|Women's Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society|
Students, as part of an advanced seminar, examined and wrote about the lives of these women, their intellectual contributions, and the unique impact and special problems that being female had on their careers.
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Mary Whiton Calkins
In 1882, Calkins ventured out on her own for the first time to attend Smith College. She was forced to stay home her Junior year, though, to tutor her younger siblings after her sister1s death in 1884. Then, as her mother1s mental and physical health began to deteriorate, Calkins took on increased responsibilities for her younger siblings, as well as her mother. During her year home, she opted to study Greek, which was a supplement to her classics major. Finally, upon receiving degrees in both philosophy and the classics in 1885, she returned home in order to join her family on a yearlong excursion to Europe. While studying languages on the trip in such institutions as the University in Leipzig, Mary decided that she would return home and tutor students in Greek. Abby Leach, an instructor from Vassar, was introduced to Calkins while in Europe and encouraged her to pursue a teaching career. When September 1887 rolled around, Calkins1 tutoring plans were altered; she was granted the chance to teach Greek at Wellesley College, a women1s college that was located close to her family1s home (Furumoto, 1980).
Calkins proved her teaching skills while she instructed students in the fields of Greek, psychology, and philosophy. That, paired with her interest in philosophy, allowed Calkins to be appointed to a newly created position in the experimental psychology department of Wellesley, though she had had no training in psychology (Furumoto, 1980). Since many schools did not even admit women as students at that time, petitions were made before she was hired and she had to agree to hold the job for one year. She also had to further her education, attending Clark University for psychology and Harvard University for philosophy. Special arrangements were made for her to attend seminars under Edmund C. Sanford at Clark University and William James and Josiah Royce at Harvard.
By 1891, Calkins had set up a psychological laboratory and had also introduced scientific psychology to the Wellesley1s curriculum. From 1892 to 1895, she attended Harvard University in addition to teaching. After she was enrolled in William James1s seminar, four men enrolled in the class dropped it in protest. Attendance in the seminar led to individual study with James, and within a year Calkins had published a paper on association, suggesting a modification to James1s recently published Principles of Psychology. Her paper was enthusiastically received by her mentor, who referred to it when he later revised his book. She also found herself studying in the psychological laboratory of Harvard under Hugo Munsterberg investigating the factors influencing memory (Hilgard, 1987). During her return to school, her research in this area led to her invention of the paired-associate technique.
Still, she was a "guest" at Harvard, as women could not officially register; Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard, believed strongly that the two sexes should be educated separately. Although she completed all of the requirements for the Ph.D., including passing exams, and though her Harvard professors recommended her for the degree, she was denied the honor simply because she was a woman (Furumoto, 1980). James was astonished, calling her performance "the most brilliant examination for the Ph.D. that we have had at Harvard" (Hilgard, 1987). When Radcliffe, Harvard1s college for women, offered her a degree, Calkins politely turned down the offer, citing the fact that she had done the work at Harvard. This gesture made Calkins one of the first four women to be offered the Ph.D., as Radcliffe College did not open its doors until April, 1902.
Calkins spent her entire career at Wellesley College teaching and publishing in the areas of both psychology and philosophy. She became a full professor in 1898, a position she held until her retirement. When ten leading psychologists were asked to rank their colleagues in order of merit regarding the importance of their work in 1903, Calkins was listed as twelfth out of fifty (Furumoto, 1980). By 1905, her reputation led to her being named president of the American Psychological Association. Then, in 1918, she became president of the American Philosophical Society. She also received honorary degrees from Columbia University in 1910 and from Smith, her alma mater, in 1910. Finally, she was elected to honorary membership in the British Psychological Association in 1928.
