Digging into the history of psychological science, the Observer has retrieved classic interviews with prominent psychological scientists for an ongoing series Psychology (Yesterday and) Today. Each interview is introduced by a contemporary psychological scientist, and the full text of the interview is available on the Observer website. We invite you to reflect on the words of these legendary scientists, and decide whether their voices still resonate with the science of today.
As indicated in the above description, each look back at an interview with a given psychologist is accompanied by a downloadable version of the original Psychology Today interview.
For your Friday viewing (and listening) pleasure, we bring you a love song on Harry Harlow’s famous maternal separation and social isolation experiments. In Harlow’s experiments, rhesus monkeys were forced to choose between a terrycloth surrogate mother and a wire surrogate mother equipped with food. Ultimately, the monkeys preferred contact comfort over food, only going to the wire monkey for as long as it took to eat. Set to the tune of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” the song in the video above tells the story of monkeys forced to choose between contact comfort and food. The video was created by teacher Brad Wray and his students at Arundel High School in Maryland.
Read more about Harlow in the recent Observer piece, Love According to Harry Harlow, wherein Deborah Blum revisits a Psychology Today interview with Harlow from 1973. Download the 1973 interview with Harlow here.
The October issue of the APS Observer features an article by Sergio Cirino (right), “Psychological Science Takes Off in Brazil”. While the article reviews the current state of psychological science in Brazil, it also provides a brief overview of the discipline’s history in the nation.
Cirino describes psychology’s “long past and short history” in Brazil, detailing the presence of psychological ideas in seventeenth and eighteenth century writings as well as the more formalized psychological practices that emerged in the nineteenth century. According to Cirino,
As in other countries, psychology also had a great deal of importance in the development of the field of education in Brazil. Several documents show a close link between psychology and education at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century in Brazil. One of the marks of this relationship between the two fields is the reform in the Brazilian educational system made by the Brazilian statesman Benjamin Constant in 1890.
One of the goals of the reform was to replace the literary dominance in education with a scientific one. The scientific spirit of the Benjamin Constant Reform introduced psychology into the teacher education curriculum in Normal Schools all over Brazil. The scientific ideals of the Benjamin Constant reform also led to the formation of several psychology labs. By the beginning of the 20th century, experimental psychology labs began being established, especially in Normal Schools. In 1906, Medeiros e Albuquerque founded a lab in Rio de Janeiro. In 1914, a lab was installed in São Paulo by Ugo Pizzoli, and in 1929 a lab was installed by Helena Antipoff in the state of Minas Gerais. The installation of labs in Normal Schools for teacher education is a clear indication of the importance of psychology for the foundation of scientific pedagogic practices.
Two short pieces on the history of psychology can be found in recent issues of the Association for Psychological Science‘s Observer, the Association’s in house magazine. The first piece is part of a regular section in the Observer, “The History Corner”, edited by Rand Evans, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at East Carolina University. This piece, “Recalling Psychology’s Past: The Memory Drum”, succinctly recounts the role of the memory drum in early psychological research. The piece is authored by Nick Joyce, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Akron and a graduate assistant at the Archives of the History of American Psychology, and David Baker, the Margaret Clark Morgan Director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology and Professor of Psychology at the University of Akron. The second history of psychology piece to appear recently in the Observer recalls the 80th anniversary celebration of the founding of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, held at Yale University in early September 2009. All of the Observer‘s content is freely available online.