PSYCHOLOGY 266: HISTORY AND SYSTEMS OF PSYCHOLOGY
Today in the history of psychology (pick a date!)
Professor: Joan Ostrove
Office: Olin-Rice 325
Office hours: Wednesdays, 1-3 p.m., or by appointment
Class description and overview:
This course explores major developments and ideas in the history of psychology as an academic discipline. We will address such topics as: the history of ideas about "the mind;" key historical and social events that shaped the field; when and how psychology became a science; life histories of psychologists; and how ideas about what is "normal" shape and are shaped by psychology.
Although psychology really only became an independent discipline about 100
years ago, its history goes back much further than that. Also, it is a big
field so a lot has happened in the past 100 years! All this is to say that
there is much more to this topic than we can possibly cover in one semester.
I’ve developed what I anticipate is going to be a really fun course that will
touch upon a number of topics and modes of critical/historical analysis that I
hope will be applicable to many areas of the field that we won’t cover here.
Also, I’ve kept the focus primarily on the development of psychology in the
Requirements and expectations:
Short paper 1
Short paper 2
Short paper 3
Demorest, A. (2005). Psychology’s grand theorists: How personal experiences shaped professional
Wertheimer, M. (2000). A brief history of psychology (4th
(Books are available at the campus bookstore)
Almost all of the other readings are available either in the psychology department or on the web. You should be able to access all of the readings on the web EITHER by going to the course link on my website and clicking on the link via any campus networked computer OR by going to the course on moodle.macalester.edu. Most of the links will take you directly to the reading. Sometimes (when only the journal title is a link) the link will get you to the journal finder, because the article is available full-text online via Macalester’s library site.
Topics / Class schedule:
Wed, Sept 7 – Introduction to the course and each other
Why study history? Contextualizing the history of psychology
Fri, Sept 9
Goodwin, C. J. (1999). Chapter 1 of A history of modern
psychology (pp. 1-23),
Wertheimer, Chapter 1.
Bohan, J. (1992). The construction of knowledge,
the construction of history. Introduction to section I of Re-placing women
Mon, Sept 12
Winston, A.S. (2004). Introduction:
Histories of psychology and race.
In A.S. Winston (Ed.), Race,
racism, and the history of psychology (pp. 3-18),
Wed, Sept 14:
Heidbreder, E. (1933/1961). Systems of psychology:
Their function and significance. In
Heidbreder, in the preface to Seven Psychologies, defines "systems" as "effective influences in the development of psychology" (p. vii). As "systems" is one of the big topics for the class, the chapter you’ll read for today gives an excellent overview of how to understand such "psychological systems" and provides some useful perspectives on how to understand these systems in context. Although her book was written quite a long time ago, much of her perspective on the meaning of thought and on how systems develop is quite relevant today. What strike you as the most timely, or outdated, ideas in her chapter?
Philosophical underpinnings from the ancients to the moderns
Fri, Sept 16: What have people thought about the nature of the mind, the relationship of the mind to the body, what it means to be human? How have these ideas influenced what is now psychology?
Wertheimer, Chapters 2-4
Pick ONE from among the first bunch of sources listed in this site (starting with Hammurabi’s Code, through the Torah, and Confucius, Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle and "read around" your chosen text. Pick out some evidence for how these texts represent something about human nature, or some other concept that is of interest to psychologists. Write down at least 3 brief quotations to illustrate, and come to class prepared to share this with the rest of us (this will count toward your participation grade).
Mon, Sept 19: Descartes and his influence
[click "continue" to get through all 6 of these mini-chapters]
2.The 17th Century: Reaction to the Dualism of Mind and Body
3.The 18th Century: Mind, Matter, and Monism
4.The 19th Century: Mind and Brain
5.Mind, Brain, and Adaptation: the Localization of Cerebral Function
6.Trance and Trauma: Functional Nervous Disorders and the Subconscious Mind
The transformation from philosophy to psychology…
Wed, Sept 21: A perspective from the philosophy of science
DeWitt, R. (2004).
Chapters 1-4 from Worldviews: An introduction to the history and philosophy
of science (pp. 3-44).
