THE DISCONTINUITY IN SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROME, 1907–1947: From General Psychology to Psychotechnics

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Abstract

This article examines the areas of research conducted at the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology of the University of Rome from 1907 to 1947, directed first by Sante De Sanctis (1862–1935), and then, from 1931 on, by Mario Ponzo (1882–1960). The method used to distinguish the topics and areas of research that characterized the Roman School during this period is the textual analysis of the titles of the journal in which studies completed at the laboratory were published, namely, Contributi del Laboratorio di Psicologia sperimentale [Psychological Contributions of the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology]. This empirical analysis, which complements and supports the historiographical interpretation, demonstrates the disciplines that emerged under a system managed by the directors over 2 periods of time in the pursuit of scientific psychology in Rome and in Italy. This analysis highlights the process of adjustment from a traditional, general approach to a more theoretical-technical application. This article is a new contribution to the Italian debate on the periodization of the “crisis” in Italian psychology.

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