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Aaron Beck and the History of Cognitive Therapy  

Steven D. Hollon

Cognitive theory posits that how one interprets an event determines how one feels about it and what one will try to do to cope with it. It further suggests that inaccurate beliefs and maladaptive information processing lie at the core of most disorders. Cognitive therapy seeks to reduce distress and relieve dysfunction by teaching patients to examine the accuracy of their beliefs and to use their own behaviors to test their validity. The history of cognitive therapy is in essence a tale of two cities and one institute. Aaron Beck, the progenitor of the approach, did his original work in Philadelphia focused largely on depression before he expanded to other disorders. He spent time subsequently at Oxford University at the invitation of department chair Michael Gelder, whose young protégés David Clark and Paul Salkovskis refined the cognitive model for the anxiety disorders and supercharged their treatment. Anke Ehlers, who extended the model to posttraumatic stress, joined them in the 1990s before all three decamped for the Institute of Psychiatry in London, only to return a decade later. Jack Rachman at the Institute was an early mentor who commissioned conceptual treatises from all three. Chris Fairburn, who stayed at Oxford, developed a cognitive behavioral treatment for the eating disorders that focuses on changing beliefs, and Daniel Freeman from the Institute joined in 2011 with an emphasis on schizophrenia. Cognitive therapy has had a major impact on treatment in the United States but even more so in the United Kingdom, where it reigns supreme. Cognitive therapy encourages patients to use their own behaviors to test their beliefs but keeps its focus squarely on those beliefs as the key mechanism to be changed. It is one of the most efficacious and enduring treatments for the various psychiatric disorders.


A Historical View on Attitudes and Persuasion  

Pablo Briñol, Richard E. Petty, and Joshua J Guyer

The history of attitudes research can be organized into three main sections covering attitude definition and measurement, attitude-behavior relationships, and attitude change. First, an evaluation of the history of attitude measurement reveals three relatively distinct phases: an early phase in which the classic direct self-report procedures were developed, a middle phase focused on “indirect” assessment devices, and a modern phase in which various measures designed to capture people’s automatic or “implicit” attitudes have flourished. Second, the history of attitude-behavior correspondence can be organized also around three broad themes: an early period in which the presumed close association between attitudes and behaviors was largely an article of faith; a middle period in which some researchers concluded that little, if any, relationship existed between measures of attitudes and overt behaviors; and a more recent period in which the resolution of prior issues stimulated an explosion of research focused on identifying the moderators and psychological mechanisms responsible for attitude-behavior correspondence. Finally, the history of research and ideas regarding attitude change and persuasion can be organized around several prominent theories focused on distinct single processes, dual processes, or multiple processes, each of which are still used by contemporary attitudes researchers.


A History of Pavlovian Science  

Gabriel Ruiz and Natividad Sánchez

Transnational historiography, which emerged in the 1990s, covers historical phenomena that transcend the boundaries of the nation-state, analyzing the processes of circulation, transformation and hybridization of scientific ideas and practices across national frontiers. When scientific knowledge flows between different countries, the ideas that emerge in one particular national context adapt to the new local contexts of their hosts, with their particular cultural, social, political and scientific traditions. In psychology, the transnational approach provides a productive theoretical framework capable of going beyond the traditional US-centered perspective that has dominated the historiography of psychology since the mid-20th century. This US-based historiography has, for example, interpreted the historical influence of I. P. Pavlov in terms of two main factors: his methodological contribution—the conditioned reflex—and the existence of a behaviorist tradition in the receptor psychology community. However, a more global analysis questions the need for these two elements and, at the same time, offers insights into the conditions that facilitated or hindered the flow of Pavlovian science beyond the United States. Thus, for example, between 1903 and 1970 the dissemination and appropriation of the Pavlovian science of conditioned reflexes took two different routes: in America, scientific aspects and factors dominated; whereas elsewhere, politics prevailed over science. This happened in countries such as China, Cuba, and Spain, with dictatorial regimes at different ends of the political spectrum, where Pavlov’s work arrived under the auspices of government programs to modernize scientific and clinical institutions. Once Pavlov’s ideas had been introduced through reform programs in each country, they were accepted or rejected depending on whether the sign of the regime in question converged with the ideology prevailing in the Soviet Union, which it did in China and Cuba, but not in Spain. In these countries, where psychology did not have strong institutional roots and behaviorism was not a dominant approach, Pavlovian ideas found a receptive audience among health professionals-doctors, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists - keen to embrace new ideas and treatments for mental disorders. Thus, from a transnational perspective, the global repercussion of Pavlov’s ideas went far beyond the strictly methodological sphere.


