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A Pictorial History of Psychology.

Wolfgang G. Bringmann, et al., Editors. Chicago: Quintessence, 1997.

In 107 articles by 109 authors from 15 different countries, this volume covers the history of psychology from Greek antiquity to recent developments in American cognitive psychology. It is copiously illustrated with more that 650 illustrations and tables on 615 pages of text. With its combination of pictures and verbal descriptions it has the character of a family album of academic psychology and is so clearly written that it can be easily appreciated even by those unfamiliar with the subject.

Hermann Ebinghaus noted that psychology has a long past but a short history. The history began about a century ago in a broad movement that emphasized scientific method, the rise of psychological research centers and the creation of journals and graduate programs. But psychology's roots go further back and in this book you will encounter articles on "Aristotle and Psychology," "A Medieval Theory of Cognitive Functioning," and "Goethe as an Early Behavior Therapist." Of course, the stars of the field, including Freud, Adler, Jung, Wundt, Skinner, Binet, and Piaget, are also provided separate articles. And pioneer psychological investigations are described in such essays as "Clever Hans: Fact or Fiction?" which tells how a student of psychology debunked the supposed ability of a horse to spell and do mathematics.

Among the features that make this book especially interesting are its insights into psychology's social and cultural contexts, including its relationship to other disciplines such as literature, art, and music. I was particularly taken with an article titled "Gertrude Stein, William James, and Pablo Picasso" by Marianne L. Teuber which demonstrates how Stein and Picasso both made use of important ideas derived from the teachings of America's premier psychologist William James. The reader will discover many other fascinating articles on topics that are not covered in any other reference book. If you wish to learn more about psychology's past (and want to see what the giants of the discipline looked like) I think this volume may be just what the doctor ordered.

All Reviews by Martin H. Levinson, Ph.D.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Institute of General Semantics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Levinson, Martin H.
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1998
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