Developmental Psychology and Society by John Sants (eds.)

By John Sants (eds.)

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Reminders of that sort can only diminish the significance of what strict scientific psychology has established. In America, in the wake of Terman and Thorndike the grand visions of genetic psychology gave way to the toughness of measurement and the parsimony of S-R psychology. Freud, Piaget and Darwin still had their followers, but 'respectable' child psychologists from the late 1930s until the late 1950s were hard at work gathering research findings about children within the framework of the learning theories of general psychology.

Men like Hall, if they have genius, stimulate followers by example and reaction. Reading him today can be more profitable than reading either 26 JOHN SANTS Terman or Thorndike, since the psychologies pioneered by the latter two were given an initial circumscribed precision which has now virtually run its course. Many, if not most, of Hall's insights and preoccupations are still outside conventional psychology and thus unsolved. His work is strewn with problems which sound interesting now, such as the possible effects of the predominance of female teachers in schools for the young.

It was the public demand for the classification of abilities, of course, which gave Terman a status in his preferred topic. The lasting influence of Hall can perhaps be seen in Terman's rejection ofWatson's exclusion of heredity, and in his beliefs in the importance of animal psychology and Freud, but his heroes in psychology were Galton and Binet. Paradoxically, it is not Binet's intelligence test which he admired but his 'originality, insight, open-mindedness and charm'. The pioneer of the assessment of intelligence in England, Spearman, also names Galton as one of his most admired predecessors.

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