A History of the Concepts of Harmony in Chinese Culture  

Louise Sundararajan

This historical overview of the concepts of harmony in Chinese culture situates the topic in the ecological context of a strong-ties society that fosters a type of rationality that privileges symmetry over asymmetry. Analysis of the discourse of harmony focuses on the texts of two native schools of thought—Confucianism and Taoism—and briefly mentions Buddhism (a religion imported from India). The modern history of harmony has just begun but is already portentous. The turbulent course of China’s rapid modernization suggests the possibility that as China transitions from a strong-ties society to the weak-ties global market, harmony may be encountering, for the first time, contradictions that defy harmonization. Whatever the future holds for the Chinese legacy of harmony, its contribution to the happiness and well-being of the individuals in their intimate relationship with self and others is likely to remain unchallenged.


Alternative Therapies: Sociodrama, Nude Therapy, Primal Scream, Psychedelic  

Erika Dyck and Emmanuel Delille

Alternative therapies are sometimes associated with non-biological approaches, or practices that do not undergo rigorous testing or produce consistently repeatable results. In the 1970s, some alternative therapies also openly embraced spiritual dimensions that directly conflicted with a Western bio-medical paradigm, placing them within a category of new age medicine, suggesting that such therapies were both eclectic and outside the boundaries of orthodox clinical care. The timing and location of these therapies reveals a particular context that gave rise to treatments seeking non-orthodox approaches, and arguably for a set of conditions that also emerged out of a Cold War context of affluence, dissatisfaction, and cultural anxiety. Some of these alternative therapies overlapped, with founders and consumers borrowing principles from different therapies to produce an approach that itself might be considered alternative to orthodox or mainstream western bio-medical practice. Situated predominantly on the American west coast, in California, these alternative therapies are illustrative of a regional culture of therapy. One, in particular, that embraced elements of radicalism alongside a collision of individualistic and collective approaches to care and responsibility. This article examines four such therapies: psychedelics, primal scream, nude therapy, and sociodrama. It is argued that beyond the inherent differences among them and their common flirtations with orthodox biomedicine, these four sets of practices are also historically significant for what they reveal about the place of psychology as a discipline after the Second World War. With each of these therapies, their history reveals a tension with psychoanalysis that attempts to redefine the relationship between the therapist and the patient. Although none of these therapies endured in their original form into the 21st century, revisiting this history offers insight into the changing state of psychotherapy in the latter half of the 20th century, and a focus on alternative therapies helps to elucidate some of the professional and cultural tensions that fuelled subsequent changes in the therapeutic landscape.


Anglo-American Psychology in the Cold War  

Marcia E. Holmes

From the end of World War II until roughly 1989, global leaders feared that cataclysmic war would break out between the world’s two superpower states, the Soviet Union and the United States. Though such a confrontation did not occur, the stalemate between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States—with its simmering fears, proxy battles, and psychological warfare—became known as the Cold War. Psychological expertise played an important role in the Cold War, especially within Western democracies like the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. In these countries, citizens tended to view the Cold War as a “battle for minds”: a fight against communist political ideology, totalitarianism, social conformity, and other threats to individual mental freedom. Anglo-American psychology flourished within this intellectual environment by finding new topics and applications for research, new sources of funding, and a new image as essential to the functioning of healthy democracy. Historians continue to debate how the Cold War influenced the field of psychology. Overall, the strategic partnership between psychology and the “military-industrial complex” was limited to certain initiatives. In some cases, Anglo-American psychologists who used their expertise to fight the Cold War were led into questionable pursuits, resulting in greater public scrutiny and even scandals for themselves and their profession. Nonetheless, the Cold War had a significant impact on Anglo-American psychology by making the relationship between psychological knowledge and democratic values a continual subject of public concern.


Animal Cognition  

Sarah Krichbaum, Adam Davila, Lucia Lazarowski, and Jeffrey S. Katz

The contemporary field of animal cognition began over 150 years ago when Charles Darwin posed questions regarding the abilities of the animal mind. Animal cognition is a science dedicated to understanding the processes and mechanisms that allow nonhumans to think and behave. The techniques that are used and the species that are studied are diverse. The historical questions originally proposed by ethologist Nikolas Tinbergen as a framework for studying animal behavior remain at the core of the field. These questions are reviewed along with the domains and methods of animal cognition with a focus on concept learning, memory, and canine cognition. Finally, ideas on how a field rich in tradition and methodological strength should proceed in the future are presented.


