Psychology and Its Cities: A New History of Early American Psychology



Within the social and political upheaval of American cities in the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th century, a new scientific discipline, psychology, strove to carve out a place for itself. In this new history of early American psychology, Christopher D. Green highlights the urban contexts in which much of early American psychology developed and tells the stories of well-known early psychologists, including William James, G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, and James McKeen Cattell, detailing how early psychologists attempted to alleviate the turmoil around them. American psychologists sought out the daunting intellectual, emotional, and social challenges that were threatening to destabilize the nation's burgeoning urban areas and proposed novel solutions, sometimes to positive and sometimes to negative effect. Their contributions helped develop our modern ideas about the mind, person, and society. This book is ideal for scholars and students interested in the history of psychology.
... This eclectic approach in treating patients, along with the variety of psychical topics found in the pages of Flower's and Parkyn's monthly magazines, distinguished Chicago's brand of suggestive therapeutics from that found in Boston and 1 In 1990, an eminent historian of psychoanalysis noted, "Unfortunately, we know relatively little about the history of modern psychotherapy and even less within a comparative cultural framework" (Roazen, 1990, p. 4). Today, that is far less true thanks to a resurgence of scholarly interest in psychotherapy studies, as reflected by fresh approaches to the history of psychotherapy found in separate special issues of History of the Human Sciences, History of Psychology, and other recent works offering new perspectives (Green, 2019;Marks, 2017;Rosner, 2018;Shamdasani, 2017Shamdasani, , 2018. 2 As was the case during the period under review, the terms suggestive therapeutics and psychotherapeutics will be used here synonymously (S. W. Jackson, 1999, pp. ...
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In the years from 1895 to 1910, suggestive therapeutics, in its various guises and applications, was the prevailing popular psychotherapeutic treatment featured in print culture and to which large numbers of Americans turned, seeking relief for both physical and psychological disorders. The "Chicago School of Psychology"-a health institution founded by Herbert A. Parkyn offering free treatment and clinical instruction in suggestive therapeutics- along with Hypnotic Magazine, the unofficial organ of the school edited by Sydney B. Flower, reigned supreme in Midwestern psychotherapeutics and "magazine medicine." With his patients reclined on an Allison surgical table, Parkyn's suggestive treatments sought to increase blood flow to afflicted painful areas, while urging upon patients a proper diet, fresh air, and exercise-what he termed "life essentials." Both Parkyn and Flower purposely allied suggestive therapeutics to a host of related reform movements, such as physical culture, psychical research, practical psychology, and the acquisition of heightened occult mental powers often associated with the New Thought. Often mistaken as a form of Christian Science, the Chicago School of Psychology found it difficult to maintain its image as a distinct type of psychotherapy. Its identification with irregular psychological healing sects and its multitude of social and scientific interests placed it at the crossroads of medical and religious pluralism. The closure of the Chicago School of Psychology in 1906 coincided with the spread of the Emmanuel Movement to Chicago, where it became known as "Christian Psychology," marking the final popular years of suggestive therapeutics in Chicago.
Investigated the different stages involved in learning telegraphy. One S was tested each week on: (1) rate of receiving letters not making words, (2) rate of receiving letters making words, but not sentences, and (3) rate of receiving letters making words and sentences. Results indicate that a hierarchy of psycho-physical habits were required to receive the telegraphic language. From an early period, letter, word and higher habits made gains together, but not equally. No plateau appeared between the learning of letters and words; the first one occurred after the learning of words. Later, there was a second ascent, representing the acquisition of higher language habits. Effective speed was largely dependent upon the mastery of these habits, which led to greater accuracy in detail. Concluded that the rate of progress, depended partly on the rate of mental and nervous processes, but far more on how much was included in each process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Issued for the Rationalist Press Association.
Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology
  • Gardner Murphy
e.g., Gardner Murphy, Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, 1929);
There had been earlier histories of psychology, but they had focused mainly on the philosophical precursors of the new form of the discipline: George Sidney Brett, A History of Psychology
  • Edna Heidbredder
Edna Heidbredder, Seven Psychologies (New York, NY: Century, 1933). There had been earlier histories of psychology, but they had focused mainly on the philosophical precursors of the new form of the discipline: George Sidney Brett, A History of Psychology, 3 vols. (London, UK: Allen & Unwin, 1912-1921);