Portraits of Pioneers In Psychology

Portraits of Pioneers In Psychology: Volume VIIThe series, Portraits of Pioneers In Psychology, is published under the sponsorship of the Society for General Psychology, Division 1 of the American Psychological Association. The history of the series goes back to the mid-1970s when Patricia Keith-Spiegel, Norman Weckler, Michael Wertheimer and Wilson Wilsoncroft had the idea of inviting well-known psychologists to present informal biographies of giants in the history of psychology at the conventions of the Western and Rocky Mountain Psychological Associations.

Then, in 1983, Elizabeth Scarborough developed a similar series for presentation at the APA Convention, under the joint sponsorship of Division 1 (General Psychology) and Division 26 (History of Psychology). Sometime in 1988 or 1989, the Executive Committee of Division 1 decided to publish a collection of essays based on these talks, appointing Gregory A. Kimble, Charlotte White and Michael Wertheimer as Editors of that first volume, which appeared in 1991.

Many of the chapters for Volume II, edited by Gregory Kimble, C. Alan Boneau and Michael Wertheimer, which appeared in 1996, and almost all of those for the remaining volumes, were prepared specifically for the Pioneers series.

Volumes III and IV, and V, all edited by Gregory Kimble and Michael Wertheimer, appeared in 1998, 2000 and 2003, respectively.

Volume VI, edited by Donald Dewsbury, Ludy Benjamin and Michael Wertheimer, came out in 2006.

Volume VII, edited by Wade Pickren, Donald A. Dewsbury and Michael Wertheimer, came out in 2011. 

The books in this series are published jointly by the American Psychological Association and Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. The two publishers take turns in doing the actual technical editing and publishing.

The names of several of the pioneers will be unfamiliar to you. Some of them were not, in the traditional sense, even psychologists. Their relevance and their contributions have both been lost for generations. The chapters in these books resurrect them, helping to provide a sense of continuity in the history of psychology.

Many of the authors (frequently distinguished in their own rights) are offspring, former colleagues or students of their pioneers. A special section on "Portraits of the Editors and Authors" early in each volume presents a sketch of the contributors' biographies and credentials.

The pioneers presented in these books worked on a huge range of subject matters. The Preface to each volume suggests ways in which the individual might supplement the readings assigned for topics that are commonly covered in courses in psychology. After Volume I, these connections are suggested for all volumes to that date.

There is ample supplementary material in the set, as indicated in the preface for Volume V, for courses in methodology and statistics, schools and systems, biopsychology, sensation and perception, comparative psychology and animal psychology, learning and conditioning, cognitive psychology, motivation and emotion, developmental psychology, individual differences, personality, applied psychology, psychopathology and clinical psychology, social psychology, and psychology and social issues.

The main purpose of these books, however, is to provide supplementary human-interest readings for the students and instructors in courses on "History and Systems of Psychology," "Advanced General Psychology," and, conceivably, the introductory course. Almost without exception, the chapters are easy reading and some of them introduce a note of humor now and then. A secondary purpose is to flesh out the biographical materials available to scholars of the history of psychology.

According to a review of Pioneers III in Contemporary Psychology (1999, 44, 27–29), "This volume, like the others, succeeds for those purposes. Much of it reads well, and much of the information in its pages is not readily available in other sources. [T]his volume, and the others in the series, are important source books that would enhance the reference shelves of any psychologist."