Animal Communication  

Michael D. Beecher

Among Darwin’s brilliant ideas was his (1871) conception of animal communication signals as adaptive characteristics of a species. The idea was subsequently taken up by the ethologists of Europe in the 1930s (Lorenz, Tinbergen, and von Frisch in particular) in their studies of animal signaling systems in nature. For many subsequent researchers, human language was the implicit model for an animal communication system. Although not expecting the same level of complexity, these researchers assumed that animal signals transmitted information from sender to receiver that was honest, and that benefitted them both. However, the honest signaling/mutual benefit view was challenged by new researchers steeped in the sociobiology and behavioral ecology movement of the 1960s. The emphasis on competition in this new field inspired these researchers to reconceive the animal signaling process as one in which the sender manipulates the receiver to the sender’s advantage. This view was challenged in turn when researchers recognized that the receiver was not a passive party in the interaction, but fully capable of manipulating the sender to its advantage. The communication interaction can be viewed as an arm’s race. The handicap principle—the idea that honesty in signaling can be maintained if signals are costly—is one way the receiver may gain an edge in this competition. Eventually, game theory considerations led to the development of a revised perspective in which signals evolve only when both the sender and the receiver benefit on average, and where signals are honest on average. Researchers examining a particular signaling system’s signals these days ask not are the signals honest, but how reliable are the signals.


Animal Learning and Cognition  

Michael J. Beran

Comparative psychology is the study of behavior and cognition across species. In recent decades, much of this research has focused on cognitive capacities that are well studied in humans. This approach provides comparative perspectives on the evolution of these cognitive capacities. Although in many areas humans shows distinct aspects of various cognitive processes, it is clear that for most major topics in human cognition, important and illustrative data are available from studies with other animals. Moreover, these areas of investigation increasingly show continuities between the behavior of other species and human behavior. Several of these cognitive processes, including concept and category learning, numerical cognition, memory, mental time travel and prospective cognition, metacognition, and language learning, highlight these continuities and demonstrate the richness of mental lives in other animals. Nonhuman animals can discriminate between categories of perceptual and conceptual classes, they can form concepts, and they can use those concepts to guide decision making and choice behavior. Other species can engage in rudimentary numerical cognition, and more importantly share with humans certain core quantitative abilities for the approximate representation of magnitude and number. Nonhuman animals share many phenomena of memory that are well-recognized in humans, and in some cases may even share the capacity to mentally re-experience the past and to anticipate and plan for the future. In some cases, some species may even reflect on their own knowledge states, memory accessibility, and perceptual acuity as they make metacognitive judgments. And, studies of animal communication provided the basis for intensive assessments of language-like behavior in certain species. Taken together, these results argue much more for continuity than discontinuity. This should not be seen as a challenge to the uniqueness of human minds, but rather as a way to better understand how we became the species we are through the process of evolution.


Attachment Theory from Ethology to the Strange Situation  

Marga Vicedo

In psychology, the term “attachment” has been made popular by British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s theory about the adaptive value of the mother–infant bond. Bowlby was not the first to use the term “attachment” or to study the significance of close emotional relationships for infants and young children. Anna Freud and other psychoanalysts had used the term to refer to the mother–child relationship. Bowlby’s views, however, departed from psychoanalysis because he appealed to the science of ethology, the biological study of behavior, for support. According to Bowlby, the mother–infant attachment has a biological basis. The operationalization of the ethological theory of attachment through the work of American- Canadian child psychologist Mary Ainsworth played a key role in the rise of the ethological theory of attachment to paradigmatic status toward the end of the 20th century. Ainsworth carried out observational studies of the attachment between mothers and infants. She also designed an experiment, the strange situation procedure (SSP), to measure and categorize attachment relationships between infants and mothers. Ainsworth and her students argued that their experimental work in the SSP supported Bowlby’s views about the instinctual nature of the child’s attachment to the mother and the importance of a secure attachment in infancy for a person’s adequate emotional development. Attachment theory has become one of psychology’s most influential theories about early child development and its impact on an individual’s subsequent emotional life and adult relationships. Supporters claim its universal validity and its prescriptive character. For them, attachment theory establishes the norm of what is considered healthy emotional and psychological childhood development, and it sets the standards for good parenting. In the Western world, attachment theory has an impact in various realms, including childcare, adoption policies, education, and therapy. Many schools of early childhood education identify children at risk for poor learning in the classroom as a result of attachment problems at home. Pediatricians often rely on attachment theory to encourage specific practices in parent–child interactions. Therapeutic approaches for children, families, and couples are sometimes based on attachment theory, as are decisions about adoption, parental rights, and child custody. Furthermore, some intervention programs in family and educational practices implemented by international NGOs rely on attachment theory. The ethological theory of attachment, however, has also been contested since its inception. Several psychologists critiqued the empirical studies about maternal deprivation on which it was erected. Other scholars challenged the notion that biological science supports its claims. Finally, numerous cross-cultural psychologists and anthropologists challenged the universality of several of its central tenets. They call for recognizing the cultural assumptions embedded in attachment theory, in the instruments and constructs used to measure it, and in the expectations it promotes about good parenting.


