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Archive for the ‘Artifacts’ Category

contributed by Rose Stull & Laura Loop, students in the Museums & Archives Certificate Program.

The students in Foundations of Museums and Archives II have been working hard all semester, and invite you to attend our exhibit: How Animal Subjects Shaped Psychology, which opens on May 9 from 2:30-4:30pm.

The term “animal subjects” might make you think of those red-eyed, white rats in a laboratory. The history of animal subjects used in psychology is actually much broader than rats. Psychologists have conducted research using birds, insects, fish, and much more in addition to rats. Animal subjects have played an essential role in understanding “the basic principles and processes that underlie the behavior of all creatures, both human and nonhuman.” (Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals, American Psychological Association)

The Archives for the History of American Psychology houses many artifacts that were used in research with animal subjects. Some of the objects are part of larger collections with plenty of archival and primary source materials to help us identify them. However, others had very little information to begin with, and it was up to us to figure it out. The hardest part for some of the objects was just figuring out what it was. Are you able to figure out what these objects could be?

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What is this rack of droppers?

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Meat powder?

We had a general idea what most of the objects were used for but we still needed more. What was the object used for? Who used it? What kind of research were they doing? What were the findings of their research? We started in the archives and found a lot of what we were looking for, then expanded our research elsewhere to fill in the gaps.

Some of us learned about the history of experimental psychology for the first time. There are so many fabulous photographs.

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Gilbert Gottlieb ducklings

For example, Gilbert Gottlieb’s work with ducklings in his years of imprinting research has produced a multitude of amazing photographs (such as the photo shown above), which will be on display alongside many other archival materials regarding animal subjects.  A great example of this was the Animal Behavior Enterprises and their IQ Zoo. To learn more about this interesting tourist attraction and to see if you correctly identified these objects, the exhibit will be open through summer 2019.

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The fortune-telling chicken of the IQ Zoo

Working alongside our classmates with the wonderful staff at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has given us opportunity for hands-on experience that will give us better advantage in our respective fields of study at The University of Akron, and after graduation when we’re job hunting.  We are proud to invite everybody to join us for the opening of How Animal Subjects Shaped Psychology.

Opening Reception:

May 9th, 2019 from 2:30-4:30 pm

Free admission for the opening event. *Regular admission fees for the National Museum of Psychology during opening.

Location:

Institute for Human Science & Culture Galleries, RDWY 4th Floor

Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology; The University of Akron Roadway Building; 73 S. College Street Akron, OH 44325-4302

Contact: ihsc@uakron.edu ; 330-972-7285

This project fulfills the requirements for students in 1900:302 Foundations of Museums and Archives II at the Institute for Human Science and Culture. Contact Dr. Jodi Kearns jkearns@uakron.edu for information about the program.

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– contributed by Kate Gray.

Kate describes the process of designing, researching, and installing an exhibition to fulfill course requirement for 1900:302 Foundations in Museums & Archives II. 

The concept of time has baffled the greatest minds in human history, while timekeeping devices originally left the students of Museums and Archives II equally bewildered. When beginning work on this exhibition, we were each given about seven or eight time pieces from the Cummings Center’s collections.

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The artifacts varied greatly in the background information already provided on them. Some of us had a manufacturer, date, and specific classification of the instrument. Others received pieces simply classified as “timers.” At times, this made research very difficult. However, all of us were up to the challenge.

We began by combing over the Cummings Center’s archives for any information on the pieces, manufacturers, or individuals who created them. Once we compiled that material, we then moved on to outside databases to supplement our findings. Our main goals were to track down what psychological experiments these time pieces were used in and who used them. When visiting the exhibit, you will learn about the time pieces themselves, the individuals who created them, and the psychologists who use them in their work.

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After discovering the desired information, we then moved on to planning how to display the time pieces and data. We debated artifact groupings, the objects’ placements, exhibit colors, and which display cases to use.

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As I write this blog, we are on the homestretch for this exhibit. We have already begun the to install the exhibition, finalize the displays, and have confirmed our color scheme. Through this experience, we learned about  the immense planning that goes into creating a museum exhibit. Everything from the font size to the display case choice impacts the success of the exhibition. This project led us on a challenging yet rewarding journey through time.

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Please Join Us for:

The Test of Time: Chronometry in 19th and 20th Century Psychological Laboratories

Opening reception:

  • May 10, 2018 from 2:30-4:30pm
  • Free admission for the opening event

After the opening reception, the exhibit will be open during regular hours of the National Museum of Psychology beginning June 28.  This temporary exhibit will be open June 28 through September 2018.

