A History of Psychology
Chapter one:
The study of the History of Psychology
A note before studying history of psychology
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Historical facts can change:
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Several Freud’s document will not be available until the 21th century
Bias: History is highly selective and subjective
Zeitgeist (the spirit of the time) influences the decision/trend
“Internal” (psychology) vs. “external” (socio-cultural,
political, or economic context) history
Presentism (looking at past events from today’s perspectives) vs.
Historicism (placing past events into their actual social and
intellectual context)
Approaches to the History of psychology
(Wertheimer, 2000)
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1. Quasi-chronologies:
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one trend and then a different trend
2. The Great Schools of Psychology:
structuralism, functionalism, Behaviorism, Gestalt
Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Humanistic and Cognitive
movement
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3. Personal or professional autobiographies
4. Major figures in the history of psychology
5. History of organizations
6. History of psychological research
Why study history of psychology
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Avoid mistakes
Indicate the original ideas, the lines of
development
The influence of the past helps shape the
present
…….
I. The Development of Modern
Psychology
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One of the oldest disciplines
Issues first raised in philosophy and
theology
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Can be traced back to 5th B.C.
Plato and Aristotle
I. The Development of Modern
Psychology
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Modern psychology distinct from the old
discipline of philosophy
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A primarily scientific field
Applies tools and methods from biology and
physiology
Relies on controlled observation and
experimentation
Objectivity and precision are continually
sought and refined
Eastern Traditions in Psychology
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Similarly, psychology had been philosophical, religious,
and moralistic in the eastern culture (e.g., Chinese culture)
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I-Ching
Yin-Yang (balance and harmony within the environment)
Confucius
 A series of practical teaching directed toward morals and
politics; the rules of proper conduct in relationships
Taoist Philosophy (e.g., Lao-Tze)
 Book of the Ways and of Virtue: a path to wise living
 A simple life that is close to nature
 Living in harmony with environment
Buddhism
II. The Relevance of the Past for
the Present
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History of psychology: common
requirement for majors
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As early as 1911
64% of undergraduate: history of psychology as
degree requirement
Unique among the sciences in the focus on
our history
II. The Relevance of the Past for
the Present
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Graduate training in history of psychology
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1969: history of psychology course in graduate training
(U of Florida, U of Oklahoma, U of Pennsylvania, $ Texas A&M)
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Journal and other document:
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1965: Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science
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1965: Archives of the History of American Psychology (at
University of Akron, Ohio)--25,000 books, 3,000
photographs, hundreds of film, etc.
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1998: History of Psychology (Div 26 journal)
II. The Relevance of the Past for
the Present
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Formal Organizations
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APA Division of the History of Psychology
(Division 26) founded in 1966
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The International Society for the History of the
Behavioral and Social Science was founded in
1969
II. The Relevance of the Past for
the Present
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The nature of history of psychology
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Values diversity within psychology
Provides a framework for a coherent picture
Values the influence of the past which shape the present
History is the most systematic way to integrate the
areas and issues in modern psychology
Recognize relationships among ideas, theories, and
research efforts that make the whole cohesive
III. The Data of History:
Reconstructing psychology’s past
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How we study history
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Historiography: The principles, methods, and
philosophical issues of historical research
Data of science
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Conduct a laboratory experiment, observe behavior under
controlled real-world conditions, take a survey, or calculate
correlations….
Can be replicated by other scientists at other time and places
Data of history
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Materials used to reconstruct lives, events, eras
Not replicable, conditions not controlled
From data fragments
III. The Data of History:
Reconstructing psychology’s past
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Lost or suppressed data
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Lost: permanently or temporarily
Suppressed: Freud’s materials to be opened in
the 21st century (to protect the privacy of Freud’s patients
and their family and reputation of Freud and his family)
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Altered:
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Self-interest: Freud’s case; Skinner’s youth
To protect: Freud’s cocaine use
III. The Data of History:
Reconstructing psychology’s past
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Data Distorted in Translation
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Deliberately: Freud’s use of I and it (ego and
id)
Lack of equivalents b/w languages: Zeitgeist
Gestalt
By participants carelessly recording the
relevant events
III. The Data of History:
Reconstructing psychology’s past
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Self-serving data
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Skinner described in his autobiography his rigorous
self-discipline as a graduate student. However, he
denied later on
=> consulted other sources.
History is dynamic and constantly changes and
corrected when new data are reinterpreted or revealed.
