Tag Archives: Wundt

Jan. 22: BPS History of Psych Disciplines Talk!

A further event in the continuing British Psychological Society’s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, History of the Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series will take place in London next week. Saulo de Feitas Araujo (left), of the newly established history and philosophy of psychology graduate program at Universidade de Federal de Juiz de Fora in Brazil, will speak on “The role of philosophy in Wundtian psychology: Towards a new interpretation of Wundt’s psychological project.” Further seminars for the Spring 2013 term remain tba. Full details follow below.

Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ (map)

Time: 6pm-7.30pm

Tuesday 22 January Professor Saulo de Freitas Araujo (Universidade de Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil), The role of philosophy in Wundtian psychology: Towards a new interpretation of Wundt’s psychological project.

Despite the numerous and important contributions brought by Wundt scholarship in recent decades, some aspects of his work remain unclear and poorly understood. The aim of this talk is to explore one of these aspects; namely, the relationship between philosophy and psychology in Wundt’s thought. To this end, we shall discuss an important yet neglected moment in Wundtian psychology, which remains unexplained to date: why did Wundt abandon his early theory of the unconscious? According to the interpretation offered here, this can only be adequately explained by his intense philosophical studies in the period preceding the publication of the Grundzu?ge in 1874, especially in relation to Kant. Finally, we will point out some implications of this analysis to the general interpretation of Wundt’s psychological project.

New HoP Program: Interview w/ Saulo de Freitas Araujo

The Department of Psychology at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Department of Psychology, Federal University of Juiz de Fora) recently began a new History and Philosophy of Psychology graduate program. Faculty member Saulo de Freitas Araujo, who recently published a book on Wilhelm Wundt’s psychology (left), was nice enough to grant AHP an interview. In this interview Araujo addresses the program’s faculty and student composition, its aims, and its future plans. The full text of the interview follows below.

AHP: Can you tell AHP’s readers about the new history of psychology program at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora? What is the aim of the new program and when did it begin?

SFA: First of all, we created, in 2010, the NUHFIP (Center for the History and Philosophy of Psychology), which inaugurated a new space for doing research on history and philosophy of psychology in Brazil. Then in 2011, the Graduate Program in Psychology at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora created a new area, namely, History and Philosophy of Psychology. It is the first psychology graduate program in Brazil to offer an official program in this area, including specific training in disciplines like history of science and psychology, philosophy of science and psychology, etc. In the two year program, the students have to attend courses in some of these disciplines and to defend a master thesis at the end. Our main purpose is to encourage and support investigations and discussions on the historical and philosophical foundations of psychology, which can contribute to a better understanding of contemporary psychological theory and practice. With that goal in mind, we expect to receive three kinds of students: a) those who want to become scholars in the field; b) those who want to teach history and philosophy of psychology in undergraduate courses; c) those who have practical interests and are looking for a better understanding of his or her own professional activity. For the moment, we can only offer a Master degree, but we will soon be able to offer a PhD, too.

AHP: In addition to yourself, who are the faculty members associated with the new program and what are their research interests or current projects?

SFA: Our new program has four faculty members. Three of them belong to the Psychology Department (Saulo de Freitas Araujo, Fátima Caropreso and Richard Simanke) and one to Philosophy Department (Gustavo Castañon). Our research interests can be summarized as follows: Continue reading New HoP Program: Interview w/ Saulo de Freitas Araujo

More Talks! BPS Hist. of Psych. Seminar Series

As previously discussed on AHP (here, here, and here) the British Psychological Society’s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has organized a seminar series. Two more talks in this series will be held next month. On March 6th, Egbert Klautke of University College London will be speaking on the French reception of German Völkerpsychologie before 1914. At the end of the month, Elizabeth Valentine (left) will speak of psychologists involvement with psychical research in Britain between the wars. Full seminar details, including titles, speakers, dates, and abstracts follow below.

“The French Reception of Völkerpsychologie and the Origins of the Social Sciences,” to be presented by Egbert Klautke on Tuesday 6 March, 2012. The abstract reads,

In this talk, I will focus on French readings, criticism and adaptations of German Völkerpsychologie (Lazarus/Steinthal, Wundt) before the First World War. I will show how Théodule Ribot, Emile Durkheim, Ernest Renan and Alfred Fouillée used arguments found in the writings of their German contemporaries, and present this cultural transfer as an important chapter in the making of a ‘social science’.