Location:

  • Gallery C / RDWY First Floor
  • Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology
  • The University of Akron
  •  Roadway Building
  • 73 S. College Street
  • Akron, OH 44325-4302

Contact: ihsc@uakron.edu; 330-972-7285

For More Information go to http://www.uakron.edu/chp/education/student-exhibit

Program info: This project fulfills the requirements for students in 1900:302, Foundations of Museums and Archives II at the Institute for Human Science and Culture.  Contact Dr. Jodi Kearns jkearns@uakron.edu for information about the Museums and Archives certificate program.

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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.

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-contributed by Veronica Bagley, undergraduate student in the Museums & Archives Certificate Program.

What do a polygraph kit, ouija board, and Stanford Prison experiment skateboard have in common? They’re all objects in the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology artifact collection, and they’re all going to be on a temporary exhibit in Glimpses into the History of Psychology through Artifacts. These are just a few objects students in the Foundations of Museums and Archives class have been researching for their final project, putting together an exhibit.

Some of the objects that will be on exhibit.

Students in the Foundations of Museums and Archives Class have been spending this semester putting together an exhibit, from start to finish, to be displayed at the CCHP. In the first half of the class during Fall semester, each student selected a few items from the collection that they found interesting. Now during Spring semester, those objects are becoming one exhibit. Students picked objects covering multiple fields of psychology, including paranormal, perception, animal training, education, and popular psychology.

Though the objects in the exhibit are all very different, students have studied how they relate to psychology or how they may have been used by psychologists. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to learn about the history of psychology through a variety of fields. One of the objects I spent a large amount of time researching was a homemade “Spirit Writing Board,” for which we had little information on. I was able to use resources in the archives to research the practice of spirit writing, and through my research I learned about the field of “Parapsychology.” I even contacted an expert from The Parapsychological Association who sent me even more resources about this board and how it may have been used. Before I took this class, I did not even know this field of psychology existed! Visitors to the exhibit will be able to see the Spirit Writing Board on display, along with other objects from the field of Parapsychology. From visiting this exhibit, we hope visitors will be able to learn how broad the field of psychology is, and how it is applied in other fields.

Though the research process could be frustrating at times, especially with objects without much information attached to them, the class had some great finds! An object previously labeled as “Unidentified” became identified as a Polarimeter. Stacy Young, another student in the class, selected this object and had the task of researching it for the exhibit. From the tag on the object, she was able to start some research in the archives and found a journal that described the unidentified object. It was an incredible discovery and required some serious detective work! The Polarimeter will also be on display in the exhibit.

The label Stacy used to start her research on the Unidentified Object.

After spending the first eleven weeks of the semester researching objects and making decisions about exhibit design, the last several weeks will be spent installing the exhibit. The exhibit is also sponsored by the EX[L] Center: https://www.uakron.edu/exl/. We are very grateful for their donation to help us put together this exhibit!

The opening reception for Glimpses into the History of Psychology through Artifacts will be May 6, 2017 from 4-6 pm, and regular open hours will be Tuesdays May 9 through August 15, 2017, from 1-3pm. Admission is free. It will be located at:

Gallery C, First Floor Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

The University of Akron Roadway Building

73 S. College Street

Akron, OH 44325-4302

The final exhibit project for this class fulfills the requirements for students in 1900:302 Foundations in Museums and Archives II at the Institute for Human Science and Culture. The class is a requirement for a Museums and Archives Certificate through the University of Akron. If you are interested in the program, contact Dr. Jodi Kearns at jkearns@uakron.edu for information.

Objects for the exhibit, laid out for research.

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– contributed by guest blogger Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr.

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has a large collection of some of the most important apparatus and objects related to psychological science and practice covering the past 150 years.  There are brass chronoscopes from the 1800s that measured reaction time in one-thousandths of a second.  There are a variety of rat mazes, tachistoscopes, and Skinner boxes.  The “shock” machine used by Stanley Milgram in his famous obedience studies is in the Center’s collections as are a Bobo doll from Albert Bandura’s research, guard uniforms from Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford prison study, a surrogate monkey head from Harry Harlow’s studies of love in monkeys, and one of B. F. Skinner’s air cribs.  The Center is always looking to add to its collections, including items that were of questionable scientific value.  One such item is the Psycho-Phone pictured below.

