Rumors, like most forms of gossip, are usually rooted in half-truths and outright falsities. Yet, during World War II, these insatiable tidbits of hearsay threatened to undermine civilian morale and even cause unrest within the military community when they nearly spiraled out of control. A network of “morale wardens” tracked down the latest scuttlebutt, and helped refute these tall tales. Have you ever heard of the World War II rumor clinics?
The November 2017 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore the American Gestalt psychology’s role at the Clarke School for the Deaf, Luigi Luciani’s work on consciousness in relation to localizationism, and professional psychology in Germany during the National Socialist period. (A fun collection of images from the Clarke School for the Deaf from 1955 is also available from Getty Images.) Full details below.
“Planes of phenomenological experience: The psychology of deafness as an early example of American Gestalt psychology, 1928–1940,” by Marion A.Schmidt. Abstract:
When, in 1928, the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, opened a psychological research division, it was nothing unusual in a time fascinated with the sciences of education. Yet with its longstanding ties to Northampton’s Smith College, the school was able to secure the collaboration of eminent Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka, who, in turn, engaged 2 more German-speaking emigrants, Margarete Eberhardt and social psychologist Fritz Heider, and Heider’s American wife Grace Moore Heider. This collaboration has seen little attention from historians, who have treated Koffka’s and Heider’s time in Northampton as a transitory phase. I argue, however, that their research on deafness adds to the history of emigration and knowledge transfer between European and American Schools of psychology, and to historical understanding of the interrelation of Gestalt, child, and social psychology. Professionals in child studies and developmental psychology were keenly interested in the holistic and introspective approach Gestalt psychology offered. Deaf children were considered a particularly fascinating research population for exploring the relationship between thought and language, perception and development, Gestalt, and reality. At the Clarke School, Grace Moore Heider was among the first Americans to apply Gestalt principles to child psychology. In a time in which pejorative eugenic beliefs dominated professional perceptions of disability, the Heiders’ groundbreaking work defined the deaf as a social and phenomenological minority. This was in opposition to dominant beliefs in deaf education, yet it points to early roots of a social model of deafness and disability, which historians usually locate in 1960s and ’70s activism.
G. Stanley Hall founded this journal as The Pedagogical Seminary in 1891. The title was changed under the editorship of Carl Murchison in 1924 to The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, and then in 1954 the shift to its new focus was completed by reduction of the title to its current iteration.
The periodical has celebrated its history with a special volume that focuses on Stanley Hall, pedagogy, and the early 20th century field of developmental research. Abstracts for the included articles follow after the jump: