G. Stanley Hall bigraphy, stories - Psychologists

G. Stanley Hall : biography

February 1, 1844 - April 24, 1924

Granville Stanley Hall (February 1, 1844 – April 24, 1924) was a pioneering American psychologist and educator. His interests focused on childhood development and evolutionary theory. Hall was the first president of the American Psychological Association and the first president of Clark University.




Born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, Hall graduated from Williams College in 1867, then studied at the Union Theological Seminary. Inspired by Wilhelm Wundt's Principles of Physiological Psychology, in 1878 he earned his doctorate in psychology under William James at Harvard University, the first psychology doctorate awarded in AmericaThorne, B. Micheal & Henley, Tracy B. (2001). Connections in the History and Systems of Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 061804535. After Hall graduated with his doctorate, there were no academic jobs available in psychology, so he went to Europe to study at the University of Berlin, and spent a brief time in Wundt's Leipzig laboratory in 1879.

He began his career by teaching English and philosophy at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and then teaching history of philosophy at Williams College in Massachusetts. Following successful lecture series and Harvard and Johns Hopkins University, Hall secured a position in the philosophy department at Johns Hopkins, teaching psychology and pedagogy. He remained at Johns Hopkins from 1882–1888 and, in 1883, began what is considered by some to be the first formal American psychology laboratory. There, Hall objected vehemently to the emphasis on teaching traditional subjects, e.g., Latin, mathematics, science and history, in high school, arguing instead that high school should focus more on the education of adolescents than on preparing students for college.

New discipline of psychology

In 1887, Hall founded the American Journal of Psychology, and in 1892 was appointed as the first president of the American Psychological Association. In 1889 he was named the first president of Clark University, a post he filled until 1920. During his 31 years as president, Hall remained intellectually active. He was instrumental in the development of educational psychology, and attempted to determine the effect adolescence has on education. He was also responsible for inviting Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to visit and deliver a lecture series in 1909 at the Clark Conference. Hall and Freud shared the same beliefs on sex and adolescence. Hall promised Freud an Honorary Degree from Clark University. This was Freud's first and only visit to America. It was the biggest conference held at Clark University. It was the most controversial conference because Freud's research was based on non-scientific theories, which Hall's colleagues criticized.

In 1917, Hall published a book on religious psychology, "Jesus the Christ in the Light of Psychology." The book was written in two volumes to define Jesus Christ in psychological terms. This was his least successful work. In 1922, at the age of 78, he published the book "Senescence," a book on aging.

Group photo 1909 in front of [[Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, Granville Stanley Hall, C. G. Jung; back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.]]

Darwin's theory of evolution and Ernst Haeckel's recapitulation theory were large influences on Hall's career. These ideas prompted Hall to examine aspects of childhood development in order to learn about the inheritance of behavior. The subjective character of these studies made their validation impossible. He believed that as children develop, their mental capabilities resemble those of their ancestors and so they develop over a lifetime the same way that species develop over aeons.^ Wegner, Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, Daniel M. (2010). Psychology (2nd ed. ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4-292-3719-2. His work also delved into controversial portrayals of the differences between women and men, as well as the concept of racial eugenics. Hall believed that men and women should be separated into their own schools during puberty because it allowed them to be able to grow within their own gender. Women could be educated with motherhood in mind and the men could be educated in more hands on projects, helping them to become leaders of their homes. Hall believed that schools with both sexes limited the way they could learn and softened the boys earlier than they should be. "It is a period of equilibrium, but with the onset of puberty the equilibrium is disturbed and new tendencies arise. Modifications in the reproductive organs take place and bring about secondary sexual characteristics. Extroversion gives way slowly to introversion, and more definitely social instincts begin to play an increasing role."

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