Journal Critique For Psychology. Will Provide The Journal Critique Article 2 Template And An Example.

Journal Critique For Psychology
Journal Critique For Psychology


The Psychology Laboratory at the Turn of the 20th Century

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Journal Critique For Psychology. Will Provide The Journal Critique Article 2 Template And An Example.
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

By Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr.

Alice Chan (Student)

AU ID 2750777


Journal Article Critique 1

Shelley Sikora (tutor)

November 03, 2011

Body of the Text

1. Research Question or Problem

The purpose of the article is to outline the influence that psychology laboratories have had on modern psychology, and how experimental laboratory has changed psychology into a discipline of science.

2. Introduction

Journal Critique For Psychology

During the 1800s, psychologists made great efforts to change psychology to a discipline of science instead of being a part of philosophy or a mystical subject. They believed that psychology is testable like many other science curriculums. According to the article, by 1880 the experimental laboratory was the “public icon for natural science” (Ludy, 2000, p.318). The first experimental laboratory was founded by Wundt in 1879 and this marks the beginning of modern psychology as science. Many great psychologists, stated in the article, have shown great support and attraction towards the idea of the experimental laboratory. Although the laboratory is no longer viewed as an icon for psychology, it is still an important training place for all undergraduate psychology students.

3. Methodology

In this article, the author uses history to support his argument that the psychology laboratory was instrumental in transforming psychology from philosophy to science. References of famous psychologists were used and cited to support the author’s historical approach for the article. Table 1 (Ludy, 2000, p319) is a list of laboratories that have been built from 1883 to 1900 in the United States. Figure 1 (Ludy, 2000, p.320) is an example of how the early psychology experimental laboratories looked like.

4. Results

Journal Critique For Psychology

The experimental laboratory does mark the beginning of psychology and the emergence from philosophy. Ludy uses reference, dated back from 1800, and cited phrases from famous psychologists to explain how the first Wundt Laboratory aided the growth and spread of Psychology worldwide. A list of laboratories from table 1 (Ludy, 2000, p.320) demonstrates how rapidly Psychology spread after the beginning of the Wundt Laboratory in the United States. Cattell’s letter to his parents, cited in the article, gives an example of what was tested in the early laboratory. In addition, the author cites Wolfe’s second annual report to demonstrate how psychologists of the time believed that psychology was a science like any other. Figure 1 (Ludy, 2000, p.320) is a psychology laboratory that shows the similarity with other natural science laboratories. In addition important psychologists, like Harry Kirke Wolfe, Wundt, and Hall are mentioned for their contribution and support of the psychology lab. The “American Journal of Psychology and Science”, mention by Ludy, shows that the public believed that psychology laboratories were no different from other natural science laboratories. At the end of the article Ludy uses references, dated after the 1900, from various sources to show how the use of psychology laboratories changed in the 20th century. According to the cited work, the psychology laboratory is no longer viewed as an icon but a training ground which all undergraduate psychology students must go through.

5. Discussion

Ludy (2000) concluded that the psychology laboratory “no longer serves as an enduring motif.” (Ludy, 2000, p.321) After the 20th century, psychology has become a discipline of science and the laboratory is no longer an icon; it is just a standard training ground for all psychology students. After Wundt’s first laboratory, “proliferation of American laboratories at the turn of the century changed the nature of graduate education.” (Ludy, 2000, p.321) The laboratory is no longer a place for scholars and psychologists; it has become part of a curriculum that all undergrad psychology students must enrol in to graduate.

6. List of Reference

The references selected by the author support the article’s purpose and are cited within the body of the text. Because the method used in this article was an historical approach, therefore the references date all the way back from the 1800s to the 1990s. The author used a variety of sources to prove his work and reasoning.

7. Personal Reaction

I found this to be an interesting article. I have always wondered where psychology emerged from and how it has been scientifically accepted. Contrary to my expectations, the experimental laboratory is the key to all the answers. I was impressed with early psychologists’ determination and diligence in using the scientific method to test their hypotheses, thereby changing public opinion towards an acceptance of psychology as a new science.

Journal Critique For Psychology

After reading the article I have a few questions in mind. The author did not mention the view from the other natural science curriculum, do they support psychology as a counterpart to science or are they against it? Also, are there any psychologists against the experimental laboratory during that time? If so why or why not?


Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. (2000). The Psychology Laboratory at the Turn of the 20th Century. Texax A&M Universit, 55(3), 318-321. Doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.3.318

Body of the Text (new page)

Research Question or Problem

Ask yourself, “Is the question or problem clearly stated?” State the question or problem in your own words.


The introduction of a research article presents an overview of the problem studied in the research. Ask yourself, “Is there a review of the literature related to the problem or question?” “How many references are cited?” Review and summarize the research (e.g., theories and previous research) presented in your own words.


The method section of a research article is made detailed enough to permit another researcher to attempt to replicate the study. Ask yourself, “Does the researcher explain the methods used in the study?” “Who or what is the population studied?” “How were they selected?” “What did the participants do for the study?” “What instruments were used to gather data?” Paraphrase the methodology in your own words and cite from the article using APA format.


The results section of a research article reports the raw data and statistical analysis obtained in the study. Ask yourself, “Are the results clearly stated and understandable?” “Did the results answer the question or clarify the hypothesis?” “Are there tables or graphs?” Paraphrase the results in your own words and cite from the article using APA format.


The discussion section of a research article includes the conclusions drawn by the author(s). Ask yourself, “Are the results discussed?” “Are there suggestions for practical implications?” “Are there recommendations for further research?” Write your answers to these questions in your own words and cite from the article using APA format.

List of References

The reference section of a research article lists the bibliographic references for any studies cited. Ask yourself, “Were the references selected related to the author’s research?” “Were the references cited within the body of the text?” “Were the references from the same source or were there a variety of sources?” “Were the references current or out-dated?”

Personal Reaction

The personal reaction section is included here to enable you to analyse critically the knowledge you gained about the topic researched, about methodology, about APA style, and about the meaningfulness of the research. Ask yourself, “Was it well written and organized?” “What did I learn from reading the study?” “What further questions did it generate?” State your reactions in your own words.

The Psychology Laboratory at the Turn of the 20th Century

Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Texas A &M University

The author provides a brief history o f the psychology laboratory from 1879 to 1900, discusses its crucial role in the founding o f scientific psychology, and describes how it enabled psychology ‘ s separation from philosophy. The lab- oratory model is described as a research and graduate training enterprise that operated with K. Danziger’s (1990) concept o f a “community of scholars” and was eventually extended to the training o f undergraduate students.

T he dating o f modern psychology begins not with the sensory physiology o f Hermann von Helmholtz or Johannes Mtiller, nor with Gustav Fechner s crucial insight on October 22, 1850, about how the physical and psychological worlds could be compared quantitatively, nor with the 1874 publication o f Wilhelm Wundt’ s Grund- ziige der Physiologischen Psychologie, the book that of- fered the first compendium o f the 19th-century work that was the basis for the science o f psychology. Instead, we date the new psychology from the establishment of the research laboratory at the University of Leipzig. It is the establishment o f the laboratory that marks the transition of psychology from philosophy to science.

The middle of the 19th century witnessed the birth of American science laboratories–initially in chemistry–and the start of a 100-year American love affair with science and technology (Bruce, 1987). American psychology laboratories joined their natural science counterparts in the 1880s, bringing the experimental method to the investigation of mind, an event that E. G. Boring (1929) declared had no equal in the history of the study of the mind. Indeed, both editions o f Boring’s classic textbook defined the history o f psychology almost exclusively in terms of the laboratory. One could argue that such an emphasis could be expected because his textbook was, as the title indicated, a history of experimental psychol- ogy; yet for Boring that was psychology.

By the 1880s, the laboratory was, arguably, the pub- lic’s icon for natural science, but the same cannot be said o f p s y c h o l o g y ‘ s version. Psychologists were aware o f the c o m m o n public perceptions that associated psychology with spiritism, the occult, and other paranormal subjects. They sought to change those views with articles in news- papers and popular magazines, public exhibitions, and pop- ular speeches, all touting the new science o f psychology.

