The Rise of Experimentation in American Psychology

edited by Jill G. Morawski

View Inside Price: $60.00

September 10, 1988
244 pages, 6 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300041538

Laboratory experiments are the principal tools used by psychologists to formulate and test their theories of how the human mind works, yet few histories of psychology have studied the experimental method and how it has changed over time.  In this book then distinguished scholars explore the rapid rise and spread of the experimental method from its origins in the early decades of the century.  They deal with such topics as the first efforts to bring number and quantification into psychology; who the subjects of early experiments were and how experimenters and subjects related to each other; famous psychologists such as Lewis Terman and Edward Titchener; and how experimental strategies were extended beyond the laboratory to the larger spaces of everyday life.  The book concludes with two essays that discuss contemporary concerns regarding psychological experimentation.   

"This volume adds a significant new dimension to the attempts of social thinkers to replace foundationalist views of scientific knowledge with a social epistemology—to replace rationality with sociality. . . . Represents a bold and invigorating expansion of inquiry into a vital domain."—Kenneth J. Gergen, Contemporary Sociology

"The book demonstrates that social values of experimenters often have influenced experimental outcomes. . . . [This book] could be useful supplemental reading for graduate courses in social and experimental psychology or for general readers interested in social influences on scientific work."—Allan G. Barclay, Science Books and Films

"Worth reading. All raise questions about the traditional view of experimentation and quantification as the royal road to progress in scientific knowledge in psychology."—M. Brewster Smith, READINGS: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health

"Together these essays yield a rich examination of the effect of experimentation on the profession and the development of the experiment as a respected method of psychological inquiry."—Joanne Abel Goldman, American Studies