Tag Archives: Little Albert

New Issue: History of Psychology

The February 2011 issue of History of Psychology, the official journal of the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the American Psychological Association), has just been released online. Included in this issue are article on the use of the term “socialization,” psychology and pedagogy in late-nineteenth century French medicine, the historical experience of trauma, and a look at the use of unique historical sources in describing the academic freedom controversy surrounding James McKeen Cattell’s departure from Columbia University. Also in this issue, is a note challenging the recent proposal that John Watson and Rosalie Raynor’s research subject Little Albert was in fact Douglas Merritte, the son of a wet nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The evolving vocabulary of the social sciences: The case of ‘socialization’,” by Jill G. Morawski and Jenna St. Martin. The abstract reads,

While the term “socialization” stands as a common and clearly understood term regularly used in social science and lay conversations alike, its history is complex. In the 19th century, socialization was introduced to refer to societal activities or projects, and only in the early 20th century did it gain usage as a term describing psychological processes transpiring within the individual. The architecture of the newer meaning harbored ambitions and problems of modern social science, including ideals of interdisciplinary theory and theoretic resolution of the individual/society dualism. Nevertheless, socialization became a central object of social scientific inquiry after World War II. This significant social scientific object was repeatedly altered: initially representing a vision of conforming citizens who were free from certain troubling characteristics depicted in psychoanalysis and well-suited to democracy, it later was engaged to create a vision of autonomous, resilient, and cognitively active actors able to negotiate a complex social world. Continue reading New Issue: History of Psychology

New Issue: JHBS

The winter 2011 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has been released online. Included in this issue are four all new research articles, an essay review, and eight book reviews. Among topics addressed in the research articles, are the disciplinary myth of Little Albert (left), neo-Freudianism in the United States, ADHD, and the role of measurement in Gustav Fechner’s work. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Letting go of little Albert: Disciplinary memory, history, and the uses of myth,” by Ben Harris. The abstract reads,

In 2009 American Psychologist published the account of an attempt to identify the infant “Albert B.,” who participated in Watson and Rayner’s study of the conditioning of human fears. Such literal interpretations of the question “Whatever happened to Little Albert?” highlight the importance of historical writing that transcends the narrowly biographical and that avoids the obsessive hunt for “facts.” The author of a 1979 study of how secondary sources have told the story of Little Albert relates his attempts to purge incorrect accounts of that story from college textbooks. He renounces such efforts as misguided and suggests that myths in the history of psychology can be instructive, including the myth that the identity of Little Albert has been discovered.

“The great escape: World War II, neo-Freudianism, and the origins of U.S. psychocultural analysis,” by Edward J. K. Gitre. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Issue: JHBS