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Journal: History of psychology

8

The concept of nostalgia has changed substantially both denotatively and connotatively over the span of its 300-year history. This article traces the evolution of the concept from its origins as a medical disease to its contemporary understanding as a psychological construct. The difficulty of tracing a construct through history is highlighted. Attention is paid to roles played first by the medical context, and then by the psychiatric, psychoanalytic, and psychological approaches. Emphasis is given to shifts in the designation of nostalgic valence from bitter to sweet to bittersweet, and the processes of semantic drift and depathologization are explored. Because the sense of nostalgia was constructed and reconstructed within social, cultural, and historical contexts, its meaning changed along with the words used to describe and connect it to other entities. Nostalgia’s past illustrates the influence of language, social-cultural context, and discipline perspectives on how a construct is defined, researched, and applied. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Greek loanwords, Philosophy of language, Perception, Linguistics, Semantics, Anthropology, All rights reserved

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In 2012, Fridlund, Beck, Goldie, and Irons (2012) announced that “Little Albert”-the infant that Watson and Rayner used in their 1920 study of conditioned fear (Watson & Rayner, 1920)-was not the healthy child the researchers described him to be, but was neurologically impaired almost from birth. Fridlund et al. also alleged that Watson had committed serious ethical breaches in regard to this research. Our article reexamines the evidentiary bases for these claims and arrives at an alternative interpretation of Albert as a normal infant. In order to set the stage for our interpretation, we first briefly describe the historical context for the Albert study, as well as how the study has been construed and revised since 1920. We then discuss the evidentiary issues in some detail, focusing on Fridlund et al.’s analysis of the film footage of Albert, and on the context within which Watson and Rayner conducted their study. In closing, we return to historical matters to speculate about why historiographical disputes matter and what the story of neurologically impaired Albert might be telling us about the discipline of psychology today. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Neurology, Revision, Classical conditioning, All rights reserved, American Psychological Association, Copyright, The Stage, Legal terms

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One of Lev Vygotsky’s most widely known concepts in educational psychology is the zone of proximal development (ZPD), which he began to articulate in the last 2 years of his life and work (1933-1934). This article explores an earlier period in Vygotsky’s career-well before he developed the concept of the ZPD-when he was actively involved in pedagogy and educational psychology. With reference to the research and teaching that Vygotsky carried out in Gomel and gathered together for publication some years later, this article highlights his initial conception of educational psychology, and then critically reviews four of his ideas from this first period, namely, (a) the pedagogical importance of the learner’s individual experience (“ultimately, the child teaches himself”), (b) the pedagogical applications of interest (“from one interest of the child’s to a new interest”), © the psychological value of play (“games are the child’s first school of thought”), and (d) the link between life and education (“ultimately, only life educates”). (PsycINFO Database Record

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Among the founders of French psychology, Pierre Janet (1859-1947) is recognized for both his scientific and institutional roles. The psychology born at the turn of the 20th century was initially partly receptive to, but then engaged in, a battle with the “psychical marvelous,” and Janet was no exception. He was involved in the split between psychology and parapsychology (or “metapsychics” in France), developed at that time, playing several successive roles: the pioneer, the repentant, and the gatekeeper. At first, he was involved in so-called experimental parapsychology, but quickly chose not to engage directly in this kind of research any longer. Janet seemed to become embarrassed by his reputation as psychical researcher, so he increased his efforts to side with the more conventional thought of his time. Janet’s attitude, in this, is an example of how French nascent psychology has explored “marvelous phenomena” before recanting. Yet this aspect of Janet’s work has been rarely commented on by his followers. In this article, we describe the highlights of his epistemological journey. (PsycINFO Database Record

