The Archives for the History of American Psychology, housed at UA as part of the Center for the History of Psychology, are an affiliate of the Smithsonian and considered by many a national treasure. In 2005, the New York Times wrote a flattering profile of the archives, calling it “psychology’s attic” and a “beacon for historians around the world.” Visit the archives’ Web site.
Scholars from around the nation talk about the archives:
“In the first 80 years of American psychology, ethnic minorities were largely invisible in Psychology. Recently under the leadership of Dr. David Baker, the Archives of the History of American Psychology has sought to correct this glaring omission by highlighting the creative, strength-oriented contributions of ethnic psychologists through conferences, publications and inclusion into the historical record.”
Joseph L. White, Ph.D.,
University of California, Irvine
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry
“One of the wisest things we have ever done happened early in the life of the Association for Psychological Science. We designated the Archives of the History of American Psychology as our official archives. One of our founding tenets is to re-connect today’s scientific psychology to its historic traditions. The Archives of the History of American Psychology is the place to go to learn about that history.”
Alan G. Kraut, Ph.D., Executive Director,
Association for Psychological Science
“I want to provide my strong and enthusiastic support for the Archive of the History of American Psychology. As you may know psychology, relative to some other fields is not a very old discipline, but we still have a very rich, exciting and vibrant history. The archives is really the place for preserving that history for future generations of students, psychologists and the general public.”
Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D.
CEO, American Psychological Association
“The AHAP is psychology’s Smithsonian. It has become the collective memory of psychology in America both with its extensive archival materials and in its growing museum collection. Without the AHAP a vast amount of historical documents and memorabilia would simply have disappeared.”
Rand Evans, Ph.D.,
East Carolina University
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
Without this incredible resource, the history of psychology as narrative and as a research domain would be woefully impoverished. So much has happened at Akron in these first 40 years. What will the next 40 bring?
Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., Texas A&M University
The word “unique” is often misused these days. However, the resources made available to scholars in Akron are truly unique. Nowhere else in the world is there a collection of materials so substantial and representing so many psychologists of so many different stripes as in Akron. It is almost impossible to do top-notch work in the field without at least occasional visits to Akron. Less often mentioned is the service to the donors. As psychologists wind down their careers, the tasks of closing offices and discarding materials that have defined careers for many years is a difficult one. Knowledge that the materials will be safely preserved is a great service to the field. The next 40 years should be as valuable as the past 40. Strong support is required for this truly unique resource.
Donald A. Dewsbury, University of Florida
The AHAP is psychology’s Smithsonian. It has become the collective memory of psychology in America both with its extensive archival materials and in its growing museum collection. Without the AHAP a vast amount of historical documents and memorabilia would simply have disappeared.
Rand Evans, East Carolina University
The discipline and profession of psychology needs continuing access to the ever accumulating documents of its history, to support its unending reassessment of its problems. By providing such access, the Archives are a unique resource for American (and world) psychology.
M. Brewster Smith, Professor Emeritus,
Univ. of Cal at Santa Cruz
As the world’s largest depository of documents, instruments, films, and other items relevant to the history of psychology, the AHAP is a unique resource that has for many years contributed enormously to the quantity--and quality--of scholarship in the history of psychology--not only American psychology, but world psychology.
Michael Wertheimer, Professor Emeritus,
Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
Above: Dr. David Baker discusses the new Center for the History of Psychology at The University of Akron. Baker is the Margaret Clark Morgan Director of UA's Archives of the History of American Psychology and a professor of psychology at UA.
Students, researchers and the public can experience the rich history of psychology in a museum setting at The University of Akron’s new Center for the History of Psychology (CHP).
Dr. David Baker
“Psychology is a discipline in which everyone has an innate interest,” says Dr. David Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology and professor of psychology. “The CHP will provide an opportunity to showcase the wealth of treasures we have in our collection.”
These treasures include:
The CHP is housed in the refurbished former Roadway Express records building at the corner of College and Mill streets on the UA campus. It comprises three areas:
The Smithsonian-affiliated AHAP, founded at UA in 1965, holds some of the nation’s most famous psychology artifacts. Researchers from around the world regularly visit UA to examine the archive’s materials, the largest collection of its kind. AHAP’s previous home in the basement of UA’s Polsky Building offered a scant 10,000 square feet for the continuously expanding collection, necessitating off-site storage.
“Simply put, we needed more space,” explains Baker.
The new 75,000 square-foot, four-floor building has space for ample storage, administrative offices, an exhibit gallery to showcase the collection and a reading room where students and visiting scholars can complete research involving the collections.
“Current funding allows us to move in and get established on the first floor, but we have design plans for every floor of the building and will expand as funds become available,” says Baker. “The new space will allow us to showcase more of our materials in an accessible setting, drive interest in the science and practice of psychology and promote the importance of historical understanding.”
The creation of the CHP was made possible with the support of a number of foundations, individuals and corporations. The building itself was a gift from Roadway Express, the design study funding came from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, and an initial gift from Dr. Nicholas and Mrs. Dorothy Cummings allowed the first phase of construction to begin.
For more information about visiting the Center for the History of Psychology at The University of Akron, call 330-972-7285.
Do children learn aggressive behavior through imitation? In the early 1960s, social psychologist Albert Bandura tried to answer this question in a series of experiments using inflatable “Bobo” dolls.
Children watched an adult kick, punch, and yell at a Bobo Doll. The researchers then watched how the children behaved when they were given an opportunity to interact with the same doll. Would the children imitate the aggressive behavior of the adult?
The researchers found that children readily imitated the adult’s behavior. Children who saw the adult punch and kick the Bobo doll exhibited twice as many aggressive behaviors as a second group of children that watched the adult model playing quietly with other toys.
These findings were important in 1960s America, when lawmakers, broadcasters and the general public debated the effects of television violence on the behavior of children.
These findings continue to be relevant, with researchers, parents and the media considering the effects of video game violence on childhood development.
The doll displayed at The University of Akron is from the original experiments done by Bandura and his colleagues.
In 1961, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram developed a set of experiments that resulted in some disturbing findings on people’s willingness to obey orders given to them by others.
Subjects were instructed to give ever-increasing shocks to a “learner” in a teaching experiment. The subjects did not know the shocks were not real and that the learner was working with the researchers to study obedience.
Milgram was stunned to find that 65% of subjects fully complied with the experimenter’s directives to deliver shocks to an innocent victim. The study, one of the most profound of the 20th century, raised important questions about the nature of evil and the human potential to follow orders regardless of the cost.
In August of 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo set out to examine the psychology of prison life and the ways in which ordinary individuals adapt to roles of authority and submission.
Zimbardo and his colleagues set up a mock prison in the basement of a building on the Stanford University campus. College student volunteers were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners. After being arrested by the Palo Alto police at their homes, the “prisoners” donned smocks and an ankle chain to be worn at all times. They were also given prisoner ID numbers; use of their real names was not allowed.
The “guards” were given khaki uniforms, dark sunglasses, whistles and billy clubs. They were told to maintain order in the prison without resorting to physical violence.
By the second day, the guards had adapted to their roles, using psychological tactics to demean and control the prisoners. The prisoners became submissive, stressed and depressed. Guards and prisoners forgot that they were in an experiment and began to believe that they were truly in prison.
The experiment was supposed to continue for two weeks but was ended after only six days because of the negative effects it was having on the student volunteers.
The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of the most well known social psychology experiments of the 20th century. It demonstrates the power of situational factors and has been used to make sense of real world events such as the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In 1943, husband and wife team Keller and Marian Breland, two of B. F. Skinner’s first graduate students, launched Animal Behavior Enterprises, a company that specialized in training animals for advertising and entertainment. The Brelands used behavioral principles of operant conditioning, including basic repetition and reward, to train more than 140 different species to perform complicated behaviors.
Animals trained by the Brelands were used in animal shows and advertisements. General Mills used the animals to promote a brand of animal feed and the animals also made appearances at county fairs.
In 1955 the couple relocated to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where they set up a training laboratory as well as the popular tourist attraction, the IQ Zoo. From 1955 until 1990, tourists could play tic-tac-toe against a chicken, watch raccoons play basketball, or see a duck play the piano.
For 10 cents, visitors could see “Mr. Romeo Rabbit,” the kissing bunny or “Charlie Chance,” the rabbit that could guess a number chosen by visitors.
Upon Keller Breland’s death in 1965, Marian continued to operate the IQ Zoo. She and her second husband, Bob Bailey, operated Animal Behavior Enterprises until 1990, when the IQ Zoo closed permanently. In less than 50 years, they trained more than 15,000 animals and their training methods continue to be used by animal trainers today.
A banner at the site of The Center for the History of Psychology in a photo taken earlier this summer.
Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.