Fri, Sept 23: TBA
Mon, Sept 26: The rise of experimental psychology
Gardner, H. (2001, March 9). The philosophy-science continuum. The Chronicle of Higher Education, vol 47, issue 26, p. B7-B10.
Wertheimer, Chapters 5-7
Heidelberger, M. (2004). Introduction to Nature from within: Gustav
Theodor Fechner and his psychophysical worldview (pp. 1-15).
Although this introduction spends some time discussing what will be covered in each of the remaining chapters, I think those brief chapter summaries are a sufficient introduction to what Heidelberger is arguing in his extensive (the whole book is almost 450 pages!) biography of Fechner, which was translated from German by Cynthia Klohr.
Wed, Sept 28:
Psychology’s start in the
Wertheimer, Chapter 8
Fri, Sept 30: William James, continued
The importance of quantification and measurement
Mon, Oct 3
Hornstein, G. A. (1988). Quantifying psychological
phenomena: Debates, dilemmas, and implications. In J. G. Morawski (Ed.). The
rise of experimentalism in American psychology (pp. 1-34).
This chapter covers a wide variety of issues, all
of which we will return to later in the semester. I’m assigning it now because
the ability to measure, quantify, and assess was so critical to psychology’s
transition to being a "science." Hornstein’s chapter provides an
important critical analysis of a number of trends during the early 20th
century that we have to examine on the heels of reading James and starting our
foray into the history of psychology in the
Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (2000). The psychology laboratory at the turn of the 20th century. American Psychologist, 55, 318-321.
Evans, R. B. (2000). Psychological instruments at the turn of the century. American Psychologist, 55, 322-325.
Museum of the History of Psychological Instrumentation: (click on this link to see pictures and perspectives on psychological instrumentation; pick anything of interest to you and come to class prepared to explain and discuss what you learned from the site; you may want to return to this site for the Oct 7th readings, as some of the instruments used by the people discussed in those readings are featured on this site)
Wed, Oct 5
Danziger, K. (1987). Social context and
investigative practice in early twentieth-century psychology. In M. G. Ash
& W. R. Woodward (Eds.). Psychology in twentieth-century thought and
society (pp. 13-33).
Although somewhat dense at times, this article
provides a useful overview of how to understand the development of psychology
as a discipline within particular contexts. What are the contexts Danziger
suggests are important for the development of the field? How and why does he
contrast the development of psychology in the
The dominant systems in psychology
Fri, Oct 7: Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism
Wertheimer, Chapters 9-11
Mon, Oct 10: Gestalt Psychology and Psychoanalysis
Wertheimer, Chapters 12-13
***SHORT PAPER #1 DUE TODAY IN CLASS****
Historical and critical perspectives on the major systems of psychology…
Wed, Oct 12
Shields, S. (1992). Functionalism, Darwinism, and
the psychology of women: A study in social myth. In Bohan, J. S. (Ed.). Seldom
seen, rarely heard: Women’s place in
psychology (pp. 79-106).
Furumoto, L. (1988). Shared knowledge: The
experimentalists, 1904-1929. In J. G. Morawski (Ed.). The rise of
experimentalism in American psychology (pp. 94-113).
Fri, Oct 14
Kendler, H. H. (1985). Behaviorism and psychology: An uneasy alliance. In S. Koch & D. E. Leary (Eds.) A century of psychology as science (pp. 121-134). NY: McGraw-Hill.
Henle, M. (1978). One man against the Nazis: Wolfgang Kohler. American Psychologist, 33, 939-944.
Hornstein, G. A. (1992). The return of the repressed: Psychology’s problematic relations with psychoanalysis, 1909-1960. American Psychologist, 47, 254-263.
Analyzing introductory textbooks – The start of a project for the rest of the semester!
Mon, Oct 17
Morawski, J. (1992). There is more to our history of giving: The place of introductory textbooks in American psychology. American Psychologist, 47, 161-169.
Fuchs, A. H. (2000). Teaching the introductory course in psychology circa 1900. American Psychologist, 55, 492-495.
Winston, A.S., Butzer, B., & Ferris, M.D.
