A History of Modern Experimental Psychology

From James and Wundt to Cognitive Science
Overview

Modern psychology began with the adoption of experimental methods at the end of the nineteenth century: Wilhelm Wundt established the first formal laboratory in 1879; universities created independent chairs in psychology shortly thereafter; and William James published the landmark work Principles of Psychology in 1890. In A History of Modern Experimental Psychology, George Mandler traces the evolution of modern experimental and theoretical psychology from these beginnings to the "cognitive revolution" of the late twentieth century. Throughout, he emphasizes the social and cultural context, showing how different theoretical developments reflect the characteristics and values of the society in which they occurred. Thus, Gestalt psychology can be seen to mirror the changes in visual and intellectual culture at the turn of the century, behaviorism to embody the parochial and puritanical concerns of early twentieth-century America, and contemporary cognitive psychology as a product of the postwar revolution in information and communication.

After discussing the meaning and history of the concept of mind, Mandler treats the history of the psychology of thought and memory from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth, exploring, among other topics, the discovery of the unconscious, the destruction of psychology in Germany in the 1930s, and the relocation of the field's "center of gravity" to the United States. He then examines a more neglected part of the history of psychology—the emergence of a new and robust cognitive psychology under the umbrella of cognitive science.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Introduction
  4. 1. The Modern Mind: Its History and Current Use
  5. 2. Aristotle to Alexander Bain: Prolegomena of Modern Psychology
  6. 3. The Social Context for the New Psychology in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  7. 4. The Birth of Modern Psychology: Wilhelm Wundt and William James
  8. 5. The ``Discovery'' of the Unconscious: Imageless Thought
  9. 6. The Early Twentieth Century: Consolidation in Europe and Behaviorism in America
  10. 7. The Interwar Years: Psychology Matures and Theories Abound
  11. 8. The Destruction of Psychology in Germany, 1933 to 1945
  12. 9. The Success of Gestalt Theory and Its Translation to the United States
  13. 10. A New Age of Psychology at the End of World War II
  14. 11. Two Case Histories from the New Psychology
  15. 12. Old Problems and New Directions at the End of the Century
  16. 13. The Clouded Crystal Ball: Psychology Today and Tomorrow
  17. References
  18. Name Index
  19. Subject Index