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-contributed by Cathy Faye.

Humor me, here, with a little Thursday quiz:  what do a Nobel Prize, Wonder Woman, and hand guns all have in common? If you guessed “psychology,” you win! Alas, I probably should have tried harder not to give away the answer in the blog title.

Another thing they have in common: they will be featured in the exhibits at the National Museum of Psychology, opening in Akron in 2018!

The new National Museum of Psychology will take up the entire first floor of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

The Museum is almost fully designed. We will soon begin fabrication of exhibits!

I’m super excited about this museum. But, when I tell my friends and family about it, they all give me this same puzzled look: what on earth is in a psychology museum?? They generally seem to think that the idea of such a museum is strange, that the history of psychology is not very interesting, or that they won’t really understand the stories inside such a museum.

Here’s the thing, though: psychology is EVERYWHERE. The achievement and intelligence tests you took in college, the way you discipline your children, the design of your cell phone keypad, the things your dog learns at obedience class. Yup, psychological ideas, research, and practice went into all of those things.

 

 

In the 1950s, psychologist Alphonse Chapanis researched telephone keypads used by telephone operators. Operators made the least errors entering numbers when numbers on the keypad were arranged in a 3 by 3 display. This finding influenced the design of the telephone keypads we use today.

 

Group testing of intelligence took off in the United States after World War I, when “psychological examiners” created and administered intelligence tests to more than 1 million recruits.

Psychologists Keller Breland and Marian Breland Bailey and biologist Robert Bailey used psychological principles of learning and behavior to train animals in the 1950s. Their work is still used in animal training today.

But psychology’s history goes beyond cell phones and dog tricks; it is fully embedded in our social worlds and our identities. Psychological research was part of the landmark Supreme Court decision that ended legal racial segregation in the US in 1954. It was a producer and product of women’s equality as early as the 1900s. And psychological research helped to change perceptions of homosexuality in the 1970s.  For more than a century, psychologists have been exploring the human experience and their work has ultimately changed our lived experiences.

Psychologist and feminist Leta Hollingworth published research that supported women’s equality in the early 1900s.

 

Psychologist Mamie Phipps Clark testifying in the Brown v. Board of Education case that made racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. 

The National Museum of Psychology tells this story. It tells the story of psychology’s history, which is essentially a story of all these ideas and practices—both big and small—that have shaped and continue to shape our everyday lives. You engage with psychology everywhere, every day, often without realizing it.

So, when my friends and family ask me, “what on earth is in a psychology museum?” I tell them all of this.  They are patient people!

My mom and my aunt, visiting me at work to finally figure out what on earth is in a psychology museum.

So, a follow-up quiz. How are the Nobel Prize, Wonder Woman, and hand guns all linked to psychology? Some of you with a penchant for history may already know. If so, share your knowledge in the comments! As for the rest of you, you’ll just have to visit the National Museum of Psychology to find out! Stay tuned to our facebook page to find out when we’ll be ready to open the doors.

(Shameless plug: we sure could use your help raising the remainder of the funds to support fabrication and installation of the exhibits. Donations of all sizes are very, very, very welcome here. It’ll be worth it; I promise!)

 

-contributed by Emily Gainer.

Sometimes, a book is more than a book.  It’s a storage container for an archival gem that surprises and delights everyone at the CCHP.  While working on a shelving project for the CCHP book collection, I opened a copy of Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist by John B. Watson, 1919.  On the inside cover, Watson signed and inscribed the book to Mr. Arthur Hays.  While this is an interesting discovery, the best was yet to come.

The book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by John B. Watson, includes a signed inscription.

This copy, donated by Edward Girden, also includes a handwritten letter from Watson to Hays.  The letter is dated October 20, 1920.  As we know, this is an important time in Watson’s life and career.  Read, in Watson’s own handwriting, some details from that time period!

A handwritten letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by Watson. See the next photograph for a closer scan of this letter.

 

The letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of the book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist”. The book and letter are housed at the CCHP.

Transcript of letter:

Dear Mr. Hays,

Many thanks for the letter – for a wonder my non-legal mind took it in.  No further word – no letters.  Have not been served with papers. Have been unable to get into touch with my wife.  Probably out of town.

