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History of the History of Psychology  

Adrian C. Brock

Reflexivity has been a common theme in the literature on the history of psychology in recent years. Reflecting on the history of psychology is for historians of psychology the ultimate reflexive step. Germany is widely regarded as the homeland of “modern” or “scientific” psychology. It is here that the oldest surviving work with the word “psychology” in the title was published in 1590. It was also here that the first book with the title History of Psychology [Geschichte der Psychologie] was published in 1808. This reflects the fact that a substantial literature on psychology had already been published in Continental Europe by the end of the 18th century. Several other works on the history of psychology were published in German-speaking countries in the 19th century and in the years leading up to the First World War. English-speaking countries were relatively late in adopting psychology, but it grew rapidly in the United States when it was adopted, and the country was already the dominant power in the field by the outbreak of the First World War. Several works on the history of psychology were published in the United States around the same time, suggesting that disciplines and disciplinary history tend to appear simultaneously. This is because disciplines use their history to create a distinct identity for themselves. The history of psychology was widely taught in American psychology departments, and several textbooks were published to support these courses. E. G. Boring’s A History of Experimental Psychology (1929, 1950) was by far the most influential of these textbooks, and it has profoundly shaped the understanding of psychologists of the history of their field. For example, it was Boring who traced the history of the discipline to the establishment of Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory for experimental psychology at the University of Leipzig in 1879. In 1979–1980, was widely celebrated as the “centennial” of psychology and the XXII International Congress of Psychology was held in Leipzig to mark the occasion. Prior to the 1960s, the history of psychology was mainly a pedagogical field, and it still is as far as many psychologists are concerned. However, it also became an area of specialization during this decade. This was partly due to a few psychologists adopting it as their main area of interest and partly due to historians of science becoming more interested in the field. A large body of scholarly literature has been produced, including some scholarly textbooks, but this literature exists side by side with more traditional textbooks for which there is still a significant demand. There are signs that the history of psychology has been facing difficulties as a branch of psychology in Europe and North America in recent years. However, interest in the field has been growing among psychologists in other parts of the world and among historians of science. This situation will inevitably have implications for the content of the field.


The History of Personnel and Vocational Testing  

Michael J. Zickar

Personnel and vocational testing has made a huge impact in public and private organizations by helping organizations choose the best employees for a particular job (personnel testing) and helping individuals choose occupations for which they are best suited (vocational testing). The history of personnel and vocational testing is one in which scientific advances were influenced by historical and technological developments. The first systematic efforts at personnel and vocational testing began during World War I when the US military needed techniques to sort through a large number of applicants in a short amount of time. Techniques of psychological testing had just begun to be developed at around the turn of the 20th century and those techniques were quickly applied to the US military effort. After the war, intelligence and personality tests were used by business organizations to help choose applicants most likely to succeed in their organizations. In addition, when the Great Depression occurred, vocational interest tests were used by government organizations to help the unemployed choose occupations that they might best succeed in. The development of personnel and vocational tests was greatly influenced by the developing techniques of psychometric theory as well as general statistical theory. From the 1930s onward, significant advances in reliability and validity theory provided a framework for test developers to be able to develop tests and validate them. In addition, the civil rights movement within the United States, and particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forced test developers to develop standards and procedures to justify test usage. This legislation and subsequent court cases ensured that psychologists would need to be involved deeply in personnel testing. Finally, testing in the 1990s onward was greatly influenced by technological advances. Computerization helped standardize administration and scoring of tests as well as opening up the possibility for multimedia item formats. The introduction of the internet and web-based testing also provided additional challenges and opportunities.


