...looks back

Joan Bliss on her memories of working with the great Swiss psychologist

Larry Weiskrantz recalls the conditions surrounding a rare ‘discovery’ in psychology – response to visual stimuli without conscious perception

It is difficult to pinpoint just when the idea of blindsight first emerged, although, as is perhaps usual in such matters, there are a number of claimants. But we can date the year when the word ‘...

Peter Garrard on the uses of retrospective language analysis

Roger Smith argues that the historical story is not dispensable – it is key to being a good scientist

Henry Ford supposedly snapped: ‘History is more or less bunk.’ Ford, I think, meant that if we pay history much attention, it holds us back. Many scientists agree: better to construct knowledge,...

A peculiarly influential and controversial 1920s employment test, from Thomas Edison, by Paul Collins; plus an account of how it felt to resist Milgram.

Dean Keith Simonton examines biographical influences on composition and eminence

Chris Lerwill digs into the archives, 200 years after Darwin’s birth and 150 after the publication of On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin’s various private jottings, never intended for publication but now online at www.darwin-online.org.uk, indicate an obsession with...

Barbara Tizard on John Bowlby – the origins of his ideas, their impact and his often underestimated willingness to revise them

John Bowlby (1907–1990) first attained fame – some would say notoriety – in 1951, with the publication of his monograph Maternal Care and Mental Health. In it he presented evidence that maternal...

Is the ‘cognitive revolution’ a myth? Sandy Hobbs thinks the term is inaccurate and unhelpful; Jeremy Trevelyan Burman disagrees

Uta Frith on a couple of colourful characters – Neil O’Connor and Beate Hermelin; and Julie Perks on the Hipp Chronoscope

Everyone knows that London in the Sixties was a cool place to be, but few know that this was true not only for music, art and fashion, but also for psychology. At the Institute of Psychiatry you...

John Waller on how distress and pious fear have led to bizarre outbreaks across the ages.

The year was 1374. In dozens of medieval towns scattered along the valley of the River Rhine hundreds of people were seized by an agonising compulsion to dance. Scarcely pausing to rest or eat,...

Gustav Jahoda on the German philosopher and psychologist Johann Friedrich Herbart, and his view of the mind as a starry sky of Newtonian forces

Until the Second World War historians of psychology everywhere had high praise for Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776–1841), describing him as ‘a great thinker’ and his ideas as ‘epoch-making’. Since...

Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr revisits the promises of British practical psychology

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, the grand new bell – a mind-boggling 16 tons in weight – rang out across London from the Great Clock of Westminster for the first time on 31 May 1859....

Peter Lamont with a brief history of extraordinary psychological feats, and their relevance for our concept of psychology and science

Derren Brown is a psychological illusionist. Far from attributing his ‘mind control’ feats to paranormal abilities, he expressly rejects the existence of paranormal phenomena, and has suggested (...

Richard Howard on a psychologist who is remembered for educational testing, but whose interests covered the full gamut of individual differences

Christopher Spencer and Kate Gee take a historical look at the development of the field; and Jon Sutton examines the wilderness of the mind

Herbert A. Friedman on the why and how of an unusual form of propaganda

Following on from last month’s article, Ann Clarke and Alan Clarke reflect on their five decades of research

The story of how we ended up working at Manor Hospital begins in early autumn 1950. We were newly married, had our PhDs from the Maudsley Hospital and UCL and were looking forward to a year in...

John Hall revisits the impact of a key text on intellectual disability, 50 years after it was published

Malcolm Macmillan updates a familiar tale, 160 years after its inception

Could you survive a small crowbar passing completely through your head? Most psychologists would answer ‘Yes’: almost all of them learned that Phineas Gage did. Although Phineas’ accident occurred...

As the latest Olympics gets under way, John Kremer and Aidan Moran explore how the subdiscipline – after a few false starts – has grown ever fitter

Graham Richards reflects on William McDougall’s influential 'An Introduction to Social Psychology' (1908)

Including Elizabeth Valentine on the British Psychological Society of 1908 –?membership, meetings, publications and perennial issues; plus a report from the recent History and Philosophy of Psychology Section conference.

An expert by experience
Hugh Gault on John Thomas Perceval, a pioneer whose work for the mental health advocacy movement led to lasting improvements in mental health care

John Thomas Perceval was born in February 1803, the fifth son of 12 children. His father Spencer Perceval was killed by John Bellingham in the House of Commons on 11 May 1812. He is the only...

A phoenix rises from the Nazi book burning. Toni Brennan looks at the life of Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986)

In April 2007 a 21-minute installation ‘Everything I Need’ (Buckingham, 2007) premiered in Hampstead, London, a very short walk from the house where Sigmund Freud, fleeing the Nazi regime that had...