Framing Psychology as a Discipline (1950–1999): A Large-Scale Term Co-Occurrence Analysis of Scientific Literature in Psychology

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Abstract

This study investigated the structure of psychological literature as represented by a corpus of 676,393 articles in the period from 1950 to 1999. The corpus was extracted from 1,269 journals indexed by PsycINFO. The data in our analysis consisted of the relevant terms mined from the titles and abstracts of all of the articles in the corpus. Based on the co-occurrences of these terms, we developed a series of chronological visualizations using a bibliometric software tool called VOSviewer. These visualizations produced a stable structure through the 5 decades under analysis, and this structure was analyzed as a data-mined proxy for the disciplinary formation of scientific psychology in the second part of the 20th century. Considering the stable structure uncovered by our term co-occurrence analysis and its visualization, we discuss it in the context of Lee Cronbach's “Two Disciplines of Scientific Psychology” (1957) and conventional history of 20th-century psychology’s disciplinary formation and history of methods. Our aim was to provide a comprehensive digital humanities perspective on the large-scale structural development of research in English-language psychology from 1950 to 1999.

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