My College Class Notes

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G. Stanley Hall Biography

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In 1883 Hall established the first psychological research laboratory in the US, and he was the Head of Psych dept John Hopkins university was the Founder and First President of the American Psychology Association (APA), and in 1909 brought Sigmund Freud to America. At this time: president of Clark University in Massachusetts. 1st to conduct research with a large group of subjects. Known as the Father of Child psychology and Invented the Questionnaire.

Hall was the first president of the American Psychological Association and also the first president of Clark University.

Inspired by Principles of Physiological Psychology, he earned his doctorate in psychology under William James at Harvard University, after which he spent time at Wilhelm Wundt’s Leipzig laboratory.


pedagogics – the principles and methods of instruction

pedagogy, teaching method

method – a way of doing something, especially a systematic way; implies an orderly logical arrangement (usually in steps)

maieutic method, Socratic method – a method of teaching by question and answer; used by Socrates to elicit truths from his students

Hall coined the phrase “Storm and Stress” with reference to adolescence, taken from the German Sturm und Drang-movement. Its three key aspects are: conflict with parents, mood disruptions, and risky behavior. As was later the case with the work of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, public interest in this phrase and Hall’s originating role, faded. Recent research has led to some reconsideration of the phrase and its denotation. In its three aspects, recent evidence supports storm-and-stress, but modified to take into account individual differences and cultural variations. Currently, pyschologists do not accept storm-and-stress as universal, but do acknowledge the possibility in brief passing. Not all adolescents experience storm-and-stress, but storm-and-stress is more likely during adolescence than at other ages

In 1887, he founded the American Journal of Psychology. In 1889, he was named president of the newly founded Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Under his guidance considerable work was done in educational research at the university during its first 20 years. Hall was instrumental in the development of the new science of educational psychology. Hall’s pioneering studies, Adolescence (1904) and Educational Problems (1911), described the implications of adolescent development on education. (Meiss)

Eventually Hall was granted his Ph.D. in Psychology under William James and Henry P. Bowditch, the first Ph.D. in Psychology in America. He began as a professor of psychology and pedagogics at Johns Hopkins University in 1882. When Clark University opened in 1889, Hall began as the president, and remained there until his death in 1924. Along the way, Hall founded the first psychological journal in America, the American Journal of Psychology in 1887, along with many to follow in the later years. (Grezlik)

While at Clark University, Hall organized a conference in 1909 for 175 people, 40 of which were American Psychologists. Hall ran the conference as well as arranged the order of lectures and handled the social arrangements. Among the attending psychologists were Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, who are seated respectively to Hall’s right and left in this photo. The Clark Conference, as named, was in celebration of Clark University’s twentieth anniversary. Through all of this, Hall is also important for his work with the child study movement and attained some notoriety with his theory that ontology recapitulates phylogeny. He showed the importance of early childhood through adolescence as a turning point in psychological growth. To him, childhood was merely an extension of embryological development. Hall died in 1924, but still remains an important part of psychology’s history. (Grezlik)


Hall linked together genetic psychology and education. The theory that Hall is known for is his theory of recapitulation. More simply put as “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. This theory explains that each person goes through changes in both the psychic and somatic senses which follow the evolution scale of the mind and body. Hall believed that the pre-adolescent child develops to its best when it is not forced to follow constraints, but rather to go through the stages of evolution freely. He believed that before a child turned six or seven, the child should be able to experience how one lived in the simian stage. In this stage, the child would be able to express his animal spirits.

The child is growing rapidly at this stage and the energy levels are high. The child is unable to use reasoning, show sensitiveness towards religion, or social discernment. By age eight, the child should be at stage two. This, Hall believed, is the stage where formal learning should begin. This is when the brain is at full size and weight. It is considered normal to be cruel and rude to others at this stage for the reasoning skills are still not developed. The child should not have to deal with moralizing conflicts or ideas; his is not yet ready at this stage. The child’s physical health is most important now. In the stage of the adolescent, the child now has a rebirth into a sexed life. Hall argued that at this point, there should no longer be coeducation. Both sexes can’t optimally learn and get everything out of the lessons in the presence the opposite sex. And, this is when true education can begin. The child is ready to deal with moral issues, kindness, love, and service for others. Reasoning powers are beginning, but are still not strong. Hall argued that the high school should be a place similar to a “people’s college” so that it could be more of an ending for those who would not be continuing their education to the next level.

Hall’s specific theory that maturation needs to be tracted, allowing deeper thoughts to be provoked only when the physical aspect of growth is complete, did not greatly influence education. At the same time, he paved the way for future scholars such as Piaget.

Time Line (Grezlik)

1844 Born in Ashfield, Massachusetts

1858 Day long vigil, vowed to leave farm and to be someone in the world

1860 First independent job as a schoolmaster

1862 Left Ashfield for Williston Academy

1863 Left Williston Academy

1866 Began Junto, literary club

1867 Graduated from Williams College

1867 Attended Union Theological Seminary as a divinity student

1868 Studied abroad in Germany

1878 Earned the first Ph.D. in Psychology in America

1882 Left for work at Johns Hopkins University

1883 Established the first psychological research laboratory in the US

1887 Founded the first Psychological Journal is America, the American Journal of Psychology

1889 Became president of Clark University

1892 Founded the American Psychological Association

1894 Founded the Pedagogical Seminary

1904 Wrote Adolescence

1909 Organized the Clark Conference: Brought Sigmund Freud to America

1917 Founded the Journal of Applied Psychology

1924 Died


Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 8:12 am

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