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Contributed by Charity Smith

In July 1961, in a basement in New Haven, Connecticut, newly-minted psychologist Stanley Milgram gave the prod for the first (faux) “shock” felt ‘round the world. Milgram, a first-year professor at Yale, set up shop in the University’s Linsly-Chittenden Hall—home to what would become one of the most famed experiments in the history of American psychology.

Like any good social psychologist, Milgram’s interest in the study of obedience was likely influenced by a healthy mix of both the person and the situation. For Milgram, that meant the combination of his academic heritage and events occurring on the world’s stage. Milgram was a student of pioneering personality psychologist, Gordon Allport, before assisting social psychologist Solomon Asch, in studying “group think” and conformity. From 1959-1960, Milgram watched subject after subject forego their own conclusions and conform to majority rule.

As Milgram’s time with Asch was ending, the 1960 trial of Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, was just beginning. His defense was the same heard at the Nuremberg trials, over a decade earlier: he was just following orders. For Milgram, the case of Eichmann added a layer of moral complexity not found in Asch’s study—one that begged the question: how far will we go to adhere to authority, even when it violates our moral code? Thus, at the intersection of Asch and Eichmann, Milgram’s Obedience to Authority study was born.

shock generator

In Obedience and Authority, Milgram (1974) wrote: “Could it be that Eichmann, and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” Ostensibly, this frames Milgram’s research questions as centering on the motivation that drove the Nazis to commit the horrific atrocities of WWII—questions that ask about what those people did, why they were driven to savagery. However, the crux of these questions has less to do with them and more to do with us. What Milgram (and the rest of the world) really wanted to know was: Are we really all that different?

As it turns out, we’re not. And, as for the original “how far?” question, the answer is: too far. Using a simulated shock generator—which participants believed would deliver actual current to an unseen person (also simulated) when they flipped the switch—Milgram added an important variable to the study of conformity: human suffering. Of participants, 100% were willing to obey authority, even when doing so meant causing physical harm; 65% were willing to continue to obey, knowing the consequences could be grave.

Milgram Simulated Shock Generator Smaller

Fifty-five years later, both psychology and the world-at-large remain fascinated with Stanley Milgram’s study of obedience. In fact, his simulated shock generator is likely our most photographed artifact. In 2009, Dr. Jerry Burger, social psychologist at Santa Clara University, posed essentially the same question as Milgram’s initial query: Are we any different? With findings in-line with those observed in 1961, Burger’s replication of Milgram’s work yielded a succinct answer which, hopefully, gives us all cause for pause: No. No we are not.

 

Contributed by Jodi Kearns. The third installment of the “Psychology of…” book item of the month blog series is a sound recording called “The Psychology of Modern Woman” (1970) http://collections.uakron.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15960coll18/id/3461

 

The Internet is abuzz with mansplaining, a word coined probably fewer than ten years ago for a phenomenon that emerged much earlier.

Mansplainer and moderator Bob Hale (a television and radio personality from Chicago), for example, moderates a panel of experts with the core mission of deciphering “what kind of person a woman is, or whether you are a person at all.”

 

The panel of experts is made up of four extraordinary women.

Here are some highlights from the recording.

The panelists discuss the identity crises facing women as they become bored with the tasks of domesticity, have so many modern conveniences to make household tasks easier, and have more time on their hands to think about it from not needing to make clothing. “Oh come on. Ladies wait! May a husband jump in here and say…? Who are you kidding? Come on. Really?” Oh boy. Moderator Bob continues in his raised voice above the panelists attempting to be heard and asks the rhetorical question, if women don’t like being in the kitchen, then “Who’s buying all the stoves?!”

 

Mansplainer Bob tells the panelists that women find gratification through marriage and domesticity. To prove his point he reminds them that “We have an instance here, however, where one of the members of the panel is not married.” Presumably, he means the Sister, so it is likely she who asks the question, “Am I the only unmarried member?” After a few audible I’m nots, it is revealed that the moderator is, in fact, the only married person present. After laughing this one off, he tells the panel that the source of their gratification is their careers.

 

In spite of all the progress in equality for women and a history of objectifying women and second-rate citizenry, the mansplainer reminds the panel that it is still, even in 1970, the man’s responsibility to find a mate, to initiate the romantic cycle.

 

I feel grateful to these women and their cohort for ensuring my not having to explain why I wanted to enter a man’s profession and don’t have to ask my husband permission to see a female doctor. It’s a darn good thing this moderator was there to explain the psychology of the modern woman to you experts.

