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November 21 , 2010

Psychology Gone Astray

A Selection of Racist & Sexist Literature from Early Psychological Research


In the relatively short history of psychology as a science, our understanding of human behavior, cognition, emotion, and perception has moved forward in leaps and bounds. This knowledge is frequently applied today to help make improvements in people’s lives, from more effective therapies for the mentally ill to educational strategies to increased work productivity.

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But if we step back in time only a few decades, we find psychologists playing a key role in a very different effort: the attempt to support racist and sexist attitudes and policies with results from experiments and other forms of research. This book provides a window into this period, reprinting over 20 journal articles from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with commentary from noted educators Abramson and Lack. Will we continue to twist science to fit our preformed beliefs or can we learn from the mistakes of our past?

"This is an important contribution to the literature in psychology regarding a very uncomfortable time in our history. I applaud the authors for taking on this challenging topic and shining light on this dark time in the history of social science.” - Dr. Robert Mather, Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Central Oklahoma

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