Harvey A. Carr
Researched and written by: Donald F. Kneessi
|I attest that the following biography is a
product of my own original
- Harvey Carr was born on
an Indiana farm in 1873. He began his undergraduate work at DePauw University and continued at the University of Colorado where he studied
psychology, earning his BS in 1901 and MS in 1902. He went on to the University of Chicago to study
experimental psychology with John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, and John
B. Watson. He was awarded the Ph.D. in 1905, with a doctoral
dissertation on a visual illusion of motion during eye closure (Schultz
& Schultz, 2004).
- Finding no university positions, Carr taught
high school in Texas and at the State Normal School in Michigan in 1905. Then he worked at the Pratt
Institute in Brooklyn until 1908. In
that same year, he was invited to replace Watson at Chicago, where he remained until his retirement in
1938 (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
- Carr served as chairman of the Department of
Psychology at Chicago from 1919 to 1938. During
his time as chairman, the psychology department awarded 150 doctoral
degrees (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
- In 1926,
he was elected president of APA. Then in 1937, he was elected
president of the Midwestern Psychological Association. He was advisory
editor for the Journal of
Experimental Psychology from
1916 to 1925, and associate editor of the Journal of General Psychology from 1929 to 1954. He also served for
many years as General Editor of the Longman's Psychology Series (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
- Carr elaborated on Angell’s theoretical
position. His work represents
functionalism where it no longer needed to crusade against
structuralism. Functionalism had bested
the opposition and become a recognized position in its own right. Under
Carr, functionalism at Chicago reached its peak as a formal system (Schultz
& Schultz, 2004).
- Carr maintained that functional psychology
was the American psychology. Other
versions of psychology then being proposed, such as behaviorism,
Gestalt psychology, and psychoanalysis; he regarded as dealing only
with limited aspects of the field. Carr
believed these viewpoints had little to add to the all encompassing
functionalist psychology. (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
textbook, Psychology (1925), presents functionalism in its
most refined form. Listed below are two of its main points
(Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
- Carr defined the subject matter of psychology
as mental activity. Those processes such
as memory, perception, feeling, imagination, judgment, and will. The function of mental activity is to acquire,
fixate, retain, organize, and evaluate experiences and to use these
experiences to determine one’s actions. Carr
called the specific form of action in which mental activities appear
adaptive or adjustive behavior. (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
accepted data from introspective and experimental methods. Just
like Wundt, Carr believed that the literary and artistic creations of a
culture could provide information on the mental activities that
produced them (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
Schultz, D. P., &
Schultz, S. E. (2004). A History of Modern Psychology.
191-192. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.