The Concept of Crisis in the History of Western Psychology  

Martin Wieser

With roots that range from medicine to politics, to jurisdiction and historiography in ancient Greece, the concept of “crisis” played an eminent role in the founding years of Western academic psychology and continued to be relevant during its development in the 19th and 20th century. “Crisis” conveys the idea of an imminent danger of disintegration and breakdown, as well as a pivotal turning point with the chance of a new beginning. To this day, both levels of meaning are present in psychological discourses. Early diagnoses of a state of “crisis” of psychology date back to the end of the 19th century and focused on the question of the correct metaphysical foundation of psychology. During the interwar period, warnings of a disintegration of the discipline reached their first climax in German academia, when many eminent psychologists expressed their worries about the increasing fragmentation of the discipline. The rise of totalitarian systems in the 1930s brought an end to these debates, silencing the theoretical polyphony with physical violence. The 1960s saw a resurgence of “crisis literature” and the emergence of a more positive connotation of the concept in U.S.-American experimental psychology, when it was connected with Thomas Kuhn’s ideas of scientific “revolutions” and “paradigm shifts.” Since that time, psychological crisis literature has revolved around the question of unity, disunity, and the scientific status of the discipline. Although psychological crisis literature showed little success in solving the fundamental problems it addressed, it still provides one of the most theoretically rich and thought-provoking bodies of knowledge for theoretical and historical analyses of the discipline.


Psychological Knowledge in Brazilian Culture  

Marina Massimi

There are several aspects of the history of psychological knowledge in Brazilian culture for the period between the 16th and 18th centuries, some of which highlight the process of the transmission and the reception of the European framework. Cultural history methods can be used, organizing the sources by literary genres. Sources analyzed can include philosophical treatises, letters, sermons, and allegorical novels. The Conimbricenses treatises (a set of books brought in the baggage by the missionaries of the Society of Jesus in Brazil) synthesize the philosophical psychology of the Aristotelian-Thomist and Augustinian framework and propose a systematic work of ordering psychic experiences in order to make them a constructive factor of the integral development of the person. The letters are the oldest written documents in Brazil, from the beginning of the 16th century; the quantitatively more consistent epistolary correspondence sent from colonial Brazil to Europe is that of the Jesuits, from their arrival in 1549, with the mission of evangelizing the indigenous people and assisting the colonists. The letters’ authors observed and described psychological experiences from their own experience and from the experience of the indigenous peoples, from the perspective of the knowledge at their disposal. Concepts, practices, and beliefs of the classical, medieval, and Western Renaissance tradition, aimed at changing the habits and mentality of individuals and social groups, were communicated to the Brazilian populations through sermons. All the dimensions of psychic dynamism proposed and acting in the genre of sacred oratory function in relation to the transcendent objects. The psyche was conceived as integrated to the totality of the personal dynamism: the psyche mediated between body and spirit, and this interrelation could be promoted by the preacher’s word. The sacred oratory became a veritable laboratory of the efficacy of the word to care for and heal the imbalances of the person’s psychic apparatus. The concept of human life as a pilgrimage is the plot of two important sources elaborated in colonial Brazil, inscribed in the genre of the allegorical novel História do Predestinado Peregrino e de seu irmão Precito written by Father Alexandre de Gusmão of Bahia and Compêndio narrativo do Peregrino de América(1728) written by Nuno Marques Pereira. Within the scope of the view of the homo viator, the function of the psychic dynamism was delineated and the psychological knowledge proposed by the two novels constructed. What is the relevance of this knowledge for the Brazilian culture of the present? The collective memory of the constituent cultural subjects of Brazilian society is the great cradle transmitting the psychological knowledge elaborated, received, and appropriated. Psychic dynamism plays a fundamental role, configuring a certain way of being, where differences, like threads in the loom, are composed, coupled, and intertwined.


The History of Psychological Psychotherapy in Germany: The Rise of Psychology in Mental Health Care and the Emergence of Clinical Psychology During the 20th Century  

Lisa Malich

Two different but related developments played an important role in the history of psychologists in the fields of mental health care in Germany during the 20th century. The first development took place in the field of applied psychology, which saw psychological professionals perform mental testing, engage in counseling and increasingly, in psychotherapy in practical contexts. This process slowly began in the first decades of the 20th century and included approaches from different schools of psychotherapy. The second relevant development was the emergence of clinical psychology as an academic sub-discipline of psychology. Having become institutionalized in psychology departments at German universities during the 1960s and 1970s, clinical psychology often defines itself as a natural science and almost exclusively focuses on cognitive-behavioral approaches. There are four phases of the growing relationship between psychology and psychotherapy in Germany in which the two developments were increasingly linked: first, the entry of psychology into psychiatric and psychotherapeutic fields from approximately 1900 until 1945; second, the rise of psychological psychotherapy and the emergence of clinical psychology after World War II until 1972, when the diploma-regulations in West Germany were revised; third, a phase of consolidation and diversification from 1973 until the pivotal psychotherapy law of 1999; and fourth, the shifting equilibrium as established profession and discipline up to the reform of the psychotherapy law in 2019. Overall, the emergence of psychological psychotherapy has not one single trajectory but rather multiple origins in the different and competing academic and professional fields of mental health care.


