Monitor on Psychology - November 2011 - (Page 30)

capsule tIme Multimedia 1890s How the magic lantern came to America’s psychology classrooms and attracted students to the then-burgeoning field. By lAuRENCE D. SMith t he college classroom has long been an important venue for conveying psychology to the public, and instructors and lecturers have relied on various instructional technologies over time to facilitate its teaching. In recent years, the use of computers to project attentiongrabbing visual displays has become a routine part of students’ daily immersion or electric bulb) that transilluminated large glass slides bearing images that were projected through lenses onto large cloth screens. Some versions, such as the “episcope,” could project laboratory instruments such as kymographs and other opaque objects onto screens, thus allowing instructors to present live scientific phenomena to large audiences. In the late 19th century, Leipzig, Germany, became a mecca for students However proud we may be of our colorful PowerPoint “slides” — a term curiously carried over from the magic lantern era — we should remember that the idea of multimedia is new in name but not in concept. in electronic media. As reported in one recent Monitor article, the best way to engage today’s undergraduates is to “make your class multimedia” (March Monitor, page 61). But multimedia instruction has a long history. Prominent among the historical precursors of today’s PowerPoint presentations is the “magic lantern,” which came into wide use in classrooms of the late 19th century. An early sort of slide projector dating to the 17th century, the magic lantern contained a light source (a gas flame 30 who wanted to study the nascent science of psychology under Wilhelm Wundt. But the city was also renowned as a center of magic lantern technology, including its use in science education. Wundt’s first American student, G. Stanley Hall, reported in 1879 that lecture rooms there had been converted into “a sort of theatre ... where the lecturer is mainly occupied in describing his curves and instruments, and signalling assistants, who darken the room, then throw electric lights ... upon mirrors [and] through lenses” to project images onto large screens. In some lectures, he continued, graphical tracings of complex biological phenomena were etched one minute onto smoked glass, then “shown the next minute to an audience magnified upon the screen of a magic lantern.” Leipzig was blessed with a specially designed amphitheater — the Spectatorium — that seated 400 students and featured multiple screens which, like theater sets, could be raised from the floor or dropped from the ceiling, ready to receive images from any of several lanterns. Instructors and their graduate assistants devoted much time to organizing lectures around extravagant displays using the new media of the 1870s. Among the more dramatic demonstrations in Leipzig — produced by the eminent physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond and others — was the extraction of a live frog heart, which was projected on a giant screen and perfused so that students could observe details of the pumping action. As Du Bois-Reymond declared in 1877, the lecture hall had become “a show stage (Schaubuehne) for natural phenomena.” Among the Wundt-trained psychologists who subsequently used magic lanterns in America were Hugo Münsterberg at Harvard and E.B. Titchener at Cornell. But it was Edward Scripture at Yale who became the lantern’s outspoken advocate in psychology. Having immersed himself in the Leipzig scene and earned M o n i to r o n p s yc h o l o g y • n ov e M b e r 2 0 1 1

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

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011
President’s Column
Guest Column
‘Grand Challenges’ offers blueprint for mental health research
Documentary seeks to reach parents of LGBT kids
Treating veterans will cost at least $5 billion by 2020
Selfless volunteering might lengthen your life
Combat and stress up among U.S. military in Afghanistan
South Africa to host international psychology conference
Study uncovers a reason behind sex differences in mental illness
Navy psychologist gives a voice to combat trauma
In Brief
Psychologist suicide
On Your Behalf
Journey back to Heart Mountain
Psychology is key to pain management, report finds
ACT goes international
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Time Capsule
Science Watch
Behavior change in 15-minute sessions?
Health-care reform 2.0
Perspective on Practice
Giving a heads up on concussion
Practice Profile
Searching for meaning
Inspiring young researchers
Aging, with grace
Public Interest
Thank you!
APA News
Division Spotlight
American Psychological Foundation
The man who gave Head Start a start

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011