Rosalie left for Baltimore for a visit.

I understand that I am to be honored with an invitation to accept a professorship of psychology in the new school along with John Dewey – Arthur Robinson and Veblen. I meet with the representatives Friday evening. This would immediately “rehabilitate” me. I hope it is true for Rosalie’s sake.

With kindest regards to Mrs. Hays. Sincerely yours

John B. Watson

Oct 20/1920

 

Finding an important document inside the pages of a book serves as a good reminder to be alert while working in the archives.  You never know where the next gem will be found!

Contributed by Jodi Kearns & Cathy Faye.

On June 29, 2017, we participated in a teacher workshop on immigration at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Stan Hywet offers an educational program called “Meet the Staff” for middle school students to come with their teachers and learn about the staff who, around a hundred years ago, did the baking, cleaning, groundskeeping, horse training, and other house and garden jobs. Stan Hywet is the name given to the mansion built and owned by the Seiberling family. F. A. Seibering  founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

We prepared a lesson with portable, fabricated test kits to support teachers who bring their students to participate in “Meet the Staff.”

To begin our portion of the workshop, Cathy gave a brief history of psychological testing at Ellis Island and demonstrated with a volunteer each of the four tests we brought with us. Entry into the United States between 1892 and about 1942 required examinations of immigrants, including psychology testing. Cathy told the teachers

To be admitted to the United States in the early 1900s, immigrants had to be free from physical illness. They had to be capable of earning a living. But they also had to be free of “mental defect” and possess adequate mental ability. In the early 1900s, US immigration officials were therefore looking for a way to screen out “mental defectives” among the more than 5,000 immigrants that sought entry into the United States every single day. Congress had passed laws that barred “lunatics,” “idiots,” “imbeciles,” and “the feeble-minded” from entering the United States. These labels, used today as insults, were at the time diagnostic categories, indicating varied levels of intelligence. For example, a “moron” was anyone who scored 70 or below on standard intelligence tests of the day.

After initial inspection, some immigrants were triaged into a separate line for further inspection, which involved a battery of psychological tests that were designed to be useful in cases where language skills were a barrier. The three tests used at Ellis Island that we demonstrated for the teachers are Cube Imitation Test; Form Board Test; and Feature Profile Test.

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An Akron-area teacher demonstrating the Form Board Test.

After a brief history and demonstration on the original artifacts, Jodi told the teachers that they would come to their classrooms and teach this lesson on Ellis Island psychological testing. In order to do this, we fabricated each of the tests using foam core and wood. Additionally, we recreated the tests with administration and scoring instructions on paper, so each students can have a turn being both tester and immigrant.

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To the left, a teacher works on the Form Board Test. To the top, another works on the Feature Profile Test. In the blue box, notice the edge of the Cube Imitation Test. This test kit shows examples of the fabrications of the original tests.

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Teachers working on the Feature Profile Test.

Finally, we wrote a full lesson plan and mapped the learning objectives to the Ohio Department of Education standards for social studies, to the American Library Association standards for information literacy, and to the American Psychological Association standards for teaching high school psychology. Teachers can use the lesson and test kits on their own, or invite us to come join them. Have a look at the lesson plan: EllisIsland_LessonPlan_Final.

Happy Parents’ Day!

Contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Yesterday was Parents’ Day and since psychology and parenting go hand in hand, I was charged with writing a blog for the occasion.

As I mother, I thought I could kill a couple of birds with one stone and gather helpful information about motherhood from the archives, use that information in my own life, and then blog about it. But then I realized I’m winging this whole parenting thing, so even if I found “helpful” information, I wouldn’t use it anyways.

Next I considered digging into the collections to see what I could unearth about “refrigerator mothers,” but then I realized I am sick and damn tired of mom guilt.

Then I thought, maybe parenting alongside the history of child development might be cool, but I remembered that I am currently embroiled in the almost-terrible-twos and the absolutely-infuriating-threes and I am learning plenty about independence milestones at home.

Then it came to me. Beyond the theories and the research and the publications, psychologists have parents. And some were even parents themselves.

So instead of an intellectual blog, I give you this fluff piece: psychologists are parents too.