History of Social Psychology  

Andrew Ward

Social psychology represents a scientific approach that fosters advances in both theory and practical application designed to understand and enhance interactions among individuals and groups.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp)  

Anthony P. Morrison and Lisa J. Wood

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological therapy that has been shown to have small to medium effects in improving outcomes for people experiencing psychosis. CBT’s theoretical model, drawing together cognitive and behavioral theories, outlines that it is the appraisal and response to an event which maintains distress rather than the event itself. CBT for psychosis (CBTp) specifically aims to modify appraisals and responses to psychotic experiences in order to reduce distress. CBTp has a substantial evidence base and is the most frequently offered psychological treatment for psychosis. There have been significant advancements in the field, with process-oriented therapies and digital interventions showing promise; however, more large-scale trials are required. Moreover, service users report positive experiences with CBTp and value the normalizing therapeutic relationship, improved personal understanding, and acquisition of new coping strategies. Improving dissemination and adapting CBTp so that it is appropriate for all populations is an ongoing priority for future research. Moreover, the evidence base requires more user-centered research to ensure CBTp is meeting the needs of service users.


History of Spanish Psychology, 1800–2000  

Javier Bandrés

In the history of Spanish psychology in the 19th century, three stages can be distinguished. An eclectic first stage was defined by the coexistence of currents such as spiritualism, sensism, ideology, and common-sense realism. Jaime Balmes was the most prominent and original author, integrating empiricism and associationism in the Spanish tradition of common-sense philosophy. The second stage was characterized by the influence of Krausism, a version of German rationalist pantheism imported by Julián Sanz del Río, that reached great acceptance during the 1860s and 1870s among intellectuals opposed to traditional Catholicism. The third stage began in the late 1870s: the reception, adaptation, development, and debate of the “new psychology” flowing from Germany, Great Britain, and France. A group of neo-Kantian intellectuals led by Cuban José del Perojo, a disciple of Kuno Fischer, introduced and popularized experimental psychology and comparative psychology in Spain. His project was vigorously seconded in Cuba by Enrique José Varona, author of the first Spanish manual of experimental psychology. In this path, the Marxist psychiatrist and intellectual Jaime Vera promoted in Madrid a materialistic view of psychology, and his colleague and friend Luis Simarro won the first university chair of Experimental Psychology, fostering a school of psychologists oriented toward experimental science. In turn, the publication in 1879 of the papal encyclical Aeterni Patris stimulated the development of a Spanish neoscholastic scientific psychology, developed under the influence of Cardinal Mercier of the Catholic University of Louvain. Authors such as Zeferino González, Marcelino Arnáiz, and Alberto Gómez Izquierdo broke with the anti-modern tradition of the Spanish Church and developed an experimental psychology within the Aristotelian-Thomistic framework. In the first three decades of the 20th century, applied psychology expanded radically, linked to a period of strong socioeconomic growth. Abnormal and educational psychology developed vigorously, and Spanish psychotechnics, led by José Germain in Madrid and Emilio Mira in Barcelona, was at the forefront of European science. In 1936 the Spanish Civil War imposed a bloody parenthesis to the economic and scientific development of the country. In the postwar period, the psychiatrist Antonio Vallejo-Nágera and his group tried to manipulate psychological research to legitimize some of general Franco's policies. Simultaneously, two neoscholastic scholars, Manuel Barbado and Juan Zaragüeta, supervised the recovery and scientific development of Spanish psychology through institutions such as the Department of Experimental Psychology of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, the National Institute of Psychotechnics, and the School of Applied Psychology and Psychotechnics of the University of Madrid. José Germain was chosen to direct and guide these projects, and a new generation of academic psychologists was formed: Mariano Yela, José Luis Pinillos, and Miguel Siguán, among others. The economic expansion of the 1960s and 1970s and the end of Franco’s dictatorship produced a huge development of academic and professional psychology, with Spanish psychology becoming positively integrated into Western science. On the other side of the Atlantic, the psychology of liberation developed by Ignacio Martín-Baró in El Salvador promoted the theoretical and methodological renewal of Latin American psychology.