(2004). Constructing difference: Heredity, intelligence, and race in
textbooks, 1930-1970. In A.S. Winston (Ed.), Race, racism, and the history of psychology (pp. 199-229),
**FINAL PAPER TOPIC PROPOSAL DUE IN CLASS**
Wed, Oct 19: Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1900s (an example from 1909)
Fri, Oct 21: Meet in pairs to start your intro psych textbook project!
The lives of some influential (and some less well-known) psychologists: Non-representative case examples…
Mon, Oct 24
Bringmann, W. G., Bringmann, M. W., & Early, C. E. (1992). G. Stanley Hall and the history of psychology. American Psychologist, 47, 281-289.
Guthrie, R. V. (1976). Francis Cecil Sumner – Father of black American psychologists. In R. V. Guthrie, Even the rat was white: A historical view of psychology (1st Edition) (pp. 175-189). NY: Harper & Row.
Triplet, R. G. (1992). Henry A. Murray: The making of a psychologist? American Psychologist, 47, 299-307.
Some things to think about while reading the above articles: Are there parallels in any of these life stories? What do you notice about the institutions these psychologists were affiliated with? What role did historical events play? Economics? Discrimination? What distinguishes the life stories from one another?
Wed, Oct 26 – Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1910s/1920s
Fri, Oct 28 – FALL BREAK
Studying the ideas and lives of influential psychologists
Mon, Oct 31: Life histories and psychobiography
Demorest, Chapter 1 (Introduction)
Runyan, W. M. (1982). Chapter 10 (The Psychobiography Debate) of Life histories and psychobiography: Explorations in theory and method (pp.
Wed, Nov 2: Lives and ideas #1 – Sigmund Freud
Demorest, Chapter 2
Erikson, E. H. (1975). A historic friendship: Freud’s letters to Fliess (a review of Freud’s posthumous publications) In E. H. Erikson, Life history and the historical moment (pp. 48-81), NY: W.W. Norton.
Fri, Nov 4 – Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1930s/1940s
Mon, Nov 7: Lives and ideas #2 – B. F. Skinner
Demorest, Chapter 3
Wed, Nov 9: Skinner, continued
Watson, J. B. (1924/1930). What is behaviorism? In J. B. Watson, Behaviorism (pp. 1-19), NY: W.W. Norton.
Skinner, B. F. (1978). The experimental analysis of behavior (A
history). In B. F. Skinner, Reflections on behaviorism and society
Skinner, B. F. (1978). Walden (One) and Walden Two. In B. F. Skinner, Reflections on behaviorism and society (pp. 188-194).
Fri, Nov 11 – Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1950s
Mon, Nov 14: Lives and ideas #3 – Carl Rogers
Demorest, Chapters 4 and 5
Wed, Nov 16:
Kirschenbaum, H. (2004). Carl Rogers’ life and work: An assessment on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Journal of Counseling & Development., 82, 116-124. [available full-text online via Macalester library website]
Fri, Nov 18 Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1960s
World wars and their influence on psychology (and psychology’s influence on them?)
Mon, Nov 21
von Mayrhauser, R. T. (1992). The mental testing community and validity: A prehistory. American Psychologist, 47, 244-253.
Hoffman, L. E. (1992). American psychologists and
wartime research on
*****SHORT PAPER #2 DUE TODAY IN CLASS*******
Wed, Nov 23
APA Monitor (November, 2000). Remembering the Holocaust.
(1954). Chapter 1 of The nature of
Fri, Nov 25 – THANKSGIVING
Critical perspectives on the discipline, with a particular focus on measurement (and mismeasurement)
Mon, Nov 28
Wertheimer, Chapters 14 and 15
Strickland, B. R. (2000). Misassumptions, misadventures, and the misuse of psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 331-338.
Minton, H. L. (1988). Charting life history: Lewis
M. Terman’s study of the gifted. In J. G. Morawski (Ed.). The rise of
experimentalism in American psychology (pp. 138-162).
Wed, Nov 30
*Note that there are 9 “chapters” in this website; you will pick ONE of the 9 and will report on it in class
Fri, Dec 2 – Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1970s
Mon, Dec 5:
Jackson, J. P. (2004). “Racially stuffed shirts and other enemies of
mankind”: Horace Mann Bond’s parody of
segregationist psychology in the 1950s. In
A.S. Winston (Ed.), Race, racism, and the
history of psychology (pp. 261-283),
Sherif, C. W. (1979/1992). Bias in psychology. In J. S. Bohan (Ed.). Seldom seen, rarely heard: Women’s place in psychology (pp.