Biographies of a Scientific Subject: The Intelligence Test  

Annette Mülberger

The intelligence test consists of a series of exercises designed to measure intelligence. Intelligence is generally understood as mental capacity that enables a person to learn at school or, more generally, to reason, to solve problems, and to adapt to new (challenging) situations. There are many types of intelligence tests depending on the kind of person (age, profession, culture, etc.) and the way intelligence is understood. Some tests are general, others are focused on evaluating language skills, others on memory, on abstract and logical thinking, or on abilities in a wide variety of areas, such as, for example, recognizing and matching implicit visual patterns. Scores may be presented as an IQ (intelligence quotient), as a mental age, or simply as a point on a scale. Intelligence tests are instrumental in ordering, ranking, and comparing individuals and groups. The testing of intelligence started in the 19th century and became a common practice in schools and universities, psychotechnical institutions, courts, asylums, and private companies on an international level during the 20th century. It is generally assumed that the first test was designed by the French scholars A. Binet and T. Simon in 1905, but the historical link between testing and experimenting points to previous tests, such as the word association test. Testing was practiced and understood in different ways, depending not only on the time, but also on the concrete local (cultural and institutional) conditions. For example, in the United States and Brazil, testing was immediately linked to race differences and eugenic programs, while in other places, such as Spain, it was part of an attempt to detect “feebleness” and to grade students at certain schools. Since its beginning, the intelligence test received harsh criticism and triggered massive protests. The debate went through the mass media, leading to the infamous “IQ test wars.” Thus, nowadays, psychologists are aware of the inherent danger of cultural discrimination and social marginalization, and they are more careful in the promotion of intelligence testing. In order to understand the role the intelligence test plays in today’s society, it is necessary to explore its history with the help of well-documented case studies. Such studies show how the testing practice was employed in national contexts and how it was received, used, or rejected by different social groups or professionals. Current historical research adopts a more inclusive perspective, moving away from a narrative focused on the role testing played in North-America. New work has appeared that explores how testing was taking place in different national and cultural environments, such as Russia (the former Soviet Union), India, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Argentina, Chile, and many other places.


Boris Ananiev’s Theory of Self-Determination of Human Development  

Irina A. Mironenko

Ananiev’s approach shares the Activity Theory (AT) paradigm, dominant in Soviet psychology. Ananiev builds on the main fundamentals of the AT paradigm, considering psyche as a special procreation of the matter, engendered by the active interaction of the individual with the environment. The unique feature of his approach to AT is that he turned it “toward the inside,” focusing on the relation of the human individual to his own physicality, to his own bodily substrate. Ananiev sought by his intention to keep a holistic vision of a human being, considering the latter in the context of his real life, that is, the bodily substrate in its biological specificity in context of the concrete sociohistorical life course of the personality. Like no other psychologist, Ananiev did not limit his research to the sphere of narrowly defined mental phenomena. He conducted a special kind of research, labeled as “complex,” in the course of which characteristics of the same subjects: sociological, socio-psychological, mental, physiological, and psychophysiological indicators—life events of the subjects—were monitored for many years. He focused on ontogenetic development in adulthood, which he, ahead of his time, considered as a period of dynamic changes and differentiated development of functions. The focus of his attention was on individual differences in the ontogenetic development of mental and psycho-physiological functions, especially those deviations from general regularities that resulted from the impact of the life course of the individual. Individualization, the increase of individual singularity, is the main effect of human development and its measure for Ananiev. Ananiev developed a number of theoretical models and concepts. The best-known of Ananiev’s heritage is his theoretical model of human development, often named the “individuality concept.” According to this model, humans do not have any preassigned “structure of personality” or “initial harmony.” The starting point of human development is a combination of potentials—resources and reserves, biological and social. The human creates himself in the process of interaction with the world. Specialization, individually specific development of functions, appears here not as a distortion of the pre-set harmony of the whole but as the way of self-determining progressive human development. The most important practical task of psychology he viewed as psychological support and provision in the process of developing a harmonious individuality, based on the individual potentials.


