The American Journal of Psychology

Published by University of Illinois Press
Print ISSN: 0002-9556
Descriptive statistics for simple visual reaction times obtained in the comparison studies 
This article calls attention to the large amount of evidence indicating that simple visual reaction time (RT) has increased. To show that RT has increased, the RTs obtained by young adults in 14 studies published from 1941 on were compared with the RTs obtained by young adults in a study conducted by Galton in the late 1800s. With one exception, the newer studies obtained RTs longer than those obtained by Galton. The possibility that these differences in results are due to faulty timing instruments is considered but deemed unlikely. Of several possible causes for longer RTs, two are regarded as tenable: that RT has been increased by the buildup of neurotoxins in the environment and by the increasing numbers of people in less than robust health who have survived into adulthood. The importance of standardizing tests of RT in order to enable more refined analyses of secular trends in RT is emphasized.
Mean levels of conflict as a function of gender, prime condition, and site type, Experiment 2  
Mean fear and anger ratings as a function of gender and round, Experiment 2  
Two experiments examined participants' responses to simulated news reports of terrorist attacks. Participants were told that a nondemocratic nation had sponsored strikes on military and cultural or educational sites in the United States. Participants in both experiments reacted more conflictually to terrorist attacks on military sites than to those on cultural or educational sites. Their conflictual responses on a thermometer scale escalated after repeated attacks. When tested in 2002 and 2004, 1 and 3 years after the real World Trade Center attacks, participants' reactions were more conflictual than those of participants examined before September 11, 2001. Furthermore, current participants' fear and anger increased, and forgiveness decreased, over repeated simulated attacks. Participants lower in masculinity showed more fear and less anger than did those higher in masculinity. This study shows that terrorist attacks produce more than simple terror.
Mean memory accuracy scores and mean consistency scores (using the lenient criteria) for the seven flashbulb memory questions as a function of time of test
After September 11, 2001, we distributed flashbulb memory questionnaires at 5 different dates: within 48 hr (T1) and at 1 week (T2), 1 month (T3), 3 months (T4), and 1 year (T5). We scored responses for self-reported memory (veracity unverified), memory accuracy (recollection-matched T1 response), and memory consistency (recollection-matched prior responses other than T1). Self-reported memory and subjective confidence remained near ceiling, although the accuracy declined. However, memories given a week or more after September 11 were consistent throughout. We hypothesize that flashbulb memories follow a consolidation-like process: Some details learned later are incorporated into the initial memory, and many others are discarded. After this process, memories stabilize. Therefore, the best predictor of flashbulb memories at long intervals is not the memory as initially reported but memories reported a week or more after the event.
Emotional states derived from stimuli such as visual objects, scenes, and films, linguistic input such as words and phrases, and other inputs such as music and humor have been examined over many decades in an attempt to understand how feelings are aroused and, in turn, how they influence behavior. From early introspectionists to modern-day social, clinical, and cognitive researchers studying the ways in which affect is derived from everyday conscious and unconscious experiences and how those experiences frame our perceptions for processing future encounters with emotional stimuli, over 120 years of work has been reported in The American Journal of Psychology. The current article provides an overview of the more salient and influential of those works and articulates the ways in which the reported findings influence our current explorations of emotion and mood.
The American journal of Psychology celebrates 125 years of publication this year. From its inception, the Journal has attempted to record and communicate the results of research conducted in laboratories of psychology. It has also provided its readers with laboratory plans and designs for apparatus for research and demonstrations and described experimental procedures to facilitate the conduct of research. Its attention to reviews of books over a wide range of psychological topics and its inclusion of articles that provide historical perspectives on the development of psychology and its concerns broaden the context in which laboratory research is carried out. This brief overview of the Journal's history offers a perspective on the role of the Journal in, and its contributions to, the development of scientific psychology.
This article celebrates the contribution that the American Journal of Psychology (AJP) has made to the area of perceptual-motor skill over its 125-year history. We highlight the articles published in AJP and trace the technical and theoretical developments that stem from this groundbreaking work. Included in our overview are AJP articles on the excitability of the motor system, motor learning, adaptation to visual rearrangement, the ecological approach to perception and action, and the measurement of human handedness. We conclude by identifying a number of areas associated with perceptual-motor skill where AJP continues to make an important contribution.
A survey is made of intelligence research in the 125 years of The American Journal of Psychology. There are some major articles of note on intelligence, especially Spearman's (1904a) article that discovered general cognitive ability (g). There are some themes within intelligence on which articles appeared over the years, such as processing speed, age, and group differences. Intelligence has not been a major theme of the journal, nor has a differential approach to psychology more generally. There are periods of time--especially the 1970s--during which almost no articles appeared on intelligence. The key articles and themes on intelligence differences are discussed in detail.
John Bulwer's Pathomyotomia of 1649 appears to be the first substantial English-language work on the muscular basis of emotional expressions. Although Bulwer's impact on modern investigators has been indirect at best, it is clear that he confronted many of the same issues concerning the nature of the emotions and their relationship to facial movements, although his solutions to these problems clearly reflect the theories and methods of his time. Bulwer's theoretical assumptions and methods are discussed. The accuracy of some of his observations (in light of modern research) suggests that Pathomyotomia might have had a much greater impact on the science of physiognomy if it had not been dismissed by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers for some of its outdated theoretical foundations.
Presents an obituary for James Drever (1873-1950). Emeritus-Professor James Drever was undoubtedly one of the outstanding psychologists of his generation, and his influence on the progress and development of psychology can never be estimated. His death, on August 10th, 1950, was a grievous loss, not only to the science which he had made his own, but to many colleagues and friends in different parts of the world. His wise counsels were heard with respect by old and young. His many acts of unobtrusive kindness in helping young psychologists can never be told, but his gracious presence will linger in the memory of all who had the privilege of knowing him. The world has lost not only a genial personality, but an eminent scholar of international repute, and a psychologist of the highest rank.
Obituary for Stevenson Smith, 1883-1950. Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington, was born in Philadelphia on April 29, 1883. His early life was spent in Philadelphia and in California, with many summers in Europe. His interest in child psychology is most clearly seen in the records of the Institute of Child Welfare. Simultaneously with his work in clinical psychology, Smith maintained a very extensive interest in general and theoretical psychology. He also had a number of publications. His numerous friends within professional groups can never forget his indomitable spirit, his personal integrity and his unwillingness to tolerate anything that was second-rate, however appealing it might appear to the uninformed and uncritical. The members of his own department will always be influenced by the memory of his uncompromising standard for academic investigation."
Presents an obituary of David Katz, Professor Emeritus at the University of Stockholm, died on February 2, 1953. His name will be associated with significant contributions to almost every field of psychology, pure and applied; and he will be cited as one of this century's outstanding exponents of psychological phenomenology.
Top-cited authors
John T Cacioppo
  • University of Chicago
Richard E Petty
  • The Ohio State University
Lynn Nadel
  • The University of Arizona
James Wertsch
  • Washington University in St. Louis
Michael Cole
  • University of California, San Diego