Did you know that Knight Dunlap had a mother? It’s true!

Sure, he was at Johns Hopkins alongside John B. Watson and he helped established the Journal of Comparative Psychology and and he went on to chair the psychology department at UCLA, but he had a mother! Not only that, but she wrote letters to him and in 1906 offered to butcher one of her best chickens for him. If that doesn’t scream good parenting, I don’t know what does.

Dunlap_Collage_watermark

“Did you remember that your birthday was this week and Thanksgiving comes next week? I should be glad to kill one of my best chickens for yours. Turkey is 20⊄ per pound and very scarce at that.” Knight Dunlap papers, box M570, folder “Personal”

 

Lillie Lewin Bowman had a mother. And before she patented the pour spout, she was just a gal graduating from Berkeley with a mother who believed in her.

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Lillie Lewin Bowman papers, box M92.2, folder “Professional”

 

Lois B. Murphy had a mother. And a father. And when she was born in 1902, they started this adorable baby book for her.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box M1258, folder “Certificates”

 

Later, Lois Barclay married fellow psychologist Gardner Murphy and guess what? They became parents! Here’s an image of Gardner with one of their children in 1953.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

Other psychologists were also parents.

Check out this 1936 (or maybe 1937) newspaper announcement of Rosemary Young’s third birthday party. Her father was psychologist Paul T. Young. Sure, he was one of Titchener’s doctoral students and he spent a year on the streets of Berlin with his pseudophone, but he was also a dad who knew how to throw a birthday party.

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Paul T. Young papers, box M100, folder “Miscellaneous” 

 

And here’s a photo of renowned social psychologists Carolyn & Muzafer Sherif with one of their children.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

And finally, we all know Abraham Maslow as the psychologist at the very heart of humanistic psychology who devised the well-known and oft-cited theory of the hierarchy of needs.

He was someone’s dad.

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Abraham Maslow papers, box M4439, folder “Biographical 3”

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Cynthia

Contributed by Jodi Kearns.

Last summer, we digitized the wire recordings from Dr. David P. Boder’s collection and discovered 17 spools of 1951 interviews with a woman named Cynthia.

These records document a 3-month ongoing professional relationship of an often crying Cynthia confiding in Dr. Boder about her family and friends, her desire to be a singer and a writer, and steps she’d taken to becoming a physically and mentally healthier person. Throughout the recordings, Boder reminds Cynthia to eat breakfast and to try to be around people who support her.

Listen to a couple of excerpts from Cynthia and Boder’s nearly 20 hours of recorded conversations. [Note: It is difficult to be certain the speed and pitch of interviews are accurate when we’re reformatting obsolete analog media.]

 

The first selected excerpt, Cynthia is discussing living alone, rather than having a roommate. [Spool 10, March 23, 1951]

In this next clip from the second-last interview, Boder reinforces his early advice for physical and mental health care. [Spool 15, April 21, 1951]

 

Two years after these conversations were recorded, Boder gave a transcript of the first spool to Dr. J. F. T. Bugental with a letter praising Bugental for his “most useful contribution to interview work.” Boder may be referring to a 1953 publication in the Journal of Clinical Psychology where Bugental describes a technique whereby clinicians use recordings and transcripts of sessions with patients to analyse subject matter of both speakers. “You may use it for any scientific purpose you wish,” Boder offers his colleague. In this letter, written two years after his recorded interviews with Cynthia, Boder seems to know only a little information about Cynthia, including that she had received shock treatments and that her prognosis was “rather grave.”

 

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excerpt from a letter to Dr. Bugental from Dr. David P. Boder (March 3, 1953) [David P. Boder papers, M24, Folder “Patient Protocols”]

Cynthia is the pseudonym Boder uses in his transcriptions of the first spool that he gave to Bugental. The transcript includes an index of names and where these names appear within the transcript: “Kim, 20th Page;” “Nancy, 42nd Page.” Cynthia names the editor of the newspaper where she worked and the names of an ex-boyfriend and his new wife. Currently, there are Wikipedia articles that verify these three people existed and were an editor, a musician, and an actor. We were able to locate newspaper articles she wrote while the named editor was her boss. It is satisfying to be able to verify events from Cynthia’s  stories.