“Spooks and Spoofs: Relations Between Psychical Research and Academic Psychology in Britain in the Inter-war Period,” to be presented by Elizabeth Valentine on Monday 26 March, 2012 [Date updated]. The abstract reads,

The close connections between psychologists and the Society for Psychical Research in the late nineteenth century have been duly acknowledged. What is less well known is that senior academic psychologists were involved in psychical research in the early to mid-twentieth century. William McDougall and William Brown attended a number of séances arranged by Harry Price; J.C. Flugel, Cyril Burt, C. Alec Mace and Francis Aveling were members of his ‘University of London Council for Psychical Investigation’ and supported psychical research in various ways. This paper describes some of their antics and ask how reputable psychologists (and the University of London) could have collaborated with someone the Economist described as ‘a rogue, a falsifier, and a manufacturer of evidence’. Personal, metaphysical and socio-historical factors in their collaboration are discussed. It is suggested that the main reason for their mutual attraction was their common engagement in a delicate balancing act between courting popular appeal on the one hand and the assertion of scientific expertise and authority on the other. Their interaction is typical of the boundary work performed at this transitional stage in the development of psychology as a discipline.

Update: Elizabeth Valentine’s talk will now take place on Monday 26 March, 2012 (rather than the March 21st as originally scheduled).

New Issue: History of Psychology

The February 2012 issue of History of Psychology has just been released online and is chock full of new articles. Included in this issue are articles on the origins of the therapeutic theories of Aaron Beck (right) and Carl Rogers, respectively. Other articles address developments in historical methods, including one on transcending “Great Man” histories and another on the new neurohistory. Further articles recount how Wundt’s philosophical studies influenced his early theory of the unconscious and describe the development of anglophone psychology’s vocabulary. The issue ends with a short piece on the fate of John Dillingham Dodson, the co-creator of the Yerkes-Dodson law. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Aaron T. Beck’s drawings and the psychoanalytic origin story of cognitive therapy,” by Rachael I. Rosner. The abstract reads,

In this essay the author challenges the standard origin story of cognitive therapy, namely, that its founder Aaron T. Beck broke with psychoanalysis to pursue a more pragmatic, parsimonious, and experimentalist cognitive model. It is true that Beck broke with psychoanalysis in large measure as a result of his experimental disconfirmation of key psychoanalytic ideas. His new school of cognitive therapy brought the experimental ethos into every corner of psychological life, extending outward into the largest multisite randomized controlled studies of psychotherapy ever attempted and inward into the deepest recesses of our private worlds. But newly discovered hand-sketched drawings from 1964 of the schema, a conceptual centerpiece of cognitive therapy, as well as unpublished personal correspondence show that Beck continued to think psychoanalytically even after he broke with psychoanalysis. The drawings urge us to consider an origin story much more complex than the one of inherited tradition. This new, multifaceted origin story of cognitive therapy reaches beyond sectarian disagreements and speaks to a broader understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive therapy.

“The Roosevelt years: Crucial milieu for Carl Rogers’ innovation,” by Godfrey T. Barrett-Lennard. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Issue: History of Psychology

In the Days Before PowerPoint…

The November issue of the American Psychological Association‘s Monitor on Psychology is now online. This month’s Time Capsule section looks at the use of the magic lantern in psychology courses in the late-nineteenth century. As author Laurence Smith informs us,

Prominent among the historical precursors of today’s PowerPoint presentations is the “magic lantern,” which came into wide use in classrooms of the late 19th century. An early sort of slide projector dating to the 17th century, the magic lantern contained a light source (a gas flame or electric bulb) that transilluminated large glass slides bearing images that were projected through lenses onto large cloth screens. Some versions, such as the “episcope,” could project laboratory instruments such as kymographs and other opaque objects onto screens, thus allowing instructors to present live scientific phenomena to large audiences.

Smith goes on to describe the use of the magic lantern by such early luminaries as Wilhelm Wundt, E. B. Titchener, and Edward Scripture. He writes,

By the time the new psychology reached American shores in the late 1800s, college students had developed a strong appetite for image-driven science. These students had many attractive options for sciences to pursue, and psychology professors recognized that their new and still-marginal discipline needed to match the pedagogical flair of the older sciences. In 1897, Scripture wrote that “comparisons are constantly drawn between the various departments, and merely as a matter of self-preservation the psychological laboratory must offer courses equal in attractiveness and value to those of physics, chemistry and biology. A lecture room with at least a single lantern … should be provided. … The students are no longer a ‘class’ to be taught; they are an ‘audience’ that must be led.”

Thus the magic lantern, which arrived from Germany in tandem with scientific psychology, was seen as a crucial means of attracting the student following that would help psychology survive against the competition of entrenched sciences.

The full article, “Multimedia 1890s,” can be read online here.