Psychoanalysis in Argentina  

Hugo Klappenbach, Antonio Gentile, Fernando Ferrari, and Hernan Scholten

Psychoanalysis in Argentina has been established as a profession since the foundation of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association (1942), and the perspective of Melanie Klein initially predominated. Before that institutional event, Freud’s theories were considered in a more far-reaching and less homogeneous intellectual and medical field. At the beginning of the 20th century, Freud’s first readers in Argentina were strongly influenced by French culture and science. Although the initial mention of Freud’s work was by a Chilean doctor, Germán Greve, intellectuals such as José Ingenieros or Enrique Mouchet also read him from a critical perspective. In the 1950s and 1960s, consolidated psychoanalytic institutional spaces had been developed in Buenos Aires, while in the other provinces there was still the gestation of the institutional field that would allow the specific training of psychoanalysts. In two of the most important cities, Córdoba and Rosario, psychoanalysis was adopted by a group of intellectuals, physicians, and judges linked to the University Reform movement. Deodoro Roca, Jorge Orgaz, Saúl Taborda, Juan Filloy, and Gregorio Bermann adopted the Viennese theories, albeit from different perspectives. In Rosario, the figure of Pizarro Crespo not only integrated Freud’s ideas into a psychosomatic perspective, but, in an unsuspected way, constitutes the first reference to Jacques Lacan’s work in Argentina. Toward the 1960s, the creation of undergraduate psychology programs was marked by the presence of notable teachers linked to psychoanalysis. Around the same time, a new paradigm was introduced into psychoanalysis: Lacanianism. Within the framework of the reception of structuralism, the theories of Louis Althusser and the first discussions of Lacan’s teaching began to spread. This new paradigm had a decisive impact on different professional fields and varying social sciences in the country. While Oscar Masotta became one of the main disseminators of Lacan in Buenos Aires, Raúl Sciarretta and Rafael Paz were more relevant in other provinces of the country, particularly in the cities of Córdoba, Rosario, and Tucumán, cities where the institutionalization of psychoanalysis was strengthened from the 1970s onwards.


Reflexivity and the History of Psychology  

Jill Morawski

Reflexivity, a recursive process of turning back, occurs throughout science. Back-and-forth reflexive processes transpire when the scientist executes self-regard and whenever human science theory incorporates the researcher’s actions. Reflexive processes occur too in the myriad, unavoidable ways that observations of the world depend on scientists’ prior understandings of the world. The multiple forms and complexities of reflexivity pose challenges for all science, yet the challenges are especially pronounced in a science, like psychology, that generates knowledge about human nature. Confronting reflexivity is further impeded by psychology’s markedly scientific (not human scientific) goals to achieve objectivity and value neutrality, and to maintain naturalist assumptions about reality. Yet over the lifespan of scientific psychology some psychologists have faced these challenges and recommended means to acknowledge reflexivity. Their investigations have located, named, and analyzed a set of fallacies associated with disregarding reflexivity. The fallacies include assuming that the psychologist’s conception of cognitive processes are the same as their subject’s; that the psychologist can fully bracket their presuppositions from their observations; that psychological theories need not be relevant to their own scientific thoughts and behaviors; that psychology’s prescribed language for reporting findings accurately describes the phenomenon under investigation; and that psychological knowledge has no consequential effects on the world it predicts and explains. Addressing such fallacies and taking steps to remove them through sustained reflexive awareness is essential to attaining an empirically robust, veridical, and dynamic science. Taken together, the efforts of psychologists who have faced reflexivity and the fallacies related to its denial comprise a productive working template for developing a science that benefits from engaging with reflexive processes instead of disregarding them.


The History of the Concept Adult and Research Regarding Adult Development  

Carol Hoare

The history of concepts about the adult and that of research into adult constructs show progression from a simple characterization of growth to a variety of complex constructs that define the terrain. Originally, the term adult encompassed all species and events that had attained full physical maturation, a product connotation. Later, time and events (e.g., marriage, the birth of children) became proxies for adult development. The absence of considerations of adult development was augmented by the fact that, for much of the past, adults could not be seen in long-term individual evolution since lifetimes were not extensive. In the 73 years of Psychological Abstracts, adults under various headings (e.g., adulthood, middle age) was referenced in a mere .01% of citations. The first mention of “adult” in a journal title was in 1994. Into the 21st century, although the exploration of various adult constructs abounds, the use of single terms (e.g., intelligence, wisdom) to describe multidimensional attributes leads to misunderstanding and reductionism. There is scant cross-construct analysis and, along with its parent discipline of psychology, analysis of adult development remains at the nascent descriptive level. Looking at the two major constructs of adult personality and intelligence, personality has had the lion’s share of publications. An examination of trends in its analysis reveals that the constructs are defined in various ways, little in the way of socio-contextual appraisal has occurred, and, with respect to the appraisal of intelligence, motivation to perform is ill-examined.