I may just take their advice and start my day tomorrow with this little pep talk.

 

Have a listen to the full panel discussion for more context and the complete dialogue: https://youtu.be/FTdPz4RfVl0.

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton. This is the second installment of the “Psychology of…” book of the month blog series.

Two years ago I was 38 weeks pregnant and looking for a little parenting advice so I turned to the CCHP Book Collection for help. Fast forward to 2016 and I have a two-year old and a 7-month old and once again I’m desperate for help. I could really, really use some sleep.

The Psychology of Sleep  by Bolton Hall was originally published in 1911 as The Gift of Sleep. The CCHP houses the second edition, published in 1916, exactly 100 years ago. That seemed fitting since it seems like it’s been 100 years since I’ve had a good night’s sleep. But I digress….

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Bolton Hall – this guy looks like he sleeps well, no?

Before I even cracked the book I just knew I was going to see that darn, “sleeping like a baby” hooey. Yep, page 1, there it is, “…the best sleepers…sleep like a child.” Every time I see something like that I think to myself, “Whose child?!” Certainly not mine!

I skimmed through The Psychology of Sleep looking for tips but didn’t find much regarding getting a child to sleep. Though, Chapter XV titled “Opiates” did seem promising.

Since I wasn’t finding anything that really excited me I decided to Google Bolton Hall and see what he was all about. Wow! Now, I was excited!

Bolton Hall (1854-1938) is probably my new favorite person.

Hall was born in Ireland in 1854 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1868. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he graduated from Princeton in 1875. In 1881 he earned his law degree from the Columbia Law School. He was a founder of the American Longshoremen’s Union (now the ILA) and the New York Tax Reform Association.  He was arrested for distributing birth control information in Union Square in 1916. And best of all, he was the originator of the back-to-the-land movement at the turn of the century.

Bolton Hall was a champion for the poor and the working class and an advocate for returning the land to the people. He established the Vacant Lot Gardening Association in New York City in 1906 that later morphed into The Little Land League which had over 200 members by 1909.  These organizations helped provide farming education and housing for New Yorkers, including several families who lived on 30 acres of land in the Bronx owned by the Astor family. They also helped construct a year-round tent city that housed a half a dozen families in Bronxville.

Wild side note – the president of The Little Land League in 1909 (Hall was treasurer) was  P. Tecumseh Sherman, son of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Hall established Free Acres, a co-operative/mini-municipality/kinda-sorta Utopian community in 1910 in Berkeley Heights, NJ through the donation of roughly 70 acres of land. And people still live there today! Check out the Flickr site – it’s awesome.

Whew! When I signed up to write a blog about The Psychology of Sleep I did not think I’d end up here. Dear reader, you just witnessed someone tumbling down the researcher rabbit hole!

And the Bolton Hall rabbit hole led me to his book Three Acres and Liberty. 

By thought and courage, we can help ourselves to own a home, surrounded by fruit and vegetables, flowers and poultry….life belongs in the garden (Hall, 1918, p.1 & p.10).

Right on, Bolton. That helps me sleep at night.

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Lizette – and the two kids who keep her up all night – tending their turkeys, October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

– contributed by Cate Conley, Museums & Archives Certificate student.

 

“We shape our buildings, therefore they shape us.” – Winston Churchill

 

When looking at the buildings that make up The University of Akron, most people will immediately recognize the newer structures on campus, such as Infocision Stadium, the Student Union, Stile Athletics Field House, and the new dorms.  But, not many people think of the buildings that existed on campus before they were considered University property and their roles in shaping not only The University of Akron, but the community of Akron, Ohio as a whole.  As students, faculty, and staff at the University or as members of the community, we have an obligation to ourselves and to those who have yet to experience Akron, to participate in the discussion of what shapes us… what shapes our city.

On May 7, 2016 from 3-5pm students will hold an opening reception to unveil an exhibit within the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Special Collections showcase titled The University of Akron Repurposes Akron History: Polsky’s, Quaker Square, Roadway, & St. Paul’s. The exhibition highlights the significance and value of these buildings to the University, the community, and Akron’s history. The exhibition opening is free to the public, so come visit and tell us what you think! We ask you to participate in the conversation of preservation  and the adaptive reuse of these historical buildings.  Their continued use and/or demolition shapes our future not just as students, but as members of this community.

This exhibit opens during with May’s Akron Art Walk and will be available for viewing during the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Main Library (60 S. High Street, Akron, OH 44326) from May 7 through August 21, 2016. You can visit during regular library hours.

[This exhibit is designed and installed by students participating in the Museums and Archives certificate program run by the Institute of Human Science and Culture (IHSC) at the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). For more information about enrolling in the program, please contact Dr. Jodi Kearns, jkearns@uakron.edu.]

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Contributed by Christina Gaydos, Kent State Library and Information Science practicum student.

As part of my 150 hours at the CCHP as a practicum student, I participated in several cataloging and related projects. One of the last projects is my work with the journal collection housed here at the Archives. The Cummings Center journal collection contains a number of psychology journals, dating from the late 19th century to the present. The journals cover a variety of topics in psychology, the natural sciences, and related fields.

I participated in a small digitization project with the Cummings Center Digital Projects Manager, Jodi Kearns, to create the Psychology and Natural Sciences Journal Collection, which visitors of the Archives online repository can now access thorough the “Books and Journal” collections. Three goals of the project were to [1] bring attention to a small section of the collection, [2] begin to make this part of the collection searchable and accessible for anyone interested, and [3] help me learn a new skill in digitization and continue to practice my cataloging skills. Visitors can locate the Psychology and Natural Sciences Journal Collection under Books and Journals  at the CCHP digital repository.

ArchiveWebpage

Initially, I selected a variety of interesting journal titles to catalog and upload to Sierra, the integrated library system (ILS), a computer program that allows the archives employees to access, search for and locate materials within their collection. In order for a book, CD, movie, manuscript, puzzle, videogame, journal, box, etc to be searched for, the item in question must have its metadata — a set of data that describes and gives information about other data: the title, author, barcode number and more—added to the ILS so it can be found. This is where I come in. In the simplest of terms– to start, I created a record with the corresponding metadata for each journal, then uploaded it to Sierra. Next, Jodi showed me how to scan the journal’s front cover and content page into digital files. Finally, I created new records within ContentDM, the program used to get Sierra’s records onto the web for the public to use and search for items with the Psychology Archives. This includes the digital thumbnails of the journal cover and all of the corresponding information one might try to search for when looking for an item.

Cataloging is one of the lesser known jobs of libraries and museums, but absolutely crucial for patrons of such institutions to find information or items within their collections. I cataloged a small portion of the journal collection, and hopefully in the near future, the remaining part of the collection will also be added.

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Bulletin

JourHeredity

JourInebriety

Christina Gaydos is a Kent State Library and Information Science student completing a Spring practicum here at the Archives, and will be graduating in May 2016. Her focus has been on cataloging, assisting in cataloging print and manuscript collections, amongst other projects, including work with ContentDM. Christina will begin work as a Catalog Librarian for the Toledo Lucas County Public Library in May 2016.

Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart. This is the first installment of the “Psychology of…” book of the month blog series.

It has been said that we are what we eat.  Can the same be said for clothes?  Are we what we wear, or does what we choose to wear have implications beyond mere style or utilitarianism?  And ultimately, how is our identity defined by what we wear?

Two books at CCHP turn to psychology to answer these sometimes philosophical questions.  Fashion, it turns out, has a checkered past.  Revolutions, tyrannies, martyrs and reformers have all put their respective stamps on the humble act of covering the human body.  But is it really such a humble act?  The Psychology of Dress: an Analysis of Fashion and its Motive, published in 1929, paints a rather tawdry picture of fashion’s history and the mostly ego-driven reasons pushing it forward.  The Psychology of Clothes, published twenty-one years later, focuses on the more clinically-defined psychological factors behind the clothing choices people make.  These factors borrow ideas from Thorndike and Freud but project an equally nefarious history of clothing.

Page from The Psychology of Clothes, emphasizing the relationship between clothing and well-being.

Page from The Psychology of Clothes, emphasizing the relationship between clothing and well-being.

As with anything involving Homo sapiens and our big brains, the mere act of dressing oneself is at once complex and complicated.  People follow fashion, according to author Elizabeth Hurlock in Dress, for fear of ridicule and scorn.  And if you’ve ever experienced either (ask me sometime about my clothing-related experience as a high school sophomore), you know this to be a true assertion. Fear plays a huge role throughout fashion’s narrative as a catalyst for larger historical movements, largely movements in which fear of belonging or fear of rejection play a role.

The price of not following fashion trends – from The Psychology of Clothes.

The price of not following fashion trends – from The Psychology of Clothes.

Historically, women suffered many health problems at the hand of fashion, regulatory laws prevented social “inferiors” from copying clothing of the aristocracy, and clothing marked one’s social status.  These events all ended in rebellion and eventually, reform.

These two popular trends in hair and clothing represented of prosperity and wealth – both images from The Psychology of Dress.

These two popular trends in hair and clothing represented of prosperity and wealth – both images from The Psychology of Dress.

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In Clothes, J.C. Flugel names nine different individual differences, or personality types, that he states control our clothing choices.  Do you find yourself in one of these categories when you get dressed in the morning (or in the afternoon)?

  • The rebellious type.
  • The resigned type.
  • The unemotional type.
  • The prudish type.
  • The duty type.
  • The protected type.
  • The supported type.
  • The sublimated type.
  • The self-satisfied type.
Diagram from The Psychology of Clothes depicting gender choices in clothing.

Diagram from The Psychology of Clothes depicting gender choices in clothing.

So we’ve come full circle.  That same riddle is still perhaps unanswered: Are we what we wear, or do our choices in clothing define us?  Whether we are fashion pioneers or fashion followers has a lot to do with our experiences and our socioeconomic status.  So perhaps that answer lies with the ability to make choices; and it is power that determines whether we get to make those choices or whether they are made for us.

Both titles from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. library at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton, Reference Archivist.

Ross Stagner is well known in the history of psychology for his work in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, the study of personality, and his involvement with the founding of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

And it started here in Akron, Ohio!

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Ross Stagner’s 1936 Tel-Buch faculty photograph
Photo credit: Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron

Ross Stagner accepted his first regular faculty position at The University of Akron in 1935 and the United Rubber Workers organized that very same year. According to Stagner’s SIOP autobiography, “My enthusiasm soared when, on my first day in that city, I saw a huge banner welcoming the “Rubber Workers Organizing Committee….”[and] before long I had gotten involved in educational and organizational efforts of this group.”

At one point Akron was the Rubber Capital of the World as companies like Goodyear, Goodrich, Firestone, and roughly twenty other lesser known rubber factories called Akron home. The rubber industry employed 40,000 Akronites at its peak but according to Brecher (1972) by 1933 nearly half of Akron’s rubber workers were unemployed. Firestone and several other factories had closed and Goodyear was operating on a two-day work week.

The early 1930s were an interesting time in the history of industry and a critical time in Akron industry. Among other things, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933 and section 7A included a provision that allowed employees the right to organize and bargain collectively without interference or coercion from employers. This opened the gates for thousands of Akron rubber workers to join local trade unions and the United Rubber Workers Union (URW) was established in 1935.

Stagner’s arrival in Akron coincided with the height of trouble in the Akron rubber industry. In response to increased production demands and decreased wages, workers organized numerous strikes at several different companies in the early 1930s. Then, on February 14, 1936 tirebuilders in Goodyear’s Plant No. 2 shut off their machines and sat down signaling the start of a giant “sit-down” strike.  In addition to the sit-downs, workers also organized long picket lines and production at Goodyear Tire and Rubber came to a halt.

A settlement was reached on March 22, 1936 with the management at Goodyear accepting the majority of the workers’ demands.

Industrial/Organization Psychology wasn’t Ross Stagner’s focus in graduate school and in fact he’d never even had a single course on the topic. However, he admitted to learning a great deal about industrial working conditions from the rubber workers and according to Zickar (2004) he went on to be one of only a handful of early researchers in the field to take a pro-union stance. He conducted numerous research studies throughout his career that focused on union commitment, collective bargaining, and union socialization. And aside from his pro-union work in Industrial/Organizational Psychology he was also a pivotal, founding member of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues in 1936 – a group dedicated to using psychology to make social change.

AbrahamMaslowPapers_StagnerLetter_BoxM4495_folder3_PICASA

Ross Stagner to Abraham Maslow, April 1936
Abraham Maslow papers, box M4495, folder 3
Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron

References:

Brecher, J (1973). Strike!. Straight Arrow Books, San Francisco, CA.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Records, 1898-1993. Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron.

Lachman, S. J. (1998). Ross Stagner (1909-1997). American Psychologist, 53(4), 482-483.

Abraham Maslow papers. The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Ross Stagner papers. The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Zickar, M. J. (2004). An analysis of industrial-organizational psychology’s indifference to labor unions in the United States. Human Relations, 57(2), 145-167.

 

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