The first recording in the series also holds enough personal information that we were able to use census records and old yearbooks available online to connect some dots. We were quick to discover Cynthia was a high school cheerleader and a prolific poet. We also found a living relative. Cynthia’s great niece told us that the diagnosis was schizophrenia, something Boder never says in the recordings and associated papers housed at the Cummings Center. Her family shared with us a childhood photograph and some of Cynthia’s original poetry. We learned that she spent most of the rest of her life after the institutionalization mentioned in Boder’s 1953 letter in specialized hospitals and treatment facilities. Cynthia died in 1995 at around 70 years old.

Sixty five years after the original interviews were recorded on those wire spools, last summer Patrick Kennedy visited the Cummings Center while we were digitizing. He listened for several minutes off the original wire spools. These records remind us, Mr. Kennedy commented, that there are real people behind the patient records and doctors’ reports.

We were so glad to have found Cynthia.

 

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Jon Endres, Media & Technology Specialist, plays Boder’s wire-recording interview with Cynthia for Mr. Kennedy, Dr. David Baker, and me.

 

Nifty Surprises

-contributed by Arianna Iliff.

As a Graduate Student Assistant here at the CCHP, I get to explore our collections for researchers and find resources to assist them in their research. In the process of doing so, I find some truly interesting gems, and record them in a word document called “Nifty Surprises.” I thought I would share some with you today:

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Molly Harrower papers, OS67, map case 5

 

I’ve had the chance to get to know Molly Harrower: not just as a psychologist, but as a person. She was a skilled writer, and throughout the Harrower papers, you can even find snippets of poetry. But did you know that we have her “Bachelor of Square Dancing” degree?

OS67, Map Case 5 (molly's cats 2)

Molly died in 1999. If Molly were alive today, I bet she’d get a huge kick out of internet cat videos–clearly a gal after my own heart. Molly Harrower papers, OS67, map case 5.

How about this lovely chalk drawing of her cat? That’s one thing that I’ve enjoyed about my time here: when you have access to data, manuscripts, and unexpected errata such as this, history becomes more tangible than anything you could read in a textbook.

Maslow_M4413_folder7 (Huxley pamphlet)

I wish my favorite author would send me an autographed pamphlet. I’m not bitter though. Abraham Maslow Papers, box M4413, folder 7.

Finding this gem made my jaw drop: “THE Aldous Huxley? Sci-fi writer extraordinaire?” Oh yes! Abe Maslow and Aldous Huxley were indeed friends, due to their mutual interest in peak experiences and the Human Potential Movement. Interestingly, one of my favorite family therapists, Virginia Satir, was also a part of the movement!

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 Henry H. Goddard papers, V37, folder 2.

Stay with me on this one: okay, have you seen Mad Max: Fury Road? You know that scene where Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa aims a shot off of Max’s shoulder? My first thought when I found this image in the Goddard Papers was of exactly that!

Unfortunately, this image is not labeled with names or any such identifiers, and we don’t know who these people were in relation to Goddard. So when I think of this image, I just think of it as “that picture of early 20th century Max and Furiosa.”

V35_folder6 (D Johannsen, M Crook, R Leeper, Bony)

Three grad students, studying at a table with a model human skeleton. Caption: Caption on reverse states “graduate student life at Clark,” listing the names Dorothea Johannsen (Crook), Mason N. Crook, Robert W. Leeper, and Bony. AHAP Still Images collection, V35, folder 6.

When I came across this photo in our photo archives, I think that as a second-semester graduate student, I related to Bony the skeleton on a spiritual level. I felt that this photo needed a hilarious caption, such as “I’m coping with the workload just fine,” or “finals week is a real killer,” or perhaps ”I choose the sweet embrace of death over one more day in this program.”

On a serious note, I’ll say this: as an undergraduate, I chose studying sociology over psychology because for some reason, the sociological perspective was easier for me to connect with. However, since I’ve been working at the CCHP, I’ve had the opportunity to physically touch history, learning while helping others learn. Most people are surprised when I tell them the only place like this in the world is in Akron, but the fact of the matter is that the famous psychologists we learn about in 100-level classes, or whose research we draw upon, are more than just vague, long-deceased monoliths, but human beings who lived, worked, and thought. It excites me tremendously that you, too could experience history like I have, once our museum re-opens to the public. I hope you’ll stop on by!

