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Laboratory Science

Laboratory Science

(p.40) Chapter Two Laboratory Science
Becoming Mead
Daniel R. Huebner
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 traces George Herbert Mead's education in laboratory sciences, especially at the University of Berlin, and his exposure to controversies in psychology. He had a detailed, hands-on training in a variety of forms of scientific research in both his undergraduate and graduate work. In the latter, he was even one of a few advanced students who worked as assistants in the experimental psychology laboratory at Berlin. When he took up his first professional position at the University of Michigan, he designed unique scientific examinations that could inform his emerging theoretical perspective, including experiments on higher mental functions, preparation of neurological specimens, study of animal behavior, and examination of hypnotic suggestion. The chapter identifies how Mead's well-known social psychology bears the imprint of his earlier rigorous scientific investigation in physiological and comparative psychology. These findings demonstrate the incongruity between an understanding of knowledge production as progressing rationally and one based on meandering experiments and problems.

Keywords:   George Herbert Mead, laboratory, experiment, physiological psychology, psychophysics, comparative psychology, Hermann Ebbinghaus, hypnotism

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