Central European Psychiatry: World War I and the Interwar Period  

David Freis

During World War I, soldiers from all warring countries suffered from mental disorders caused by the strains and shocks of modern warfare. Military psychiatrists in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were initially overwhelmed by the unexpected numbers of psychiatric patients, and they soon engaged in fierce debates about the etiology and therapy of “war neuroses.” After early therapeutic approaches relying on rest and occupational therapy had failed to yield the necessary results, psychiatry faced increasing pressure by the state and the military. After 1916, the etiological debate coalesced around the diagnosis of “war hysteria,” and psychiatric treatment of war neurotics became dominated by so-called active therapies, which promised to return patients to the frontline or the war industry as quickly and efficiently as possible. War psychiatry became characterized by an unprecedented rationalization of medical treatment, which subordinated the goals of medicine to the needs of the military and the wartime economy. Brutal treatment methods and struggles over pensions led to conflicts between patients and doctors that continued after the war ended.


Cognitive Psychology During the Cold War Era, 1955–1975  

Hunter Heyck

The first 30 years after the end of World War II saw marked changes in the discipline of psychology: in ideas and institutions, problems and practices, funders and philosophies. These changes can be grouped together and described as a new, “high modern” style of psychological science, a new style grounded in a new model of “man.” This new model of “man” cast humans as fundamentally forward-looking prediction machines rather than as past-governed stimulus-response machines or creatures of habit, instinct, or drives. According to this view, the past still matters to our decision-making, but in a new way: it informs our expectations—the futures we imagine—rather than determining our behavior or saddling us with half-remembered traumas. From this perspective, we use mental representations of the world to generate predictions about future states of that world, especially states that are contingent upon our actions. Even more, we are finite prediction machines in an infinite world. Our mental representations of the world, therefore, must simplify it, and since we have neither perfect knowledge nor perfect cognitive abilities nor unlimited time, our fundamental state is one of uncertainty. We are problem-solvers that depend upon information to adapt, survive, and thrive, but we live in a world in which that information, and the time necessary to make sense of it, is expensive.


Cold War Psychology in Eastern Europe  

Julien Kiss

The Cold War took place between 1948 and 1991 and centered on the antagonism between the two great superpowers, the US and the USSR, each with its allies and areas of influence. If the US had a significant influence in the West, the USSR dominated the countries of Eastern Europe. The USSR violently imposed communist totalitarian regimes after the end of the Second World War in the countries behind the Iron Curtain: the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. The psychological traditions consolidated up to that time were in many of these countries eradicated, meaning the restructuring or abolition of higher education, the abolition of scientific societies and journals. Many psychologists with connections to the Western academic world were purged and persecuted. There was the will to build a new socialist psychology, based strictly on Marxist ideology and Pavlovian physiology. Theories or approaches that did not reflect official ideology were forbidden and labeled as bourgeois pseudoscience. Authorities severely punished psychological practice based on such theories. There were similarities between what happened in these countries, especially in the first decade of the imposition of communism. However, after the death of Joseph Stalin, things developed somewhat differently in each country. Although in some places ideological policies in science had a progressive tendency toward liberalization, in other places there was significant negative interferences throughout the communist period. Due to this diversity, it is somewhat challenging to frame the development of psychology in Eastern Europe during the Cold War from a unitary perspective.