IV. External Context in Psychology
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Economic opportunity
War (WWI and WWII)
Prejudice and Discrimination
IV. External Context in Psychology
---Economic opportunity
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From Experimental Psychology to Applied psychology
More Ph.D. than job opportunities
Established university In Midwest and West and increased
teaching job
But, psychology is the newest science and received
smallest financial support
Solving real world problems to get financial support
1890-1918: increased public school enrollments to 700%
due to immigrants
Actively apply psychology into education, teaching, and
learning.
IV. External Context in Psychology
---War (WWI and WWII)
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Personnel selection, psychological testing, or engineering
psychology---This work demonstrated to the public how
useful psychology could be.
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Psychologist relocated from Europe to the US (because of
Nazi menace in 1930s)
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After witnessing the WWI and WWII,
 Freud proposed that aggression as a significant
motivation force for the human personality
 Erich Fromm: interested in abnormal behavior
IV. External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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Eleanor Gibson
Discrimination against women:
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Denied admission to graduate
school, excluded from faculty
position, lower salaries,
encountered barrier to tenure
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Eleanor Gibson (Visual Cliff):
not allow to use graduate
students’ library, cafeteria,
director’s facility in lab, or take
seminars in Freudian psychology
at Yale University
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IV.External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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James Cattell
Discrimination against women:
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James Cattell (mental testing): urging
the acceptance of women in psychology
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1983: he nominated 2 women for APA
membership
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APA—the 1st scientific society to admit
women.
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Female APA members: 15% (18931921), 20% (1938)….
IV. External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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Discrimination against women:
 Mary Calkins (psychology of
selves): APA first female
president in 1905
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Mary Calkins
denied her doctorate from
Harvard University. She only
can be a person to sit-in one
class or a guess in the lab.
IV. External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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Julian Rotter
Discrimination based on ethic origin
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Late 1800s: a policy to exclude Jewish
professors from faculty position (John
Hopkins University and Clark
University)
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1960s: admissions quotas for Jewish
college students
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Julian Rotter (Internal vs. External
Control) : was warned that “Jew simply
could not get academic jobs regardless of
their credentials” in 1941.
IV.External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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Abraham Maslow
Maslow was urged by his
professor at the University
of Wisconsin to change his
first name to “something
less obviously Jewish”, so
that he would have a better
chance to obtaining an
academic job. Maslow
refused to do so.
IV.External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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The Clarks
Discrimination based on ethic origin
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8 out of 3700 Ph.D in psychology was Black
(1920-1966)
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Kenneth Clark (psychological effects of
racial segregation):
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1st African American president at APA.
Rejected by Cornell U graduate admission
because of race, received his doctoral degree
from Columbia University in 1940
IV.External Context in Psychology
----Prejudice and Discrimination
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Mamie Clark (his wife): earned a
doctoral degree at Columbia
University
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Could not find the academic job;
found a job analyzing data
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The Clarks’ research on racial
identity and self-concept issues for
Black children impacts the decision
to end racial segregation in public
school in 1954.
IV.External Context in Psychology
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Recent…Prejudice and
Discrimination
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Few female and minority
psychologist were listed in the
history of psychology or great
psychologists
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Book: Even the Rat was White
(1998)
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Even the Rat was White
A project of “Great psychologist
of color” is conducting by U of
Notre Dame (2003)
V.Personalistic and Naturalistic
theory of scientific history
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Personalistic theory:
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The view that progress and change in scientific
history are attributable to the ideas of unique
individual; focused on the achievement and
contributions of specific individuals.
However, often individuals were not recognized
during their lifetimes.
V.Personalistic and Naturalistic
theory of scientific history
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Naturatlistic theory
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The view that progress and change in scientific
history are attributable to the Zeitgeist (the
spirit or climate of the times), which makes a
culture receptive to some ideas by not to others
Darwin: his theory developed is because the
intellectual climate was ready to accept such a
way of explaining the origin of the human
species.
V.Personalistic and Naturalistic
theory of scientific history
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Problems?
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An established theory can determine the ways in which
data are organized and analyzed as well as research
results permitted to be published or not.
Findings oppose current thinking may be rejected by a
journal’s editors.
John Garcia: challenging the S-R learning theory.
Major journals refused to accept his articles. (later, he
received the APA’s Distinguished Scientific
Contribution Award for his research
VI. Schools of Thought in the
evolution of modern psychology.
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School of thoughts
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A group of psychologists who become
associated ideologically and sometimes
geographically, with the leader of a movement.
VII. Schools of Thoughts
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Each school points to the weakness of the
old school and offered new definitions,
concepts, and research strategies to correct
the previous school.
VII. Schools of Thoughts
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Structuralism
Functionalism
Behaviorism
Gestalt psychology
Psychoanalysis
Humanistic psychology
Cognitive psychology
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