Every month I share the most interesting articles I’ve come across while writing about the history of psychology.
This month, you’ll find everything from the birthplace of psychoanalysis in America — hint: it’s not New York City — to the founder of cognitive psychology to an entire series on mental illness and last rites.
Let’s get started…
Did you know that psychoanalysis was born in Baltimore? According to writer and psychoanalyst Mikita Brottman in this fascinating article, a group of physicians established an American branch of the Psychoanalytic Association in Baltimore after seeing Freud’s famous 1909 lecture.
Brottman introduces readers to several of the key players of psychoanalysis in Baltimore. She discusses psychiatrist Trigant Burrow, who founded group therapy and played an influential role in psychoanalysis at the time; and author and social critic Robert Lindner, who wrote the book Rebel Without A Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath.
German-born Ulric Neisser was an American psychologist and the founder of cognitive psychology. The New York Times recently published his obituary, which goes into some detail about his work and personal life.
Also, one of my favorite blogs, Mind Hacks, includes an interesting insight about Neisser’s 1976 book Cognition and Reality, which criticized the very field he founded.
History of Psychology podcasts
Another one of my favorite blogs, Advances in the History of Psychology, recently announced a new series of podcasts about various topics in the history of psychology. In the first episode, historians explore the history of lunatic asylums in the 19th century.
C. James Goodwin, Ph.D, a professor at Western Carolina University, explores the use of mazes in psychological research in this Monitor on Psychology piece. Some researchers viewed mazes as the key to psychological knowledge.
Goodwin cites an interesting quote from neobehaviorist Edward Chace Tolman, Ph.D, in his 1937 APA presidential address: “Everything important in psychology… can be investigated in essence through the continued experimental and theoretical analysis of the determinants of rat behavior at a choice-point in a maze.”
“Lunacy’s Last Rites: Dying Insane in Britain, c. 1629 to 1939”
The History of Psychiatry journal just published a special issue with the above title, which looks at everything from cultural perceptions of funerals to death by suicide to perspectives on passing away in the asylums. Unfortunately, there’s no free access. (If you can get your hands on it, I’m jealous.)
But the blog H-Madness does include all the abstracts in this post. And it’s very fascinating stuff.