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Similar in principle to audio devices today that play messages during a person’s sleep, for example, alleging sleep learning, the Psycho-Phone was the invention of Alois Benjamin Saliger (1880-1969) who patented his machine in 1932 as an “Automatic Time-Controlled Suggestion Machine.”  The device was essentially an Edison-style phonograph with a timer that played the contents from a wax cylinder during the period of sleep.  Saliger believed that the messages delivered during sleep would enter a person’s unconscious and have a powerful influence on the individual’s behavior.

 

The device was first advertised in the June 1927 issue of the popular psychology magazine, “Psychology: Health, Happiness, Success.”

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The machine was quite expensive, selling for $235 in 1929.  That would be the equivalent of $3,250 in 2017.  It came with several wax cylinders, each with messages relating to a different theme; one was labeled “Prosperity”, another “Life Extension,” and a third “Mating.”  Eventually Saliger expanded the record library to more than a dozen titles, even one in Spanish.  According to a story in The New Yorker in 1933, the message on the Mating recording included the following statements: “I desire a mate.  I radiate love.  I have a fascinating and attractive personality.  My conversation is interesting.  My company is delightful.  I have a strong sex appeal.”  Saliger was convinced of the effectiveness of the Psycho-Phone noting that 50 of his customers reported finding a mate.  He did not say how many of the Mating recordings had been sold.

Saliger ran monthly advertisements in the popular psychology magazines of the late 1920s touting the remarkable benefits of his Psycho-Phone.  Here is another of his ads.

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In looking for expert endorsers of his machine, Saliger might have chosen someone other than Dr. Quackenbos, whose name would not conjure up images of a charlatan.

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By 1933, Saliger claimed that he had sold more than 2,500 of the Psycho-Phones.  If such a number is even close to being accurate, a number of these devices should still exist today.  But despite our best efforts, we have not been able to find one to add to our collections at the Center.  If you have one of these or know of the location of a Psycho-Phone we would appreciate your contacting the Center at ahap@uakron.edu.  If you would like to donate one to the Center as a charitable gift, it would be most appreciated.

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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.

 

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-Contributed by Cori Iannaggi.

As a volunteer for the CCHP, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of different projects. When I first started in the summer of 2012, the first task assigned to me was to go through and identify the uncataloged objects within the collection. To me this was like being a kid in the candy store! I would open up the boxes and find all of these cool and unusual objects – some of them being objects I was familiar with, but most of them being objects I had no idea what they were. As undergraduate in psychology, I went into this project thinking I was going to be able to identify these objects with no problem, but it soon became apparent to me that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did (shocker?…not really).

As I began going through the collection, I found myself coming across a lot of the same items, like shock boxes, timers, lenses, and of course, tuning forks (it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t come across at least one a day)! While all of these regular finds were intriguing and valuable to the field of psychology, it was the days that I came across the abnormal and curious that were the best.

Lens kit #329b from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Lens kit #329b
from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Master shocker unit #419 Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Master shocker unit #419
Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Tuning Forks!

Tuning Forks!

Fast forward two years later, and I am now a graduate student in the Kent State University Library and Information Science program specializing in museum studies. Even though the collection project I did only lasted one summer, I regularly thought about how much fun I had working with the collection, and of all the wonderful objects I was in contact with on a daily basis. It then dawned on me that the fascinating and unusual objects I found would make a terrific exhibit. This would give me a chance to work with the collection again and allow the public the opportunity to see objects they normally wouldn’t have the chance of seeing (win-win in my eyes!).

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Located in the CCHP’s reading room, Cabinet of Wonders highlights all of my favorite finds from the collection project back in 2012. The exhibit is broken in to two sections:

  • The Unusual – Highlighting the exciting, surprising, and simply put, cool objects, found in the collection.
  • The Unknown – A selection of objects I was unable to identify during my research.

The unknown section also gives visitors an opportunity to share their psychology knowledge with me by encouraging them to identify the unknown objects on exhibit. A notebook was placed outside the case and provides space for visitors to tell me anything they know about the objects I could not identify. Once the objects are identified, they will be removed and another object will be added. If you are unable to make it to the exhibit, we will also be posting pictures of the unknown objects on the CCHP Facebook and Twitter pages in the hopes of increasing the odds of identification.

In fact, why not start now?! Do you know what this object is and how it’s related to the field of psychology?

Unidentified Object #212

Unidentified Object #212

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