Bibliographyon Mary WhitonCalkins
Bibliographyon Mary WhitonCalkins
MaryWhitonCalkins was an American psychologists and philosopher who madenotable contributions to the field of psychology. Mary was born on30th March, 1863 in Hartford, Connecticut. She was the first born ina family of five siblings. Her family was tightly knit together, andher life revolved around them (Connell& Russo, 1990).In 1880, her family shifted to Massachusetts a place where they wouldspend their entire life. Here, Mary began her education. In 1882, shejoined Smith College where she studied for a year, but took a yearoff in 1883 after her sister’s death. Nevertheless she studied athome, including taking Greek lessons while tutoring tow of herbrothers. In 1984, she returned to Smith College where she graduatedthe same year with a concentration in classics and philosophy.
Aftergraduating, her family went for a vacation to Europe, where Calkinstook advantage and toured Greece studying Modern Greek and classics.After returning back home to Massachusetts, she secured a teachingjob in the Greek department at Wellesley College. After three yearsof teaching Greek in the college, she was given a chance to teach inpsychology in condition that she took psychology for a year. Sheaccepted the proposal and started pursuing psychology. She was laterinvited to Harvard by William James to attend his lectures in 1890.She wanted to be formally registered for a course, but she was onlyallowed as a guest later in 1892 (Connell& Russo, 1990).Although during her time women were given opportunities to study andeven teach in colleges, she faced inequality in her studies andcareer.
Whilein Harvard, Calkins studied memory and discovered paired-associationstests. These tests enabled her to conclude that stimuli that werejoined to other clear stimuli would be easily recalled. In addition,she discovered that the length of exposure to stimuli led to bettermemory. Her findings were later used by Edward B. Titchener andGeorge Elias Muller without giving credit to her. In 1895, Calkinspresented her thesis to the graduate committee that included JosiahRoyce, Hugo Munsterberg and William James (AmericanPsychological Association, n.d).Her thesis was “An experimental research on the association ofideas”. Her thesis was undisputed by the committee, but Harvarddenied Calkins the degree she had rightfully and successfully earned(Connell& Russo, 1990). She did not give up she returned to her home city and startedteaching at Wellesley College where she lectured until her retirementin 1927. At Wellesley College, she rose through her career inpsychology as a professor of Psychology to an Associate Professor, toa Professor and finally earned the title of Research Professor untilher death in 1929 (AmericanPsychological Association, n.d).
Calkinsmade significant contributions in the field of psychology. Herinvention of the paired association approach and work in selfpsychology remain critical in modern psychology. Her inventionsformed the basis for many scholars to explore memory. In 1905,Calkins was elected to the position of the President of the AmericanPsychological Association (APA) making her the first woman to holdthis position (AmericanPsychological Association, n.d).
Calkinsis remembered not just for her position as the first woman presidentof APA, but as a woman who fought through obstacles and achievedgreatly in the field of psychology. Even after being declined for adegree from Harvard, she never gave up but continued to fight forequality. She is remembered as one of the pioneers of psychology.
AmericanPsychological Association (n.d). MaryWhiton Calkins, APA’s first woman president.Retrievedhttp://www.apa.org/pi/women/resources/newsletter/2011/03/mary-calkins.aspx(Accessed 29 May, 2014).
Connell,A. & Russo, N. (1990). Womenin psychology: a bio-bibliographic sourcebook.New York: Greenwood Press.