Shortly after Hugo Mtinsterberg arrived at Harvard Uni- versity in 1892 to direct the psychology laboratory there, his assistant announced in McClure’s Magazine that the psychology laboratory resembled any other science labo- ratory. “Around the rooms run glass-cases filled with fine instruments. Shelves line up, row after row, o f specimen jars and bottles. Charts cover the remainder o f the walls. The tables and floors are crowded with working apparatus” (Nichols, 1893, p. 399). However, he continued, the labo- ratory is more than jars, charts, and apparatus: “the spirit that reigns in these rooms is the same that is found in other laboratories of exact science” (Nichols, 1893, p. 399),

The importance of the laboratory for the beginnings o f the new psychology would be difficult to overstate. Histo- rian James Capshew (1992) has written that “the enduring motif in the story o f m o d e m psychology is neither a person nor an event but a p l a c e – – t h e experimental laboratory” (p. 132). As such, this snapshot in the history o f psychology begins in Leipzig, Germany, where in 1879 Wundt and his graduate students began conducting original research as a “community o f investigators” (Danziger, 1990, p. 18). Danziger (1990) has argued that “the strongest grounds for locating the beginnings o f experimental psychology in Wundt’s l a b o r a t o r y . . . [were that it was in this laboratory] that scientific psychology was first practiced as the orga- nized and self-conscious activity o f a community o f inves- tigators” (p. 18).

Thus, the laboratory was more than specimen bottles, charts, and apparatus, and it was more than the presence of a scientific spirit; it was, in addition, and perhaps of great- est importance, a community of scholars who conducted collaborative research in pursuit o f scientific explanations

E d i t o r ‘ s note. Almost two dozen of the leading historians of psychology agreed to write “snapshots” of various aspects of psychology circa 1900. The articles appear in serial form throughout Volume 55. The series was edited by Donald A. Dewsbnry.

A u t h o r ‘ s note. I gratefully acknowledge assistance from Richard A. Littman and Laurence D. Smith.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77483. Electronic mail may be sent to ltb@psyc.

318 March 2000 • American Psychologist Copyright 2000 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0003-066X/00/$5.00

Voh 55, No. 3, 318-321 DOI: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.3.318

o f mind. They shared not only the physical space of the laboratory but an interest in c o m m o n questions. As stu- dents graduated, others came to the laboratory to work on the same questions or to extend the research to new ques- tions. This community approach stood in stark contrast to the solitary investigations of Wundt’s predecessors, such as Helmholtz and Fechner, and even some of his contempo- raries, for example, Hermann Ebbinghaus.

Wundt’s laboratory attracted many American stu- dents, particularly as fame of the laboratory spread in the United States. G. Stanley Hall arrived in Leipzig in the fall

of 1879 for postdoctoral study, having just finished his doctoral degree with William James at Harvard. Hall spent some time with Wundt but worked principally in the phys- iological laboratory o f Carl Ludwig. In 1883, Hall founded what is usually recognized as the first psychology labora- tory in America at Johns Hopkins University. Many o f the American laboratories that followed in the last two decades o f the 19th century were founded by individuals who had studied with Wundt or Hall (Table 1 lists the 41 psychology laboratories founded in the United States by 1900 and their founders, and indicates which ones studied with Wundt or

