History&Sys PSYCH – Chapter 7

Week – 4 – CHAPTER #7

Read the Chapter 7 pages that are attached; then answer the “Questions for this Chapter Assignment” found below, highlighted in YELLOW. This must be of in your own words.

PLEASE answer questions in essay form (minimum of 20 sentences).

No Quotes may be used as this does not tell me you have an understanding of the material. Instead of quoting, talk about what the person said.

You may use additional Internet sources that you are given or that you find.

NOTE* Use some of the Glossary words at the end of this paper in your writings. PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENT.


Questions for Chapter #7 Assignment:
[Use book and online resources.]

1 . Describe Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism, explaining how and why American embraced it so earnestly.

2. William James, although not a true functionalist was a strong forerunner of it. What did James feel was the subject matter of psychology and the method of research? What importance did James put on consciousness and what were the characteristics of consciousness?


3. What does bio–determinism mean in regard to women and education in the U.S. in the late 1800s? What was the Variability Hypothesis and how was it refuted






Why Did America Accept Evolutionary Theory Like No Other Country?
We all know how evolutionary theory, and Darwin’s extensive research that seemed to back it up, revolutionized the sciences and fostered many new avenues of research. No branch of science was unaffected. However, you may ask yourselves why America was so willing to embrace this new position. We must look to the American zeitgeist to answer this. In the middle to late 1800s America was a frontier nation.

The eastern and southeastern United States, which made up the main portion of U.S. influence was beginning to expand westward on to vast plains and areas rich in natural resources. No where was the idea of individualism greater. Those that settled the frontier were often gutsy individuals with an independent spirit and a willingness to work and carve out new territories and towns. The very idea of Darwin’s individual differences within a species was clearly visible in the human species.

As you read about Herbert Spencer and the application of evolutionary theory to business, politics and everyday life, you will get a real feel for how extensive the impact of this theory was in America. It, and the rise of the American universities, helped to bring the “power” from Germany to the United States and make America the main seat of psychological advancement. That power remains today.

The Rise of the American University
America started building universities and modeling them after both the British and the Germans. This hybrid university model encompassed British thought and German experimental methodology. British university systems were a bit archaic, but the thought was well in line with American ideas. By the same token German thought was not well liked but their tradition of experimental design suited the emerging nation well.

Until the Civil War, all American universities were alike – small and with limited curriculum. In 1854, Harvard was 200 years old and had only 18 faculty members and classes were only taught in such subjects as logic, mathematics, Latin, Greek and religion. Most of these pre–Civil War universities were run by clergy and were rigid and conservative. In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Act giving land to states if they would build state universities. These universities were to teach such practical courses as agriculture, mining and technical industrial courses. Remember that America was a frontier and was rich in natural resources. It was practical to learn what to do with these natural resources and Greek and Latin were of no help. America and American psychology was becoming pragmatic, practical and problem solving. The emphasis was less on basic research and more on applied research. Be sure you know the difference. Basic is for the joy of finding things out, applied is done to solve specific problems.

Universities started being run by boards instead of clergy and a healthy rivalry developed between newly founded schools that helped each develop at a faster pace. Even women’s colleges (Vassar claims to be first) began to spring up that were more than just the finishing schools of the past.

Another important happening occurred in New York State. Ezra Cornell offered BIG BUCKS to the state if he could build and run a university and set the curriculum. Cornell’s innovative ideas were that “universities should be a place where anyone could study anything”. This idea revolutionized the American University system and Cornell University became the first liberal arts school in 1865. While this was going on, Charles Elliot, the new president of Harvard also changed Harvard by introducing the elective system. All of you take this for granted today, but it was new and forward thinking at this time. New faculty had to be hired for all these new elective courses.

The new university was also judged differently than in the past. Now the idea of prestige was to be based on the faculty. The Ph.D. became the appropriate license. As a result, there was a shortage of Ph.D.’s to cover all the new curriculum and literally thousands of young men went to Germany to study and receive this degree.

For psychology, William Wundt was the major source to teach these students. This situation was particularly hard for psychology since it was a new discipline and was already experiencing a shortage of faculty. American psychology had a rich British and European tradition, but it was William James, “a homegrown American boy,” who would really start American psychology. Your book explains his ideas well so be sure you understand them.

For an online copy of William James’ Principles of Psychology go to: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/James/Principles/
You do not need to read all of it, of course, but if there is a topic or two you are interested in, take a look.

Granville Stanley Hall
Applied psychology becomes a major point for the functionalists. They understand the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest and so they welcome the idea of applied psychology – a psychology that will not just do research to fulfill curiosities, but research to solve problems. This motivation is the reason all the various branches of psychology developed. Wundt trained many of the applied psychologist : Hall, Cattel, Witmer, Scott and Musterberg among them. This applied psychology was taken into schools, factories, advertising, law, mental health clinics and was used to solve problems and develop programs.

