. Horsley Gantt, this essay will explore the use of the conditional reflex method in the study of “experimental neurosis.” Concentrating on the interaction between thought and material operations in Gantt’s Pavlovian Laboratory, the essay will show how idiosyncratic emotional reactions and behaviors among experimental animals were used to address the issue of individuality in science, medicine, and society. It was through working with the dog that individuality was identified as an incessant problem that could be utilized in laboratory practice, as a necessary focus of psychiatric medicine, and as a means of defending science from excessive determinism and stereotyped thinking.

Special Issue: Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry

A just-released special issue from History of the Human Sciences, “Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry,” will interest AHP readers. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Exploring the fringes of psychopathology: Boundary entities, category work and other borderline phenomena in the history of 20th century psychopathology,” by Nicolas Henckes, Volker Hess, and Marie Reinholdt. Abstract:

This special issue of History of the Humane Sciences intends to shed light on a series of psychopathological entities that do not target well defined conditions and experiences, but rather aim at delimiting zones of uncertainty that defy psychopathology’s order of things: mild diagnoses or subthreshold disorders, borderline conditions, culture bound syndromes, or ideas of dimensions and dimensionality. While these categories have come to play an increasingly central role in psychiatric and psychological thinking during the last 50 years, historians and social scientists have had remarkably little to say about how they have been created, what they have been used for, and what kind of realities they have helped to shape. In this introductory article we propose the concept of ‘psychopathological fringes’ to refer to these categories that are located somewhere at the border of psychopathological classifications and refer to zones of conceptual underdetermination. The notion of fringes serves to highlight both the conceptually and the socially marginal nature of the conditions, personal identities, and worlds delimited by these categories. The fringes of psychopathology are zones of vagueness, of epistemic uncertainty, and moral ambiguity. This introduction proposes a first incursion in these zones. It suggests some of the reason why they might have had attracted little interest in the past and why they may be more salient recently. It follows some analytical clues that might help chart a way through it and proposes a map through the collection of articles included in this issue.

“Feeling and smelling psychosis: American alienism, psychiatry, prodromes and the limits of ‘category work’,” by Richard Noll. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry