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Archive for September, 2017

Contributed by Lizette R. Barton with plenty of media help from Jon Endres.

 

September is National Chicken Month.

Sure, it’s just a month co-opted by the chicken industry to get us all to go out and eat chicken but for me it is more than that. Chickens need a month to be celebrated – and not just for their delicious eggs, wings, breasts, legs, and thighs. And livers.

But also for their behavior, their ability to learn, their place in history of psychology and their general coolness.

Without further ado – chickens in the history psychology.

Eckhard Hess (1916-1986) worked with chickens. He used chickens as his subjects in his imprinting and visual perception research. I could watch those chicks in tiny helmets all day.

 

Richard Walk (1920-1999) and Eleanor Gibson (1910-2002) had a variety of animals and babies walk and crawl – or in this case strut – across the visual cliff.

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Richard D. Walk still images collection

 

Cora Friedline’s (1893-1975) Philosophy 13 class assignment,”The Mind of the Chicken,” is a staff favorite. The image below is just one page taken from her 20+ page report.

To quote Friedline, “It is my belief that we learn more by doing than by depending entirely upon books for our knowledge. Accordingly, when I selected the chicken as my subject, I decided I must have one. It was brought to me on Thanksgiving night, and proved to be a Plymouth Rock…whom I called Birdie….there was not a happier person in all of Lincoln than I was that night.”

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Cora L. Friedline papers, M259, folder 1

 

My search for “chicken” then led me to the William S. Verplanck  papers. Paul Mountjoy (1925-2001) asked to know more about “the chicken book” and Verplanck (1916-2002) obliged.

Hey! I know that book! Smith & Daniels “The Chicken Book” was one of the first books I picked up from the library when we decided to start raising chickens.

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William S. Verplanck papers, M1959, folder 9

 

Keller Breland, Marian Breland Bailey, Bob Bailey and their team worked with a variety of animals throughout the course of their careers at Animal Behavior Enterprises. They developed training techniques based on the psychological principles of positive reinforcement which have become the gold standard in animal training.

 

And they did some incredible work with chickens.

 

And finally, quite simply, chickens make really good friends.

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Lizette’s two-year-old son sharing snacks with a friend.

 

 

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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!)

 

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