G. Stanley Hall

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Was G. Stanley Hall really the first to receive a doctoral degree in psychology in the United States? Can anyone explain the statement "ontolgy recapitulates phylogeny" in layman's terms? What were G. Stanley Hall's major contributions to psychology? What writings is he best known for? How many schools are actually named after G. Stanley Hall?

-- Erica Lynn Brandt (ericabrandt@hotmail.com), March 18, 2004


Hall received his PhD under James for psychological research. I believe his degree was technically in philosophy, though you should check Dorothy Ross' biography of Hall. Ontogeny (note the spelling) is the development of an individual. Phylogeny is the evolutionary development of a species. The claim (*not* invented but only popularized by Hall -- I believe Ernst Haeckl was the originator) means that the individual, during its development, goes through all of the stages that the whole species did during its evolutionary development. Hall's most important contributions were probably the founding of the American Journal of Psychology and of the American Psychological Association. The writing he is best known for is probably his book on adolescnece (again, a term he popularized, but did not invent). Are there any schools named after Hall?

-- Christopher Green (christo@yorku.ca), March 18, 2004.

Yes, to confirm, Haeckel *was* the originator of the theory that an individual's development mirrors the development of the species. Getting back to Hall and looking at his theory - adolescence (to Hall) was necessary to turn the little "beast child" (think evolutionarily here) into a civilized creature.

I think that certainly fits in with some of the teens I have known. : -)

Hall was definitely a founder of the profession of psychology as we know it today. Not just for his incredible organizational abilities (as Dr. Green spoke of), but also for his commitment to the search for knowledge. He brought Freud & Jung over from Germany in (if memory serves) 1909. Really "turn of the century" time, at any rate. I think that was Freud's first US appearance. They did a "meeting of the minds" at Clark University (the "Clark Conference"), which was Hall's institution. A superb psychologist. :-) Well worth the time to study a bit more indepth.

-- Heather Staples (heather.staples@maine.edu), March 18, 2004.

Hall was a major contributor to the Psychology of Religion in America. Major textbooks in the psychology of religion for most of the 20th century generally devoted a section or chapter to his work. You can read about it in depth in my article

Vande Kemp, H. (1992). G. Stanley Hall and the Clark school of religious psychology. American Psychologist, 47, 290-298.

-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (hendrika@earthlink.net), March 20, 2004.

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