The Continuity of Experience, From Young William James to Mature Psychologist  

Paul Croce

The story of William James (1842–1910) in the making of American psychology begins with his self-formation. His family upbringing immersed him in philosophical and religious questions, and he searched through a range of fields at Harvard University’s Lawrence Scientific School and Medical School. These contexts enabled him to connect psychology both to his scientific training and to his philosophical reflections, with use of scientific psychology to enrich his emerging understanding of the interrelation of material and immaterial dimensions of human experience. Then, during 12 years of composing The Principles of Psychology (1890), he developed psychological theories about how different people develop commitments to different philosophical orientations, and he gravitated toward theories that integrated the role of body and mind in human thought and behavior. At the end of his career, James shifted to philosophy and religious studies, and his clear and vivid writing enabled him to become a popular public intellectual. Throughout his career, James tapped the wells of his understanding of human psychology, which began with youthful curiosity about his own mind and the range of theories around him. The Principles was at once the culmination of his youthful inquiries and a platform for his later work.


Creating Subjects  

Rhodri Hayward

Self-creation has been held up as the fundamental task of modern man. We are repeatedly encouraged to discover our authentic selves or cultivate our individuality in order to win health, happiness, romantic fulfillment, or career success. It is a task that psychologists have been eager to take on, offering up competing pathways toward self-realization. At the same time, however, critical historians and sociologists have accused the discipline of psychology of fostering the creation of particular kinds of self. This article outlines debates about self-creation among psychologists and their readers from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st. It takes as its focus Western psychology and the ideas developed by its academic practitioners in laboratories and universities across Europe and North America, but it acknowledges that these ideas were often developed in dialogue with, or in reaction to, versions of the self articulated in other cultures and traditions across the globe. The opening section, “Creating Subjects and Making Selves,” discusses the ways that conventional ideas of selfhood have been challenged by developments in anthropology, philosophy, and the history of psychology, before going on to look at the ways that new religious movements and globalization challenged familiar ideas of the self in the 19th century. The first generation of professional psychologists (notably William James; see Section 2, “William James and Late 19th-Century Self Making”) recognized this challenge and used it to ground new theories of self-improvement and self-creation. These projects were deepened by the “discovery” of the subliminal or subconscious mind, which was portrayed to the public as a source of hidden potential (see Section 3, “The Subliminal: New Sources of Self-Creation”) or unconscious restrictions (see Section 4, “The New Psychology and the Discovery of Constraint”) to be unleashed or overcome. By the early 20th century, the discipline of psychology was offering manifold paths to self-creation: Behaviorism (Section 5, “Behaviorism and the Experimental Creation of Selves”), psychoanalysis (Section 6, “Psychoanalysis: New Paths to Self-Creation”), and social psychology (Section 7, “Social Psychology and the Sources of Self-Creation”). The various theories and practices put forward gained enthusiastic adherents but by the middle decades of the 20th century, this pursuit of the self was being met with growing skepticism. Existentialist philosophy (Section 8, “Selves as Prisons: Existentialism and Self-Creation”) claimed that the conventional faith in selfhood and psychology blinded people to their absolute freedom, but by the 1950s and 1960s this critique would be recuperated by psychologists, with existential analysts and humanistic psychologists celebrating the move beyond the everyday identity as a potential foundation for personal growth. At the same time, the rise of information technology and cybernetics supported the idea that the self was little more than a code or pattern of signals, encouraging the belief that it could be transformed through integration into new systems of information. At the beginning of the 21st century, the self-skepticism that had animated 19th-century schemes of self-building had become an academic commonplace. This is celebrated as a radical position, but in fact, this sense that individuals are not subjects but projects undergoing continual revision is the same sense that animates the growth of therapy and the self-help industry in the modern era.



