chapter  1
12 Pages

An Introduction to Francophone Research and Thinking in Developmental Psychology: Henriette Bloch, André Vyt, and Marc H. Bornstein

The seminal notions that have emerged from French-language publications in the area of human development, and that form what can be termed the "French tradition," are, of course, not solely French. Although they emerged in Paris in the early part of the 20th century, and made Paris one of the most stimulating centers for developmental science, they have always been international. (After World War 11, the Genevan School for Piagetian research took on a more important role, and Montreal began attracting a growing number of research teams.) For more than 50 years-between 1882, when Jean Martin Charcot won over the Academy of Sciences, and 1937, when he described hysteria and the Xlth International Congress of Psychology was held in honor of Pierre Janet-Paris was home to the brightest constellation of developmental psychologists of that era. During this period, Paris was the meeting place for Sigmund Freud and James Mark Baldwin, who both attended Charcot's lectures at the Salpetriere Hospital. Later, Baldwin, Henri Wallon, and Jean Piaget spent time together when Piaget began to work under the direction of Theodore Simon, Alfred Binet's main collaborator. It was the Sorbonne that housed the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, which gathered in one place all the contemporary research in psychology: Binet's laboratory was directed by Henri Pieron in 1912, and was site of the first chair of child psychology, which was created for Baldwin in 1913 and later


passed on to Wallon, when Baldwin retired in 1929. These developmental psychologists maintained constant contact with researchers in other fields and at other institutions. Every 2 weeks, many took part in the scientific session of the French Society of Psychology, which was open to other sciences such as biology, sociology, linguistics, philosophy, and history. From the outset, then, French developmental psychology was part of a broad common network incorporating other disciplines. Nothing comparable could be found in other Francophone cities at that time: In Geneva, genetic psychology was dominant under Edouard Claparede, but it was relatively isolated. In Louvain, development retained the personal interest of Albert Michotte, but was viewed as merely a component of general psychology without any unique importance.