Fifty-four students worked under Calkins in the laboratory in 1891-1892. They dissected sheep1s brains and conducted studies on sensation, association, attention, space perception, memory, and reaction time. In 1892, G. Stanley Hall, editor of the American Journal of Psychology, asked Calkins to write an article describing her experimental psychology course. She reported that she used simple experiments to provide first-hand material for the study of a number of topics. For several years she wrote a series of articles reporting the results of experiments conducted by herself and her students. Their studies covered a broad spectrum of topics including dreams, psychological aesthetics, synesthesia, and children1s emotional life, moral consciousness, stories, and drawings (Furumoto, 1980).
In less than ten years, Calkins had set up a laboratory, trained hundreds of students in psychological research, and communicated to journals a vast number of findings collected by her students. By 1900, though, her interests moved more towards psychological theory and psychology.
After looking at the 205 dreams collected by Calkins and the 170 dreams recorded by Sanford, they concluded that an average of four dreams could be recorded each night. Also, Calkins1 major find was that there was a close connection between the dream life and the waking life. She stated that a dream was a reproduction of the persons, places, and events of a recent sense perception (Furumoto, 1980).
In 1892, Sanford reported the findings of Calkins and of his other students at Clark University to the first annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. In 1983, Calkins published her own account of her investigation. Forty years later, Calkins was seemingly embarrassed by her dream research, as it was in opposition to the newly- accepted Freudian view of dreams. She humbly stated that her findings were simply aimed at the manifest content of dreams; she felt that others1 research was more detailed and accurate. Freud, however, praised Calkins1 research and that of her students, Florence Hallam and Sarah Weed. Calkins1 findings that dreams had content traceable to either external or organic stimuli and her students1 findings on the relative proportions of disagreeable and pleasurable dreams were backed by Freud (Furumoto, 1980).
In the 19801s. When Freudian dream analysis was attacked because of its emphasis on hidden meanings, Calkins1 work with dreams became central. Dream researchers in the neurosciences praised her efforts.
A paper expressing her view that psychology is a science of the self was published in 1900. Criticism and objections by others immediately followed. She answered her criticisms in her 1905 presidential address at the American Psychological Association meeting and in subsequent papers (Zusne, 1984).
Calkins credited her emphasis on the social nature of the self to the influence of James Baldwin and Josiah Royce. William James and James Ward were also mentioned as influences on her self-doctrine. Hugo Munsterberg, finally, was acknowledged as the influence for her conception of the double standpoint in psychology, in which she claimed that every experience may be treated alike from the atomistic and the self-psychological standpoint (Furumoto, 1980). This was later dismissed when Calkins discovered single- track self-psychology.
Calkins1 transition from the dual to the single standpoint are highlighted in her books. In 1901, An Introduction to Psychology called psychology a science of succeeding mental events and of the conscious self. In 1909, Calkins dropped the double treatment in A First Book in Psychology (Furumoto, 1980). Its main theme was the blending of conceptions of psychology of the self and psychology of succeeding mental events into a single conceptual framework (Zusne, 1984). Calkins1 concept of the psychic element and the doctrine of rational elements of experience also appear in her other books.
Calkins1 first presentation of her self-psychology in 1900, then, was a departure from the classical school. For thirty years, she developed her system without altering her initial position. She did, however, clarify it, modify it, and defend it. The reality and importance of selves in everyday experiences was important to her.
Calkins expressed her principal ideas in her books The Persistent Problems in Philosophy in 1907 and The Good Man and The Good in 1918. The universe, she said, contained distinct mental realities. Furthermore, though the mind emerged from a lower level of existence, it no longer belonged to that level, but rather to a new order of existence which had special laws of behavior. These mental realities were ultimately personal, as consciousness never occurred impersonally (Hilgard, 1987).
Calkins published an autobiography in 1930. Much of the book was aimed at converting psychologists into self-psychologists. She hoped to steer others away from Wundt and Titchener and their focus on elemental sensations, emotions, and images. Calkins came to regard the classical system as inadequate because it excluded from its subject matter psychological phenomena that she considered basic. She thought that classical psychologists were out of touch.