Liane Gabora

Creativity is perhaps what most differentiates humans from other species. Understanding creativity is particularly important in times of accelerated cultural and environmental change, such as the present, in which novel approaches and perspectives are needed. The study of creativity is an exciting area that brings together many different branches of research: cognitive psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, developmental psychology, organizational psychology, clinical psychology, neuroscience, mathematical models, and computer simulations. The creative process is thought to involve the capacity to shift between divergent and convergent modes of thought in response to task demands. Divergent thought is conventionally characterized as the kind of thinking needed for open-ended tasks, and it is measured by the ability to generate multiple solutions, while convergent thought is commonly characterized as the kind of thinking needed for tasks in which there is only one correct solution. More recently, divergent thought has been conceived of as reflecting on the task from unconventional contexts or perspectives, while convergent thought has been conceived of as reflecting on it from conventional contexts or perspectives. Personality traits correlated with creativity include openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, impulsivity, and self-confidence. Evidence that creativity is linked with affective disorders is mixed. Neuroscientific research on creativity using electroencephalography (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) suggests that creativity is associated with a loosening of cognitive control and decreased arousal. It has been shown that the distributed, content-addressable structure of associative memory is conducive to bringing task-relevant items to mind without the need for explicit search. Tangible evidence of human creativity dates back to the earliest stone tools devised over three million years ago, with the Middle-Upper Paleolithic marking the onset of art, science, and religion, and another surge of creativity in the present. Past and current areas of controversy concern the relative contributions of expertise, chance, and intuition, whether the emphasis should be on process versus product, whether creativity is a domain-specific or a domain-general function, the extent to which creativity is correlated with affective disorders, and whether divergent thinking entails the generation of multiple ideas or the honing of a single initially ambiguous mental representation that may manifest as different external outputs. Promising areas for further psychological study of creativity include computational modeling, research on the biological basis of creativity, and studies that track specific creative ideation processes over time.


Decolonial Perspectives on Psychology and Development  

Glenn Adams, Annabella Osei-Tutu, and Adjeiwa Akosua Affram

Standard constructions of history pose a celebratory narrative of progress via modern individualist development. In contrast, decolonial perspectives emphasize the coloniality inherent both in Eurocentric modernity and in the individualist selfways associated with Eurocentric modernity. The coloniality of modern individualist selfways is evident not only in the racialized violence that enabled their characteristic experience of freedom from constraint, but also in the epistemic violence that results from the imposition of these ways of being as a developmental standard. Research in West African settings illuminates these forms of epistemic violence. Standard accounts tend to pathologize West African ways of being as immature or suboptimal in relation to a presumed universal developmental pathway toward psychological autonomy. A decolonial response, rooted in decolonial perspectives of Southern theory or epistemology, follows two analytic strategies that disrupt standard accounts. One strategy draws upon local understanding to illuminate the adaptive value of West African patterns. Rather than manifestations of backwardness on a trajectory of modern individualist development, these ways of being reflect developmental trajectories that emerged as an adaptation to cultural ecologies of embeddedness. The other strategy draws upon West African settings as a standpoint from which to denaturalize the modern individualist selfways that hegemonic perspectives regard as just-natural standards. Rather than naturally superior forms, the widespread promotion of modern individualist selfways has harmful consequences related to the narrow pursuit of personal fulfillment and corresponding disinvestment in broader solidarities. With the growth orientation of modern individualist development pushing the planet toward a future of ecological catastrophe, decolonial perspectives direct attention to West African and other communities in the Global South for ways of being, rooted in Other understandings of the past, as a pathway to a sustainable and just future.


Descartes’ Dualism of Mind and Body in the Development of Psychological Thought  

Deborah Brown and Brian Key

Few practitioners or researchers in psychology would think of the 17th-century French philosopher, René Descartes, as the founding father of their discipline. Yet, it is difficult to see how psychology could have emerged as a discipline in its own right without the contributions of Descartes. Descartes’ theoretical and experimental contributions to our understanding of rationality, consciousness, sensation, feeling, attention, psychological self-regulation and voluntary action, and indeed the very concept of mind that lies at the heart of his philosophy, have been pivotal to the evolution of psychology since its emergence as a special science in the 19th-century. These contributions tend to get overshadowed by the unpalatable aspects of his dualism of mind and body and his denial of animal consciousness, doctrines for which he was and still is much pilloried. However, both doctrines are relevant to understanding how from its inception the subject matter and scope of psychological investigation was framed, for underlying the Cartesian concept of mind is not one dualism but two: a dualism of mind and body and a dualism of life and mind. The mind, for Descartes, could not be theorized on its own terms without conceiving of it at least to some extent independently of the physiological processes of the human body, on the one hand, and the life functions of biological organisms, on the other. Descartes’ legacy for psychology as a discipline is thus twofold. It created the conceptual space for the concept of mind to emerge as a threshold concept in its own right, distinct from the concept of matter that defined mechanics, and it demarcated those uniquely human capacities that enabled psychology to differentiate itself from the newly emerging evolutionary biology of the 19th-century, even though it would remain more closely aligned with biology than physics thenceforth. Without both dualisms of mind and body and life and mind, it is difficult to envisage how psychology as a special science distinct from anatomy and the life sciences could have emerged, and for this the discipline of psychology owes Monsieur Descartes a considerable debt.