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Research Heymans Institute Expertise groups Theory and History of Psychology


The expertise group Theory and History of Psychology undertakes interdisciplinary studies on the role that psychology plays in contemporary society. On the one hand this is done through the critical exploration of the basic assumptions underlying psychological knowledge and research. And on the other hand, it’s done by analysing how the discipline has been defined and redefined—originally as “the science of the soul,” then “of behaviour” and “of mind” and “brain” (and other things besides)—leading to the psychologization of society and producing profound changes in our understanding of human and animal nature.

The members of the department work in close connection with researchers and groups at other research institutions and universities, including the University of Utrecht (Forensic Cultures), Amsterdam UMC (Medical Ethics), Pharmacopsychology at the University Clinics Zurich, Université de Lausanne, Université de Genève (Archives Jean Piaget), Centre Alexandre-Koyré (Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques, CNRS, Paris), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Institute for History of Science, history of science), York University (Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology), Fio-Cruz of Casa Oswaldo Cruz (Rio de Janeiro) (History of Health Sciences), CONICET and UBA (Buenos Aires, Argentina) (History of Psychology).

We also serve on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences (Mülberger & Derksen), History of Psychology (Mülberger & Burman), Theory & Psychology (Mülberger & Derksen), New Ideas in Psychology (Burman), Review of General Psychology (Burman), Dynamis (Mülberger).

Currently the research topics of the group are:

  • Science Communication
  • Histories of Human Engineering
  • Intelligence and Meritocracy: Testing in the 20th century
  • Replication rises in psychological research, laboratory practices, and open science
  • Neuroethics and Neurolaw
  • Theory and History of Psychiatry
  • Theory and History of Developmental Psychology
  • Methods of Critical Digital History
Last modified:06 November 2020 11.25 a.m.