Table 1 The Founding of American Psychology Laboratories: 1883-1900

Year Laboratory Founder

1883 Johns Hopkins University Granville Stanley Hall 1887 Indiana University William Lowe Bryan” 1887 University of Pennsylvania James McKeen Cattell b 1888 University of Wisconsin Joseph Jastrow ° 1889 Clark University Edmund Clark Sanford a 1889 University of Kansas Olin Templin 1889 University of Nebraska Harry Kirke Wolfe b 1890 Columbia University James McKeen Cattell b 1890 University of Iowa George T. W. Patrick ° 1890 University of Michigan James Hayden Tufts 1891 Catholic University Edward Aloyius Pace b 1891 Cornell University Frank Angel1 b 1891 Wellesley College Mary Whiton Calkins 1892 Brown University Edmund Burke Delabarre 1892 Harvard University Hugo M/.insterberg b 1892 University of Illinois William Otterbein Krohn 1892 Trenton State Normal College Lillie A. Williams 1892 Yale University Edward Wheeler Scripture b 1893 University of Chicago Charles Augustus Strong 1893 Princeton University James Mark Baldwin 1893 Randolph-Macon College Celestia S. Parrish 1893 Stanford University Frank Angell b 1894 Amherst College Charles Edward Garman 1894 Denison University Clarence Luther Herrick 1894 University of Minnesota Harlow Stearns Gale 1894 University of the City of New York Charles Bemis Bliss 1894 Pennsylvania State University Erwin W. Runkle 1894 Wesleyan University Andrew C. Armstrong, Jr. 1894 Western Reserve University Herbert Austin Aikins 1895 Smith College William George Smith 1896 University of California George Malcolm Stratton b 1896 Wilson College Anna Jane McKeag 1897 Ohio State University Clark Wissler 1898 Bryn Mawr College James Henry Leuba a 1898 University of Texas Not identified 1899 University of Oregon Benjamin J. Hawthorne 1900 University of Maine M . C . Fernald 1900 University of Missouri Max Frederick Meyer 1900 New York University Charles Hubbard Judd b 1900 Northwestern University Walter Dill Scott b 1900 University of Wyoming June Etta Downey

Note. This information was compiled principally from Garvey (1929) and Murray and Rowe {1979). a B Studied with G. Stanley Hall. Studied with Wilhelm Wundt.

March 2000 • American Psychologist 319

Hall). P o p p l e s t o n e a n d M c P h e r s o n (1984) h a v e o b s e r v e d that t h e r e w e r e f e w e r than 50 p s y c h o l o g y l a b o r a t o r i e s w o r l d w i d e b y 1900, m a k i n g the U n i t e d S t a t e s h o m e to the g r e a t m a j o r i t y o f them.

J a m e s M c K e e n C a t t e l l was the f o u n d e r o f t w o o f those e a r l y A m e r i c a n l a b o r a t o r i e s , t h o s e at the U n i v e r s i t y o f P e n n s y l v a n i a and C o l u m b i a U n i v e r s i t y . H e was the first A m e r i c a n student to e a r n his d o c t o r a t e w i t h W u n d t in the n e w e x p e r i m e n t a l p s y c h o l o g y , finishing in 1886. A s a 2 4 – y e a r – o l d g r a d u a t e student, Cattell w r o t e to his parents, g i v i n g t h e m a n d us an i m a g e o f w h a t life was l i k e in the initial l a b o r a t o r y o f this n e w s c i e n c e :

I spend four mornings and two afternoon’s [sic] working in Wundt’s laboratory . . . . Our work is interesting. If I should ex- plain it to you you might not find it of vast importance, but we discover new facts and must ourselves invent the methods we use. We work in a new field, where others will follow us, who must use or correct our results. We are trying to measure the time it takes to perform the simplest mental a c t s – – a s for example to distinguish whether a color is blue or red. As this time seems to be not more than one hundredth of a second, you can imagine this is no easy task. (Sokal, 1981, p. 89)

T h e e a r l y p s y c h o l o g i s t s , l i k e C a t t e l l , r e c e i v e d their t r a i n i n g in p h i l o s o p h y d e p a r t m e n t s o f w h i c h the n e w ex-