Wed, Dec 7
Lewin, M. (1984). "Rather worse than
folly?" Psychology measures femininity and masculinity, 1 – From Terman
and Miles to the Guilfords and 2 – From "13 Gay Men" to the
instrumental-expressive distinction. In M. Lewin (Ed.). In the shadow of the
past: Psychology portrays the sexes
(pp. 155-204). NY:
**SHORT PAPER #3 DUE IN CLASS TODAY**
Fri, Dec 9 – Introductory psychology textbooks in the 1980s
Mon, Dec 12
Jenkins, A. M., et al. (2003). Chapter 24 (Ethnic minorities) of the Handbook
of Psychology (Vol. 1, History of Psychology) (pp. 483-508).
Wed, Dec 14: Heading us toward thinking about the future of psychology
King, M. L., Jr. (1968). The role of the behavioral scientist in the Civil Rights movement. American Psychologist, 23, 180-186.
Jackson, J. (2000). What ought psychology to do? American Psychologist, 55, 328-330
APA Policy and Planning Board (2005). APA 2020: A perfect vision for psychology. American Psychologist, 60, 512-522.
Fri, Dec 16 – Last day! Wrap up, report on your final projects, etc.
**FINAL PROJECT DUE BY 5 P.M. ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 19TH**
Other internet resources on the History of Psychology
http://pages.slu.edu/faculty/josephme/resguides/psyhist.html – Resource guide for history of psych
http://www.psych.yorku.ca/orgs/resource.htm – History and philosophy of psych web resources
http://elvers.stjoe.udayton.edu/history/miscindex.htm – Lots of links, including the histories of many departments of psychology
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/Mind/Table.html – History of psychology from Descartes to William James
http://www.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/personal/faculty/kornfeld/frames.htm – unofficial Schultz and Schultz history of psych homepage (based on a very widely used history of psych textbook)
Primary source websites
http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/ – Classics in the History of Psychology homepage – links to original articles
http://www.usca.edu/psychology/history/histor~1.html – Primary source e-texts in the history of psychology (ancient times, Medieval times, Renaissance, early 20th C)
History of Psychology organizations/journals
http://people.stu.ca/~cheiron/ -- Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences
http://www.WPI.EDU/~histpsy/toc.html – History of Psychology journal table of contents
http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/james.html – William James website
http://plaza.interport.net/nypsan/freudarc.html – Sigmund Freud archives homepage
http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/women.html – Women in the history of the social sciences
Below are the guidelines I follow when assigning grades to papers. I use
plusses and minuses when the work falls in between the qualities associated
with each letter grade. Grades are based both on content and on writing style.
I encourage you to ask for help from me, the
"A" grades are assigned to outstanding papers. These papers reflect a deep engagement with ideas, insightful analysis, and excellent mastery of the material. Argumentation is logical and coherent, as well as well-documented. The paper addresses all aspects of the assignment fully and clearly. Finally, these "A" papers are well-written with respect to style and grammar.
"B" grades are assigned to papers that demonstrate good mastery of the material, are coherently written, and that contain some insightful ideas. Sometimes "B" papers contain some really good ideas, but do not carry out arguments as elegantly as they could. Other times all of the aspects of the assignment are there, but the ideas are not particularly innovative.
"C" grades are given to papers that do not adequately cover the assignment, demonstrate that the material was not fully understood, and/or have problems with writing style. Sometimes "C" papers have some really good parts, mixed in with some parts that seem like they were not well-thought out. Papers with consistent grammatical or stylistic problems may receive a "C."
"D" grades are assigned to papers that have serious problems – parts of the assignment are totally missing or are really incomplete, the writing is full of errors, the material was seriously misunderstood.
"NC" grades are hardly ever given if a student has put even some work into the paper/essay. However, if the content is totally irrelevant, or the writing is such that it is simply impossible for me to follow the arguments, then I would assign a failing grade.