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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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Reviews the books, Cold War Freud by D. Herzog (2016), Psychiatry in Communist Europe edited by M. Savelli and S. Marks (2015), and Psiquiatría, Psicoánalisis y Cultura Comunista: Batallas Ideológicas en la Guerra Fria [Psychiatry, psychoanalysis and communist culture: Ideological battles in the Cold War] by H. Vezzetti. On the whole, the three books show how the Cold War influenced, in various ways, psychiatric and psychotherapeutic cultures. Beyond the Iron Curtain, as one can perceive from the book edited by Savelli and Marks (2015), politics explicitly set the agenda for the psychological sciences, using them even to invent ad hoc nosologies, useful for purposes related to power. In the United States, on the other hand, as Herzog (2016) pinpoints, the political situation affected the same field, even if indirectly, as in the Christianization of a discipline-psychoanalysis-the creator of which proudly declared himself an atheist Jew. In other Western countries, the relationship between psychiatry and power could bring about paradoxical results. From Vezzetti’s (2016) book, one can ascertain that psychiatric culture might assume an overtly opposing stance toward political power. Vezzetti scans the case of Argentina, and partly of France, but they were not isolated cases. In Italy, for example, a movement of radical psychiatrists understood their role as a necessary opposition to political power, having as an aim the “liberation” of patients locked up in the psychiatric hospitals (Foot, 2015). (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Psychiatry, Western world, Cold War, Soviet Union, World War II, East Germany, Eastern Bloc

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Provides brief news of interest to the Society for the History of Psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Anthropology, Relational database

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Although William James never again reprised his lectures on psychology for teachers at Harvard, he spent most of the 1890s presenting them throughout the country. For all his complaints about them, this was a fine source of income and he used the opportunity to revise and refine them over the rest of the decade. By the end of the 1890s, he was prepared to put the talks down in book form, and turned to his long-time publisher, Henry Holt. The two men first became acquainted with each other when James agreed to write a volume for Holt’s American Science series. Their relationship, however, did not always result in smooth interactions. The monetary side of the agreement rankled James, and in 1902 more trouble ensued. Holt referred to the events of 1902 as the unhappiest of his professional and personal life. Perhaps to preserve James’s public image, two prominent early biographies (Perry’s [1935] The Thought and Character of William James, and Henry James III’s [1920] Letters of William James) made no mention of the incident. In the final analysis, it is ironic that this little volume, based upon lectures James had initially been reluctant to give, and whose value James had so often downplayed, had caused more than its share of drama. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, English-language films, William James, Henry James, Library of America, Alice James, House of Stuart

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Wilhelm M. Wundt (1832-1920) was one of the most important German scholars of the 19th and early 20th centuries and famously founded the first institute for experimental psychology in Leipzig in 1879. Wundt’s institute established a teaching and research facility that attracted a large number of students from all over the world and contributed greatly to the development of modern psychology. Until now, the relatively poor indexing and documentation as well as the difficulty in accessing the Wundt estate has prevented a widespread and comprehensive investigation and consideration of these documents. The digitization project described in this article has rectified these problems and will hopefully provide a valuable source for students and researchers interested in Wundt’s work. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Education, Germany, Wilhelm Wundt, Clinical psychology, Modern history, Leipzig, University of Leipzig

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This study investigated the structure of psychological literature as represented by a corpus of 676,393 articles in the period from 1950 to 1999. The corpus was extracted from 1,269 journals indexed by PsycINFO. The data in our analysis consisted of the relevant terms mined from the titles and abstracts of all of the articles in the corpus. Based on the co-occurrences of these terms, we developed a series of chronological visualizations using a bibliometric software tool called VOSviewer. These visualizations produced a stable structure through the 5 decades under analysis, and this structure was analyzed as a data-mined proxy for the disciplinary formation of scientific psychology in the second part of the 20th century. Considering the stable structure uncovered by our term co-occurrence analysis and its visualization, we discuss it in the context of Lee Cronbach’s “Two Disciplines of Scientific Psychology” (1957) and conventional history of 20th-century psychology’s disciplinary formation and history of methods. Our aim was to provide a comprehensive digital humanities perspective on the large-scale structural development of research in English-language psychology from 1950 to 1999. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Linguistics, 20th century, Social sciences, History, American Psychological Association, Discipline, 20th Century Fox

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This article aims to present the construct of unitary consciousness as it emerged in the work of the Italian physiologist Luigi Luciani (1840-1919). We highlight how Luciani’s work, conducted during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, integrated experimental research with the clinical observation of patients, enabling him to develop elaborate theoretical conceptions. From our historical analysis of Luciani’s main works, an innovative model of unitary consciousness emerges with respect to his contemporary context. We also propose Luciani’s model as a contribution to the modern debate on consciousness. An analysis of his work, not considered up to now, leads us to reevaluate the assumption of an ancient opposition between localization and antilocalization in the history of cerebral localization. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Scientific method, Science, Experiment, Hypothesis, 1980s music groups, Theory, Modern history, History

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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. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Sociology, Educational psychology, Perception, Developmental psychology, Gestalt psychology, Max Wertheimer

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Hundreds of positions for psychologists were established after the National Socialists seized power in 1933. It has accordingly been asserted that professional psychology in Germany experienced significant growth during the National Socialist period. An analysis of archival materials and of a recent collection of biographies indicates otherwise, however. German psychology, in fact, declined because of systematic persecution and a surge of emigration, a deficit that subsequent cohorts were barely able to make up until 1945. The new positions for psychologists were mainly in the military testing service, and could only be filled after manpower was shifted from the civilian to the military sector. In 1941, the Ministry of Science and Education released regulations for an innovative practice-oriented national curriculum for psychology. The move was in line with Nazi policy, but it was initiated by a group of protagonists from psychology under the aegis of the German Psychological Association, not the National Socialist German Workers Party, the government, or the military. The present article elaborates how the conception of practice-oriented, state-approved studies was part of the traditional German dual system of academic and professional qualification, and thus actually predated 1933. The new curriculum was largely not implemented because of the exigencies of the war. However, as a regulatory framework it marked a turning point in the merging of academic and professional psychology in Germany. The relationship between academic and professional psychology is also discussed, along with the role of German psychology vis-à-vis National Socialism and the German military. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Germany, Adolf Hitler, World War II, Nazi Germany, Nazism, Nazi Party, World War I, Fascism