Tuesday, 7 June 2016

PSYCHOLOGY IN 1950s HUNGARY

A sea in which they swam

What was happening to psychology in Hungary in the nineteen-fifties remained a mystery at the time to English-readers, even to such as the encyclopaedic Gregory Razran, though it does appear that the fifties were a period of major Sovietisation – and Pavlovianisation in particular – in the psychologies of Eastern Europe

Given the political context this was hardly surprising, though it does need bearing consciously in mind when considering the early history of the development of what is now called Conductive Education. It contextualises, for example András Pető's extraordinary presentation on Soviet motor education and explains why the younger Mária Hári's explanations were often stated in this mode.

Without further documentation one can still but surmise how much this factor penetrated beyond acknowledging the officially approved psychological science into their own pedagogic theory and practice, to guide what they was actually thought and did. Despite this, in the English-speaking West, Conductive Education has been linked confidently to the name of I. P. Pavlov, just another small cause for further misunderstanding (perhaps not always innocent) – among so many others.

Reference

Razran, G, (1958) Psychology in Communist countries other than the USSR, American Psychologist, vol. 13, pp. 177-179

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