Indigenization of Behavior Analysis in Brazil  

Rodrigo Lopes Miranda, Jaqueline Andrade Torres, Roberta Garcia Alves, and Sérgio Dias Cirino

Recently, theoretical and methodological contributions to the history of sciences have promoted worldwide interest in the circulation and appropriation of scientific knowledge and objects. Throughout the history of psychology, similar contributions have attempted to clarify the polycentric history of the field. Of special note in the history of behavior analysis, there has been growing interest in its past development in several countries. In this context, historians dedicated to psychology in South America are particularly interested in the paths followed by behaviorisms in the region. Aspects of the indigenization of behavior analysis in Brazil are analyzed between 1960 and 1980, a country in which this theory had a substantial impact in the field of psychology. The authors argue that behavior analysis was indigenized as a “technology” derived from psychology rather than from a theoretical and methodological perspective during that period. By presenting this thesis, the authors posit that protagonists of indigenization were more attached to the experimental discourse of psychology and the creation of a “scientific” psychology capable of attending to specific social demands (e.g., education) rather than the development of the theory itself. Through this work, an active appropriation is demonstrated of behavior analysis by Brazilians who were committed to behavior modification as a technology for solving social demands.


History of Feminist Psychology at the University of Vienna, 1984–2000  

Vera Luckgei, Nora Ruck, and Thomas Slunecko

Feminist psychological knowledge production has flourished in the German-speaking countries since the late 1970s. But, in contrast to countries like the United States, Canada, or Great Britain, it only gained finite traction in the academy. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the so-called “project phase” of the second wave women’s movement saw the founding of counseling centers for women in Vienna and all over Austria. During the mid-1980s, students at the University of Vienna started recruiting feminist psychologists from the feminist counseling center Frauen beraten Frauen to teach courses on the psychology of women. From the mid-1980s until 2000, the Department of Psychology at the University of Vienna offered an unusually high number of courses in the psychology of women (up to ten seminars per semester and about 200 in total), turning the department into an unofficial and temporary teaching hub for feminist psychology. With 14 courses on the psychology of women, the academic year 1987/1988 marks the apogee of feminist psychological teaching by adjunct lecturers at the Department of Psychology. During the 1990s, it was again students who fought for and succeeded in having several guest professors in the psychology of women appointed at the Department of Psychology. This pinnacle period for the interrelation of feminist teaching and research saw not only the development of new didactic methods but also some continuity in the collaboration of a guest professor, adjunct lecturers, and students as well as a plethora of feminist psychological theses written by students.


Ever-Emerging Theories of Aging  

W. Andrew Achenbaum

Edmund V. Cowdry’s Problems of Ageing (1939), the first U.S. handbook in gerontology, spurred efforts to systematize and communicate data and hypotheses in a “discouragingly difficult field,” as one of the volume’s contributors put it. Researchers, educators, and practitioners subsequently published handbooks of aging to share basic concepts, norms, and metaphors—and eventually to construct theories. Compared to theoretical constructs that animate African American studies, paradigms that inform inquiries into sex and gender, and queer theory-building, research on aging is sustained by few evidence-based, methodologically robust, heuristic theories. No single construct yet seizes the gerontological imagination. Analyzing notable handbooks reveals that the modern history of ever-emerging gerontological theory building went through three phases. First, attempts to formulate Big Theories of Aging resulted in more disappointments than scientific advances. In the second phase, researchers on aging set more modest aims, often giving priority to methodological innovation, but failed to promote consilience in a data-rich, theory-poor arena. Psychological theories, pertaining to lifespan development, merit special attention in the third phase, because they proved useful to biomedical and social scientists doing research on aging.


