Monitor on Psychology - September 2011 - (Page 26)

capsule tIme The little-known roots of the cognitive revolution Nazism and academic infighting hampered Otto Selz’s early cognitive research. Joachim Hoffmann By MiChAEL PRiCE Monitor staff any psychologists rightly credit the likes of George A. Miller, PhD, Noam Chomsky, PhD, and Allen Newell, PhD, with kick-starting cognitive sciences in the academic world. But few are aware that earlier psychologists laid its groundwork during behaviorism’s heyday. And fewer still know that one of its more pre-eminent forebears, Otto Selz, PhD, was killed by the Nazi regime at the height of his career. Selz, a Jewish German psychologist born in 1881 in Munich, studied philosophy at the influential University of Wurzburg in central Germany. At the time, German schools of psychology were experimenting with ways to examine introspection and conscious thought, and Selz became consumed with finding psychological answers to philosophical questions of consciousness. Behaviorism — the reigning approach to experimental psychology of its day — couldn’t bring much to the discussion. To most behaviorists, people operated by learning from previous associations. That couldn’t explain what Selz and his colleagues saw as humans’ very goal-directed and creative ways of problem solving. Selz began to lay the foundation for cognitive research in a series of experiments he and his colleagues conducted from 1910 to 1915. They asked participants to explain their problem-solving thought processes 26 m As a Jewish researcher, otto Selz was targeted by the nazis. Monitor on psychology • septeMber 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - September 2011

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011
President’s Column
From the CEO
Supreme Court hears psychologists on prison and video game cases
Antipsychotics are overprescribed in nursing homes
New MCAT likely to recognize the mind-body connection
A $2 million boost for military and families
In Brief
On Your Behalf
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Speaking of Education
An uncertain future for American workers
Advocating for psychotherapy
Seared in our memories
Helping kids cope in an uncertain world
APA and Nickelodeon team up
Muslims in America, post 9/11
Bin Laden’s death
‘They expect us to be there’
Answering the call of public policy
Candidates answer final questions
APA News
Division Spotlight
New leaders
Disaster relief training
Honoring teaching excellence

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011