A little more than a century ago, psychology was transformed from philosophical discourse to laboratory science. Within the span of a mere ten years, the content of textbooks on psychology changed from treatises on moral and mental philosophy to coverage of the “new psychology” with its laboratory methods derived from psychophysics and physiology. Not surprisingly, this rapid metamorphosis caused problems for the new psychology and the new psychologists. My research program as a historian of psychology has focused on some of the problems of this transformation as the new psychology sought to:
•Establish research laboratories
•Apply its new laboratory methods outside the university, especially in business
•Develop professional organizations
•Create public understanding of the new psychology and its potential applications.
The efforts of psychologists to promote their science to the public and public understanding of psychology continue to be central themes of much of my work.
Green, C. D., & Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (Eds.) (2009). Psychology gets in the game: Sport, mind, and behavior, 1880-1960. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Benjamin, L. T., Jr., & Simpson, J. A. (2009). The power of the situation: The impact of Milgram’s obedience studies on personality and social psychology. American Psychologist, 64, 12-19.