p e r i m e n t a l p s y c h o l o g y was a part. W h e n t h e y l o o k e d for a c a d e m i c j o b s , those j o b s w e r e in p h i l o s o p h y , a d i s c i p l i n e that was, o f course, not a l a b o r a t o r y d i s c i p l i n e . It is not s u r p r i s i n g that m a n y u n i v e r s i t y a d m i n i s t r a t o r s w e r e reluc- tant to p r o v i d e the financial r e s o u r c e s n e c e s s a r y to e s t a b – lish, e q u i p , and m a i n t a i n t h e s e l a b o r a t o r i e s . N o d o u b t m a n y a g r e e d w i t h p h i l o s o p h e r A u g u s t C o m t e that a s c i e n c e o f m i n d was not p o s s i b l e . Thus, the n e w p s y c h o l o g i s t s f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s d e f e n d i n g the scientific nature o f t h e i r d i s c i – p l i n e and a r g u i n g that their l a b o r a t o r i e s n e e d e d m o r e s p a c e a n d e q u i p m e n t . T h e s e activities, sadly, m a y s e e m m o r e t r a d i t i o n a l than h i s t o r i c a l to m a n y p s y c h o l o g i s t s t o d a y .

T y p i c a l o f t h e s e a c a d e m i c s t r u g g l e s was the e f f o r t o f H a r r y K i r k e W o l f e to e s t a b l i s h his l a b o r a t o r y at the U n i – versity o f N e b r a s k a in 1889 (see B e n j a m i n , 1991). W o l f e , l i k e Cattell, had r e c e i v e d his d o c t o r a t e w i t h W u n d t in 1886. H e b e g a n l a b o r a t o r y w o r k at N e b r a s k a w i t h his students u s i n g m i n i m a l e q u i p m e n t that he built, b o r r o w e d f r o m o t h e r d e p a r t m e n t s , or p u r c h a s e d u s i n g funds f r o m his li- b r a r y b o o k b u d g e t (see F i g u r e 1). In his first annual r e p o r t to the regents, W o l f e a s k e d for $500 to e q u i p the l a b o r a t o r y at a m i n i m a l level. F i r s t he s t r e s s e d the l o w start-up costs, “I c a n n o t e m p h a s i z e too s t r o n g l y the n e c e s s i t y o f p r o v i d i n g s o m e f a c i l i t i e s for e x p e r i m e n t a l w o r k . . . . It is p o s s i b l e to

Figure I Laboratory of H. K. Wolfe at the University of Nebraska Circa 1896

320 M a r c h 2000 • A m e r i c a n P s y c h o l o g i s t

build up an experimental dept. in Psychology with little outlay” (Benjamin, 1993, p. 58). Then he argued for the promise o f the discipline, “No field o f scientific research offers such excellent opportunities for original work; chiefly because the soil is new” (Benjamin, 1993, p. 58).

Wolfe didn’t get any money for his laboratory, so he spent even more of his book budget for equipment and then appealed to the regents once more in his second annual report:

The scientific nature of Psychology is not so generally recog- nized . . . . The advantages offered by experimental Psychology, as a discipline in scientific methods, are not inferior to those offered by other experimental sciences. The measurement of the Quality, Quan- tity, and Time Relations of mental states is as inspiring and as good discipline as the determination of, say the percent of sugar in a beet or the variation of an electric current. (Benjamin, 1993, p. 59)

You may have noticed that W o l f e ‘ s appeals used agricul- tural metaphors and examples, devices that he perhaps believed would influence the administrators o f a largely agricultural university. He should have tried some other strategy; the university gave him no more money for his laboratory, and he received a written warning about spend- ing book money for other purposes.

Not all laboratory founders faced the resistance expe- rienced by Wolfe. By the 1890s, the founding pace accel- erated (see Table 1), and many of the new laboratories touted the excellence of their facilities in the pages of journals such as the American Journal o f Psychology and Science. It even became commonplace for the psychology laboratories to be described in the university catalogs, as was the case for the natural science laboratories. These brief published accounts usually named the person in charge o f the laboratory and included descriptions of the physical facilities, the apparatus, and sometimes the type o f work done in the laboratory. For psychologists, this mar- keting of the laboratory was important for student recruit- ment, but it was also a public statement o f the scientific legitimacy of the discipline. Psychologists could be said to be engaged in “the flaunting o f the laboratory as evidence of worthy membership in the fraternity of science” (Popplestone & McPherson, 1984, p. 197).

The proliferation o f American laboratories at the turn of the century changed the nature o f graduate education for American psychology students. Whereas before 1900 the majority had journeyed to one o f the European universities for their doctoral degrees, in the 25 years after 1904 less than 15% o f American psychologists had earned degrees from foreign universities. These new American laborato- ries, however, did not long remain the exclusive province o f graduate student training and research.

