December 05, 2011
Back in the late nineteenth century, women were thought to be intellectually inferior to men. Women studying psychology did not always get the same treatment or respect as their male counterparts. There was discrimination and a belief that education could harm women. One of the pioneers in psychology today is Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930) who was the fourteenth President of the American Psychological Association and the first woman president. She was the inventor of the paired-associate technique, and creator of a system of self-psychology (Furumoto, 1980).
Mary Whiton Calkins
In the early days of psychology there were few female psychologists who had any type of impact on the field of psychology. There was sex discrimination and it was a common belief that women were inferior to men. Mary Whiton Calkins was able to beat the odds and have a long lasting legacy in psychology. She is considered one of the pioneers in psychology and is credited with a major theoretical contribution of self-psychology, which was centered on the idea that all consciousness is personal. Calkins overcame discrimination from both students and scholars and succeeded in inventing a procedure that was historic; paired associate learning, which has become the standard method in cognitive research (Goodwin, 2008). Mary Whiton Calkins was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1863. She was the oldest of five children; their parents encouraged their education, especially the study of languages and cultures (Furumoto, 1980). Calkins did graduate from high school in Newton Massachusetts and began Smith College in 1882 as a sophomore. Unfortunately, in 1883, her sister's illness and subsequent death caused her to decide to study Greek at home the following year. However Calkins returned to Smith College in 1884 as a senior, and graduated with a concentration in classics and philosophy in 1885. In 1887, after...