The summer issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Articles in this issue explore the relationships of scientists who disagreed over the nature of race, the origins of Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure, Alfred Binet’s role as editorial director of a French publishing house, and more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Race relationships: Collegiality and demarcation in physical anthropology,” by Peter Sachs Collopy. The abstract reads,
In 1962, anthropologist Carleton Coon argued in The Origin of Races that some human races had evolved further than others. Among his most vocal critics were geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky and anthropologist Ashley Montagu, each of whom had known Coon for decades. I use this episode, and the long relationships between scientists that preceded it, to argue that scientific research on race was intertwined not only with political projects to conserve or reform race relations, but also with the relationships scientists shared as colleagues. Demarcation between science and pseudoscience, between legitimate research and scientific racism, involved emotional as well as intellectual labor.
On this day, 46 years ago (March 13, 1964), Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York City. The killing, and the publicity that followed from it, kicked off a new area of social psychology focused on the intervention (or not) of bystanders to emergency situations. Initial reports were that dozens (most typically, 38) people had watched the 3:00 am attack from their apartment windows, and that no one attempted to help the victim, or even call the police.
The case has been written up this way in many psychology textbooks. Later research, however, revealed that things were not as originally stated in the newspapers of the day. At least one witness did shout at the attacker, driving him off for a time. Others called the police, who were initially unable to find any sign of the crime. The victim staggered away to a secluded stairwell, far from the eyes and ears of potential witnesses, where she was eventually found by the attacker, who resumed his assault, resulting in Ms. Genovese’s death. Continue reading Kitty Genovese→
The BBC presented a(nother) successful replication of Stanley Milgram’s famous obedience experiment back in May, 2009. It is written up (with video excerpts) in The Situationist. Not surprisingly, 9 of the 12 participants gave electric shocks all the way to the highest level. This follows a successful replication conducted by psychologist Jerry Berger (UC Santa Clara) that was presented on ABC last year (see AHP’s post about the American Psychologist writeup here).
A few days ago, I posted an item about an article that Steve Levitt and John List recently published in which they said they found “lost” data on whichthe “Hawthorne Effect” was supposed to have been partly based. Levitt and List claimed that the data showed no such effect, but only an effect on productivity resulting from changes in the seasons.
Yesterday, however, I received the following interesting “comment” from Charles Wrege, who has been studying the Hawthorne experiments periodically for the last half-century. Because of its length and importance, I have decided (with Mr. Wrege’s permission) to move it out of the comments section and incorporate it into a “primary” posting here. Continue reading More On the Hawthorne Effect→
Most every student of psychology (and many other disciplines) has heard of the legendary Hawthorne effect. Steve Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and John List have just published an article on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research in which they reveal that they have discovered the thought-to-be-long-lost data from the original Hawthorne experiments of the 1920s. Contrary, however, to the widespread belief in the pervasiveness of the effect, Levitt and List say that there is very little consistent evidence of such an effect in the original data. Continue reading Hawthorne Effect? Maybe Not So Much.→