By 1895, psychological labs doing applied research rose dramatically with 26 well equipped labs in the U.S. Psychology had a new home and it was not in Germany – it was in America. Psychology was beginning to be brought to the masses to solve their problems and the masses were starting to accept its understandings.

The influence of Granville Stanley Hall was second only to James on U.S. psychology. He founded many of the things that started to give the young psychology “power”. In 1878, he earned the first American Ph.D. awarded in psychology from Harvard. In 1887, he founded the first U.S. psychological journal, the American Journal of Psychology and in 1892, he founded the American Psychological Association (APA) and was its first president. There were only 26 members at that time and today the membership is in the hundreds of thousands.

By 1891, he founded the second American journal of psychology, the Journal of Genetic Psychology. Hall did extensive work in developmental psychology as your book states and be sure you understand his recapitulation theory. Why might he have been called the “cradle to grave” psychologist? He theorized and wrote on all ages of the developmental spectrum from infancy to old age. He was the first to maintain that children were not “just little adults” as was thought by many. He was the first to develop the idea of adolescence to denote the difference between childhood and adulthood. He theorized that this adolescence was a transition between childhood and adulthood and was a very important and often difficult passage for individuals.

One more additional “power” credited to Hall was his ascension to the presidency of Clark University. We have talked about the need for any school of thought to have “power” and the same is true for a new discipline – like psychology. Clark University was a graduate university and became very influential under his 31 years of leadership. He was the great teacher of psychology in the discipline’s first decades and by 1898, 30 of the first 50 Ph.D.s awarded in America were awarded by Hall. That is a very significant influence!

You have been introduced to the idea of Eugenics with the study of Galton. Hall too was interested in Eugenics and enthusiastically gave $200,000 to Clark University to establish genetic psychology. He felt that those individuals thought to be of lower race were simply in earlier stages of development and those of higher race must help them. Before you think him only a racist, know that he was responsible for more people of color and women receiving Ph.D.s than any other person.

Biological Determinism
Toward the end of the 1800s, psychology was a quickly growing discipline. Universities were growing larger and great in numbers. With the Morrell Act of 1867, the federal government granted large parcels of land to states for the development of Land Grant Colleges. These colleges would not teach the traditional subjects of math, chemistry, Latin, Greek, and logic. Texas A&M is one such example. They would teach courses in agriculture, mining, animal husbandry, and many other applied subjects that helped solve problems of the American frontier. Women’s colleges were also developing that were more than just finishing schools. Vassar, Wellesley and Bryn Mawr were among the first.

Within this framework of university growth came a move for Harvard to admit women. With great force that idea was beaten down. The argument was based on what can be called biological determinism. Biological determinism simply means that what you are born with biologically determines what rights and privileges you will have in life. This may mean whether you are male or female.

The argument by those who wanted to keep Harvard an all male university was that it would be too costly to allow women to attend and study with the men. This cost was twofold. First, it was feared that the stress that would be put on women’s brains would take away from the energy of their bodies to reproduce. It was feared that a great many would become sterile. That would be a great cost to a nation that was being increased with hords of foreign “peasants” that, it was feared, would reproduce in great numbers and take over the nation. Second, it was thought that the women would not be able to attend classes or study when they were on their periods because the physical stress would be too great. It was also thought that there would have to be nurses on all the floors of the dormitories, to help the women at this time. I hope you see the lunacy of these ideas, but remember that it was a far different and less informed zeitgeist. They estimated that it would cost a million dollars a year just to take care of the newly entering women and so they did not let them in until decades later. That is biological determinism! Your book talks about a few women who made a difference in psychology. Who were they and what were their contributions?

A Few More Thoughts that Might Help…
As you read, realize that although Functionalism was composed of a number of diverse ideas, all its proponents believed that solving problems was the role of this new psychology. This idea of pragmatism was literally a way of survival on the frontier. It is due to this pragmatism and evolutionary theory that all the branches of psychology that we know today began to develop. They developed because they could solve the problems of individuals and society.

You will see that with the rise of important universities, there will be the rise of important psychology departments. Those of the University of Chicago and Columbia University were important in developing and fostering the ideas of functional psychology. You will also notice others such as Stanford, Clark University, Harvard and Johns Hopkins.
Henry Hollerith’s punch card innovation had a profound effect on the 1890 census. It also had a profound effect on U. S. psychological research. This was a similar punch card technique that we first saw with Babbage and it was used as I have said until the 1980s in scientific research of all kinds