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This article is a cocitation network analysis of The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (JASP) from 1925 to 1942. The analysis was conducted to help shed light on the historical roots of the intellectual and institutional relationships among social, personality, and abnormal psychology. JASP was a main venue for the boundary work of early- to mid-twentieth-century American psychologists. One of the main goals of these various research communities was to appropriate psychoanalytic and sociological concepts into preferred methods and approaches that favored an individualistic, quantifiable, and ultimately normal subject. Five major research communities are identified using the citations, and historically contextualized: Community #1, Measuring Social Aspects; Community #2, Psychometrics; Community #3, Operationalizing Psychoanalysis; Community #4, Introversion Studies; and Community #5, Experimental Social Psychology. This analysis demonstrates how disciplinary psychologists, at least within JASP, were united by the work of delimiting their research from closely aligned fields studying the same concepts-even while psychologists' methodological commitments to experimentalism or psychological testing might have ostensibly divided them. Possible future research incorporating post-World War II research and dynamic networking approaches is recommended. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Presents a piece of poetry by A. A. Milne who is now best known as the author of the Winnie the Pooh (1926) book but was quite well reputed before its publication for his plays and his poetry, including collections such as When We Were Very Young (1924). The style of “Veridical Perception” will be familiar to any who have read his work. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Reports an error in “Great aspirations: The postwar American college counseling center” by Tom McCarthy (History of Psychology, 2014[Feb], Vol 17[1], 1-18). In the article, the copyright attribution was incorrect. The copyright is “In the public domain”. The online version of this article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2014-04967-001.) In the decade after World War II, psychologists, eager to bring the benefits of counseling to larger numbers, convinced hundreds of American colleges and universities to establish counseling centers. Inspired by the educational-vocational counseling center founded by psychologists at the University of Minnesota in 1932, Carl R. Rogers’s “client-centered” methods of personal adjustment counseling, and the 400-plus college counseling centers created by the Veterans Administration to provide the educational-vocational counseling benefit promised to returning World War II servicemen under the 1944 GI Bill, these counseling psychologists created a new place to practice where important currents in psychology, higher education, and federal policy converged and where they attempted to integrate educational-vocational counseling with personal adjustment counseling based on techniques from psychotherapy. By the mid-1960s, half of America’s colleges and universities had established counseling centers, and more than 90% offered students educational, vocational, and psychological counseling services, a great achievement of the first generation of counseling psychologists. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Multiple studies have analyzed the aims, resources, and approaches to undergraduate and graduate history of psychology education in several countries. Argentina is one of the countries with the highest historiographical production in Latin America. However, to date, there are no published studies on the collective debates among professionals, institutions, and associations that were instrumental in the development of the historiography of science becoming a mandatory part of the curriculum in Argentinian psychology programs. This study describes and analyzes the role of undergraduate history of psychology courses in official debates that took place during the last 30 years regarding Argentinian psychologists' training and education, in the context of regional and international historiography. Data was retrieved from several primary sources, such as minutes and official dossiers, working documents on accreditation standards, and nationwide curricular diagnoses on undergraduate psychology education, as well as individual scholars' ideas. Our findings suggest that, in line with regional and international historiography, history of psychology courses in Argentina have repeatedly been considered as core content in debates and discussions about psychology education, from the restoration of democracy in 1983 to the present day, in which they are currently considered to be mandatory minimum curricular content. Although throughout its history Argentinian psychology has largely been reduced to the teaching of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, historical education has been perceived as a gateway toward a more plural and critical local psychology. We conclude by discussing some potential and actual concerns that pose a threat to Argentinian undergraduate history courses. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Social sciences, Historiography, Argentina, Psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Primary source

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This article traces the history of a popular interwar psychological test, the Humm-Wadsworth Temperament Scale (HWTS), from its development in the early 1930s to its adoption by corporate personnel departments. In popular articles, trade magazines, and academic journals, industrial psychologist Doncaster Humm and personnel manager Guy Wadsworth trumpeted their scale as a scientific measure of temperament that could ensure efficient hiring practices and harmonious labor relations by screening out “problem employees” and screening for temperamentally “normal” workers. This article demonstrates how concerns about the epistemological and scientific credibility of the HWTS were intimately entangled with concerns about its value to business at every step in the test’s development. The HWTS sought to measure the emotional and social dimensions of an individual’s personality so as to assess their suitability for work. The practice of temperament testing conjured a vision of the subject whose emotional and social disposition was foundational to their own capacity to find employment, and whose capacity to appropriately express, but regulate, their emotions was foundational to corporate order. The history of the HWTS offers an instructive case of how psychological tests embed social hierarchies, political claims, and economic ideals within their very theoretical and methodological foundations. Although the HWTS itself may have faded from use, the test directly inspired creators of subsequent popular personality tests, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Psychometrics, Clinical psychology, Emotion, Personality tests, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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Those interested in tracking trends in the history of psychology cannot simply trust the numbers produced by inputting terms into search engines like PsycINFO and then constraining by date. This essay is therefore a critical engagement with that longstanding interest to show what it is possible to do, over what period, and why. It concludes that certain projects simply cannot be undertaken without further investment by the American Psychological Association. This is because forgotten changes in the assumptions informing the database make its index terms untrustworthy for use in trend-tracking before 1967. But they can indeed be used, with care, to track more recent trends. The result is then a Distant Reading of psychology, with Digital History presented as enabling a kind of Science Studies that psychologists will find appealing. The present state of the discipline can thus be caricatured as the contemporary scientific study of depressed rats and the drugs used to treat them (as well as of human brains, mice, and myriad other topics). To extend the investigation back further in time, however, the 1967 boundary is also investigated. The author then delves more deeply into the prehistory of the database’s creation, and shows in a prĂ©cis of a further project that the origins of PsycINFO can be traced to interests related to American national security during the Cold War. In short: PsycINFO cannot be treated as a simple bibliographic description of the discipline. It is embedded in its history, and reflects it. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Science, Philosophy of science, Anthropology, Clinical psychology, Cold War, American Psychological Association