By John Sants (eds.)
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Extra info for Developmental Psychology and Society
In some respects, early adolescence is thus the infancy of man's higher nature, when he receives from the great all-mother his last capital of energy and evolutionary momentum' (Excerpt in Grinder (1967)). Hall, the experimentalist bold enough to criticise Wundt's techniques is now a different tack in psychology! In Hall's speculations the theory of recapitulation does not result in the mere search for gill slits or tails-or even the reflex grasping of arboreal man-but in a study of the child in whom might be seen the full scope of man's potential.
Men like Hall, if they have genius, stimulate followers by example and reaction. Reading him today can be more profitable than reading either 26 JOHN SANTS Terman or Thorndike, since the psychologies pioneered by the latter two were given an initial circumscribed precision which has now virtually run its course. Many, if not most, of Hall's insights and preoccupations are still outside conventional psychology and thus unsolved. His work is strewn with problems which sound interesting now, such as the possible effects of the predominance of female teachers in schools for the young.
Outside the laboratory they found that animals misbehave themselves in that they do not always follow the rules of conditioning which were found to be adequate in the controlled conditions of the laboratory. With more freedom, animals display differences in behaviour from species to species and show how 'learned behaviour drifts toward instinctive behaviour'. The notion of instinct had returned to psychology and the hunt was on again for genetically organised patterns. At this point psychologists began to take note of the ethologists' observations of different species in natural environments.