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Objectivity and Trained Judgment: Toward an ethnography of experimental psychology

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | April 21 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Emily Martin, New York University

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Historians of psychology have described how the "introspection" of early Wundtian psychology largely came to be ruled out of experimental psychology settings by the mid-20th century. In this talk I will take a fresh look at the years before this process was complete -- from the vantage point of early ethnographic and psychological field expeditions and from observing several current psychology labs. I will discuss the importance of the psychological research conducted during and after the 1898 Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits Islands (CAETS) in the history of anthropology and psychology and explore some possible ways of approaching experimental cognitive psychology ethnographically. The focus will be on the ways ‘practice trials’ in contemporary experiments complicate the ideal of objectivity. Surprisingly much of Wundt’s approach remains with us today.


nrterranova@yahoo.com