It’s been a while since I’ve shared my favorite posts on the history of psychology. So let’s dig right in.
This month we’ve got pieces on everything from infamous psychology cases to a radical anti-psychiatry experiment to life in a high-security psychiatric hospital to the passing of one of psychiatry’s greatest critics.
“Psychology’s Tall Tales”
If you’ve ever taken an intro psychology course, you know about Phineas Gage and Kitty Genovese. Both individuals – and their compelling stories – have been used to illustrate some of psychology’s most recognized theories.
After an iron rod tore through his skill, Phineas Gage supposedly became a different man – an uninhibited, surly alcoholic who couldn’t hold down a job. His case provided convincing evidence that our frontal lobes play a pivotal role in personality and judgment.
Kitty Genovese’s murder was used to substantiate the bystander effect. This phenomenon occurs when the presence of other people prevents them from stepping in and helping in an emergency situation.
But were these cases truly solid evidence? In this piece in APA’s gradPSYCH magazine, writer Beryl Lieff Benderly takes a look at what really happened in these infamous stories. I bet this wasn’t covered in your psychology textbook.