 

In 1968, Joe South sang “Oh the games people play now.  Every night and every day now.  Never meaning what they say now.  Never saying what they mean.” The Sixties was a vibrant and volatile decade, often called a decade of ‘promise and heartbreak.’  It featured a greatly expanded public interest in psychology, with popular psychology manifested in a host of new magazines, books, movies, and television shows that focused on the fascination with human behavior.  The decade also ushered in a new generation of psychological games: board games and party games.  These games promised to reveal hidden personality traits, to help players get in touch with their “true selves,” to expose prejudices, to enhance empathy, and to reward psychological strategies in solving problems.  There was the “Group Therapy” game, released in 1969 that helped players “open up, get in touch, feel free.”  And there was “Insight” which appeared in 1967, a game intended to reveal a person’s personality.

At the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron, one of our jobs is to preserve the historical records of psychology for scholars and others who want to understand psychology in all of its forms.  To that end we are working to build a collection of these psychological games.  One of our blogs in January 2015 described three psychology games from the 1970s and asked for individuals who might own those games to consider donating them to the Center.  Alas we have not received any of those.  From a search of ebay listings over the past several years we know that at least 50 psychology games have been marketed in the past century, and the actual number may be much higher than that.  The oldest psychology game we have identified is a game that features palm reading that was released in 1919.  We have this game in our collection (see photo).  But this is the ONLY such game, thus it is a very small “collection” to say the least.

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Psychology of the Hand, 1919

Here are a few of the other games out there that we hope to acquire:

 

Person-Alysis is a game from 1957 that uses inkblots similar to those in the Rorschach Test to reveal a person’s personality.  There are perhaps a dozen games on the market that use inkblots in this way.

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Person-Alysis, 1957

There is the Woman & Man game from 1971 that explores gender differences in a board game that allows men and women to stay in their gender roles or to switch so that “men can learn what it is like to be a ‘mere female,’ to compete in a world that caters to men.  And women will get a taste of male supremacy, and compete in the sweet certainty that the world is made in a male image.”

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Woman & Man (1971)

And there is Psychologizer from 1987 “for the people watcher in all of us.”

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Psychologizer, 1987

So perhaps you are preparing to clean out your attic or just reduce some clutter.  If your cleaning leads you to discover such games, we would welcome them as additions.

Or, if you’re interested in making a charitable donation, some psychology games are available for purchase on ebay. You can have them sent directly to us at Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron, 73 S. College Street, Akron, Ohio, 44325-4302. You can contact us at ahap@uakron.edu.

Here is a list of psychology games we have identified.

  • 1919    Psychology of the Hand
  • 1937    50 Million Faces
  • 1942    Profiles
  • 1957    Guys and Gals
  • 1957    Person Alysis
  • 1957    React-O
  • 1967    Insight
  • 1969    Group Therapy
  • 1969    The Robot Game
  • 1970    Body Talk
  • 1970    Blacks and Whites
  • 1970    The Cities Game
  • 1971    Perception
  • 1971    Psych Out
  • 1971    Society Today
  • 1971    Woman Man
  • 1972    The Feel Wheel
  • 1972    The Ungame
  • 1976    Roll-a-Role
  • 1976    Social Security
  • 1978    Bonkers
  • 1979    Gone Bananas
  • 1981    Assert with Love
  • 1986    Stress Attack
  • 1986    Therapy – The Game
  • 1987    Ink Blotz
  • 1987    Psychologizer
  • 1987    PSI – Psychology, Slander, Intuition
  • 1990    True Colors
  • 1993    Imagine
  • 1998    Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
  • 1998    Rorshock
  • 2000    Think Blot
  • 2004    Dr. Playwell’s Anger Control Games
  • 2004    Psychobox – A Box of Psychological Games
  • 2012    Psych-a-Doodle
  • 2012    Psychopoly
  • 2013    Therapy Flashcards
  • 2015    Better Me
  • 2015    Doodle Therapy
  • (no date) Mindfulness Matters
  • (no date) Mixed Emotions