Transformative-Activist and Social Justice Approaches to the History of Psychology  

Anna Stetsenko

The history of psychology is characterized by unparalleled complexity of its methodology and uniquely ambiguous subject matter closely entangled with issues of power, social justice, and ethics. This complexity requires inordinate levels of reflexivity and conceptual sophistication. In effect, a historian of psychology needs to explicate no less than one’s worldview—a broad position as to how people are situated in the world, relate to, change, and get to know it, and how knowledge develops through time—all coupled with one’s broad sociopolitical ethos. Traditional histories of psychology have operated with an astonishing lack of reflection about these issues. One of many deplorable results is that psychology still grapples with its racist and sexist legacies and lacks awareness of social injustices in existence today. The recently emerging approaches have begun to remedy this situation by focusing on situated practices of knowledge production. This article addresses how human agency can be integrated into these approaches, while focusing on knowledge production as not only situated in context but also, and critically, as a world-forming and history-making process. In tackling the shortcomings of relational approaches including social constructionism, the transformative activist stance approach draws on Marxist philosophy and epistemology—infused with insights from Vygotsky’s psychology and other critical theories of resistance. The core point is that knowledge is achieved in and through collaborative community practices realized by individually unique contributions as these come to embody and enact, in an inseparable blend, both cultural-historical contexts and unique commitments and agency of community members. The acts of being-doing-knowing are non-neutral, transformative processes that produce the world, its history and also people themselves, all realized in the process of taking up the world, rather than passively copying it or coping with it. And since reality is in-the-making by people themselves, knowing is about creating the world and knowing it in the very act of bringing about transformative and creative change. Thus, the historicity and situativity of knowledge are ascertained alongside a focus on its ineluctable fusion with an activist, future-oriented, political-ethical stance. Therefore, the critical challenge for the history of psychology is to understand producers of knowledge in their role of actors in the drama of life (rather than only of ideas), that is, as agents of history- and world-making, while also engaging in self-reflection on the historians’ own role in these processes, in order to practice history in responsive and responsible, that is, activist ways.


Research Methods in Sport and Exercise Psychology  

Sicong Liu and Gershon Tenenbaum

Research methods in sport and exercise psychology are embedded in the domain’s network of methodological assumptions, historical traditions, and research themes. Sport and exercise psychology is a unique domain that derives and integrates concepts and terminologies from both psychology and kinesiology domains. Thus, research methods used to study the main concerns and interests of sport and exercise psychology represent the domain’s intellectual properties. The main methods used in the sport and exercise psychology domain are: (a) experimental, (b) psychometric, (c) multivariate correlational, (d) meta-analytic, (e) idiosyncratic, and (f) qualitative approach. Each of these research methods tends to fulfill a distinguishable research purpose in the domain and thus enables the generation of evidence that is not readily gleaned through other methods. Although the six research methods represent a sufficient diversity of available methods in sport and exercise psychology, they must be viewed as a starting point for researchers interested in the domain. Other research methods (e.g., case study, Bayesian inferences, and psychophysiological approach) exist and bear potential to advance the domain of sport and exercise psychology.


History of Mental Disorders  

German E. Berrios and Ivana S. Marková

Writing the history of mental disorders is an unfinishable task. Each historical period is expected to write its own, and in a style designed to satisfy its own conceptual and social needs. In the 21st century such a historical account seems to be one that conceives of mental disorders as natural kinds, that is, as entities that for their meaning and ontology require to be related to a brain change. However, being aware that, after all, concepts are just instruments in the hands of humans opens up the possibility of writing a more comprehensive history of mental disorders, one based on their historical epistemology, that is, on the manner in which madness has been culturally reconfigured throughout the ages. This approach should be more fruitful in regard to finding ways of helping people with mental sufferings, a task which is about the only justification for the existence of the discipline called psychiatry.


Culture and Memory  

Brady Wagoner

Within the course of a day people perform innumerable feats of memory. They are involved in remembering when they search for their keys, find their way through a city, reminisce on episodes from their past, or join in commemorations such as independence days and religious rituals. Culture plays a crucial role in all of these mnemonic activities. Memories come into being and take form through both a set of internalized cultural conventions, specific to the society in question, as well as a particular setting therein (e.g., therapy, court of law or church). Furthermore, culture has arguably shaped how memory is understood and the uses it has been put to, as can be seen in how the concept has differed across history and societies. But what is culture and how does it operate? Although culture has been variably understood throughout history and even by researchers in the early 21st century, there is consensus that it is something that is taken over from society, rather than being innate, and transmitted across generations with modifications. In psychology it is typically operationalized in two ways: In cross-cultural psychology it is something one belongs in (usually a national group) as a function of language, traditions, and geo-political borders, while in cultural psychology it is approached as a psychological tool that shapes and enables memory. Taking account of culture provides an opening to investigate memory socialization, setting specificity, and collective remembering.


