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5 Must-Reads on the History of Psychology

5 Must-Reads on the History of PsychologyLast month I shared with you four must-read pieces (and a podcast), which included the history of Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric wing, the surgical procedure known as the lobotomy, the first child diagnosed with autism and the often-neglected group of female psychologists.

This month, I’m sharing five more fascinating links that delve into the history of psychology.

1. Psychology instruments.

This link from the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology discusses the various instruments psychologists employed in their labs. (And there are photos, of course!)

There’s everything from an apparatus that was used to detect color blindness to a German-made “spectroscope” that tested threshold determinations to the “ergograph,” which examined muscle contraction, strength, fatigue and endurance.

2. The Story of a Mental Hospital: Fulbourn, 1858-1983.

Most of us are familiar with the brutal conditions of mental hospitals both in the U.S. and abroad. But we might be less familiar with the institutions that truly cared about their patients and offered effective and enlightened practices.

This is the account of David H. Clark, who served as the Medical Superintendent of Fulbourn Hospital for many years and later became its senior consultant psychiatrist. Fulbourn Hospital was internationally known for its pioneering practices.

3. A Brief History of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

This is an older page written by a professor at Middle Tennessee State University. But it still provides an interesting timeline of I/O psychology, from its early years to the 1980s and 1990s.

4. This Week in the History of Psychology.

This free podcast series is hosted by Christopher Green, a professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. It’s filled with interesting topics!

You’ll hear interviews about everything from Stanley Milgram’s infamous shock experiments to the first female president of the American Psychological Association to the controversial psychologist Raymond B. Cattell to Freud’s only trip to the U.S.

5. Bedlam at the Museum of London.

Years ago, the Museum of London featured an exhibit that explored the rich history of Bethlem Royal Hospital, which you probably know better by its other name: Bedlam.

According to the website, “Bethlem is the world’s oldest institution caring for people with mental disorders. It has been a part of London since 1247 and many people, rich and poor, have played a part in its history.” There’s not much information, but it still offers fascinating tidbits about the hospital and photographs of past patients.

(I found many of these links through this helpful website.)

?What have you read lately about the history of psychology?
What are your favorite websites or books?

5 Must-Reads on the History of Psychology

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor and regular contributor at Psych Central. Her Master's degree is in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. In addition to writing about mental disorders, she blogs regularly about body and self-image issues on her Psych Central blog, Weightless.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). 5 Must-Reads on the History of Psychology. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 12 Jan 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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