generation francophone psychology
1918, Jean Piaget (1896–1980) turned away from his early training in Natural
History and began post-doctoral work in psychoanalysis in Zurich. In 1919, he
moved to Paris to work at the Binet-Simon Lab. However, Binet had died in 1911
and Simon lived and worked in Rouen. His supervision therefore came
(indirectly) from Pierre Janet, Binet's old rival and a professor at the
Collège de France.
job in Paris was relatively simple: to use the statistical techniques he had
learned as a natural historian, studying molluscs, to standardize Cyril Burt's
intelligence test for use with French children. Yet without direct supervision,
he soon found a remedy to this boring work: exploring why children made the
mistakes they did. Applying his early training in psychoanalytic interviewing,
Piaget began to intervene directly with the children: "Why did you do
that?" (etc.) It was from this that the ideas formalized in his later
stage theory first emerged.
1921, Piaget moved to Geneva to work with Edouard Claparède at the Rousseau
1936, Piaget received his first honorary doctorate from Harvard.
1955, the International Center for Genetic Epistemology was founded: an
interdisciplinary collaboration of theoreticians and scientists, devoted to the
study of topics related to Piaget's theory.
1969, Piaget received the "distinguished scientific contributions"
award from the American Psychological Association.
Chomsky's (1957) review of Skinner's book Verbal Behavior (that aimed to
explain language acquisition in a behaviorist framework) is considered one of
the major theoretical challenges to the type of radical behaviorism that
Skinner taught. Chomsky showed that language could not be learned solely from
the sort of operant conditioning that Skinner postulated. Chomsky's argument
was that people could produce an infinite variety of sentences unique in
structure and meaning and that these could not possibly be generated solely
through experience of natural language. As an alternative, he concluded that
there must be internal mental structures - states of mind of the sort that
behaviorism rejected as illusory. Similarly, work by Albert Bandura showed that
children could learn by social observation, without any change in overt
behaviour, and so must be accounted for by internal representations.
rise of computer technology also promoted the metaphor of mental function as
information processing. This, combined with a scientific approach to studying
the mind, as well as a belief in internal mental states, led to the rise of
cognitivism as the dominant model of the mind.
between brain and nervous system function were also becoming common, partly due
to the experimental work of people like Charles Sherrington and Donald Hebb,
and partly due to studies of people with brain injury (see cognitive
neuropsychology). With the development of technologies for accurately measuring
brain function, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience have become some of
the most active areas in contemporary psychology.
the increasing involvement of other disciplines (such as philosophy, computer
science, and neuroscience) in the quest to understand the mind, the umbrella
discipline of cognitive science has been created as a means of focusing such
efforts in a constructive way.