In a practice that spawned some controversy (see French, 1898; Wolfe, 1895), laboratory training was ex- tended to undergraduate students in psychology. By the first decade o f the 20th century, a year-long laboratory course in experimental psychology had become a standard part o f the curriculum for undergraduates studying psychol- ogy. To meet the needs o f undergraduate laboratory work, a number o f prominent psychologists, such as Carl Sea- shore, Edmund Sanford, Lightner Witmer, and most nota-

bly Edward B. Titchener, published textbooks for labora- tory training o f undergraduates. Titchener’s four volumes (1901-1905)–two for the instructor and two for the stu- d e n t – d e s c r i b e d nearly 100 qualitative and quantitative ex- periments that could be conducted by undergraduate students in a laboratory setting. Thus, the psychology laboratory, in its first 25 years, became fully integrated into the university, housing its community of investigators for original research and serving as a training ground for students at all levels.

In the course of the 20th century, psychology depart- ments have changed much, and the discipline of psychology has changed in ways psychologists 100 years ago could never have imagined. The psychology laboratory is still a fixture in most colleges and universities (and in many nonacademic settings), although the diverse brass instruments and specimen jars that filled the laboratory shelves have been replaced largely by a single instrument, the computer. Psychology faculty and students (both graduate and undergraduate) con- tinue to be involved in laboratory training, and laboratory investigators remain plentiful in psychology today.

Still, among psychologists at the beginning o f the new millennium, the laboratory no longer serves as an enduring motif. Within the discipline, the icon o f the laboratory and its attendant community o f scholars has been replaced by an image of clinical psychologist and client, an image, ironically, that has been the public’s perception of psychol- ogy since the rise o f psychoanalysis in America in the 1920s (Hornstein, 1992).


Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (199t). Harry Kirke Wolfe: Pioneer in psychology. Lincoln: University o f Nebraska Press.

Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (1993). A history, o f psychology in letters. Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark.

Boring, E. G. /1929). A history o f experimental psychology. New York: Century Company.

Bruce, R. V. (1987). The launching o f modern American science, 1846- 1876. lthaca, NY: Comell University Press.

Capshew, J. H. (1992). Psychologists on site: A reconnaissance o f the historiography of the laboratory. American Psychologist, 47, 132-142.

Danziger, K. (1990). Constructing the subject: Historical origins o f psy- chological research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

French, F. C. (1898). The place o f experimental psychology in the undergraduate course. Psychological Review, 5, 5 1 0 – 5 1 2 .

Garvey, C. R. (1929). List o f American psychology laboratories. Psycho- logical Bulletin, 26, 6 5 2 – 6 6 0 .

Hornstein, G. A. (1992). The return of the repressed: P s y c h o l o g y ‘ s prob- lematic relations with psychoanalysis, 1909-1960. American Psychol- ogist. 47. 2 5 4 – 2 6 3 .

Murray, F. S., & Rowe, F. B. (1979). Psychology laboratories in the United States prior to 1900. Teaching o f Psychology, 6, 1 9 – 2 1 .

Nichols, H. (1893, October). The psychological laboratory at Harvard. McClure’s Magazine, 1, 3 9 9 – 4 0 9 .

Popplestone, J. A., & McPherson, M. W. (1984). Pioneer psychology laboratories in clinical settings. In J. Brozek lEd.), Explorations in the history ~f psychology in the United States (pp. 196-272). Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.

Sokal, M. M. (1981). An education in psychology: James McKeen Cat- tell’s journal and letters from Germany and England, 1880-1888. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Titchener, E. B. (1901-1905). Experimental psychology: A manual oJ laboratory practice (Vols. l – 4 ) . New York: Macmillan.

Wolfe, H. K. (1895). The new psychology in undergraduate work. Psy- chological Review, 2, 382-387.

March 2000 • American Psychologist 321

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!
Live Chat+1(978) 822-0999EmailWhatsApp