Melancholia and Depression  

Åsa Jansson

Depression is defined in diagnostic literature as a mood disorder characterized by depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, significant changes in weight, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal ideation and/or attempts. Research suggests a link between depressed mood and monoamine depletion, elevated cortisol, and inflammation, but existing laboratory evidence is inconclusive. Current treatments for depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and lifestyle changes; however, more severe forms of the disorder can require other medication, sometimes in combination with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Disagreement persists over how to define and classify depression, in part due to its ambivalent relationship to melancholia, which has existed as a medical concept in different forms since antiquity. Melancholia was reconfigured in 19th-century medicine from traditional melancholy madness into a modern mood disorder. In the early 20th century, melancholia gradually fell out of use as a diagnostic term with the introduction of manic-depressive insanity and unipolar depression. Following the publication of DSM-III in 1980 and the introduction of SSRIs a few years later, major depressive disorder became ubiquitous. Consumption of antidepressants have continued to rise year after year, and the World Health Organization notes depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide. At present, internationally recognized systems of classification favor a single category for depressive illness (alongside a circular mood disorder, bipolar I and II), but this view is challenged by clinicians and researchers who argue for the reinstatement of melancholia as a separate and distinct mood disorder with marked somatic and psychotic features.


Hypnotism and Suggestion: A Historical Perspective  

Peter Lamont

Franz Anton Mesmer’s theory of “animal magnetism” proposed that living organisms possess an invisible magnetic fluid, which can be influenced by a “magnetizer” and, by doing so, a variety of illnesses can be cured. Contemporaries, such as the Marquis de Puysegur, took a more psychological view, claiming that a state of “artificial somnambulism” could be induced, through which alternate states of consciousness, and clairvoyant powers, could be exhibited. Public demonstrations of mesmeric phenomena, from insensibility to pain to clairvoyance, convinced many that there was something to it, whether as a medical tool or, perhaps, as evidence of supernatural powers. The distinction between mesmerism and hypnotism, made explicit in the writings of James Braid, distinguished between such phenomena, attributing the latter to fraud, and the former to suggestion. With the decline of mesmerism, facilitated in part by Braid’s theory and the introduction of chemical anesthesia, the more extraordinary phenomena of mesmerism, and the concept of a mysterious force, became part of the spiritualist and mind-cure movements, and the basis of psychical research. In the last quarter of the 19th century, a revival of scientific interest in hypnotism in France led to a dispute between two schools of thought: in Paris, hypnosis was explained in terms of an inherited pathological disposition; in Nancy, it was regarded as a normal process, and the product of suggestion. Hypnosis was used to explore the “dissociation” of personality and “sub-conscious” processes, provoking various theories about alternate selves in the normal and abnormal mind. At the turn of the 20th century, while clinical interest continued, experimental interest turned to the concepts of suggestion and suggestibility, which had practical educational, political, legal, and commercial relevance. A new line of hypnosis research, based on experimental, quantitative methods with normal subjects, began in the United States in the 1920s, and concluded that hypnosis was nothing more than suggestion. In the second half of the century, renewed scientific interest led to competing theories that explained hypnosis either in terms of a hypnotic state or else in terms of social roles. The dispute between “state” and “no state” theories was accompanied by a debate over the existence of a stable individual trait that might explain individual differences in hypnotizability. Meanwhile, as the effects of social influence became a significant topic of study, the implications for psychology experiments were considered in terms of “demand characteristics” and “experimenter effects.” In the last quarter of the 20th century, there was significant interest in legal issues relating to hypnosis, particularly concerning “recovered memory,” and the accusation that false memories and multiple personalities were the product of suggestion. As debates about the nature of hypnosis continue, the descendants of mesmerism, from “anomalous cognition” to “social priming,” which provoked recent debates about the limits of psychological methods, demonstrate the ongoing relevance of studying the boundaries of the mind.