Women in Psychology Essay

Modern Psychology has been formed mainly by men during the 19th and 20th century, men like Wilhelm Wundt, Henri Bergson, and Sigmund Freud, major philosophers of the era include Franz Gall, Francis Galton, and William James. During these times women were not taken seriously in psychology; it took strong, pioneering women, such as Margaret Floy Washburn, Karen Horney, Mary Calkins, and Mary Cover Jones to bridge the gap in this male- dominated field of science.

Mary Cover Jones looked at what others had studied, and rethought how to make the science better; she is known as the “Mother of Behavior Therapy” (Nevid & Pastva, 2011, p.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Women in Psychology Essay
Order Essay

), and contributions to psychology. Mary Cover Jones background Mary Cover was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania, in 1897. Always wanting knowledge she attended Vassar College, graduating in 1919. Mary took every psychology course offered with the exception of one. Mary Floy Washburn’s senior seminar in psychology do to Washburn disallowing Mary because of a middle of the road grade received in a laboratory course her sophomore year (“Mary Cover Jones (1897-1987)”, n.

d. ).

After graduating from Vassar, Mary Cover began her graduate work at Columbia University and received her Master’s degree in the summer of 1920. While attending Columbia she met and married Harold Jones a fellow graduate and who the Harold E. Jones Children Study Center at Berkley University is named after. In 1923 Mary Cover Jones was appointed Associate in Psychological Research at the Institute of Education Research, Columbia University College Teachers College (“Mary Cover Jones (1897-1987)”, n. d. ).

Here is where she started her most famous study of Peter and his fear of furry animals. Peter and the rabbit In 1920, Mary Cover Jones attended a lecture given by John B. Watson on a child named “Albert” who was conditioned to be afraid of anything with fur due to scaring “Albert” with loud sounds whenever the infant reached for a white rat. While listing to the charismatic Watson, Mary wondered if Watson’s learning approach could be used to remove children fears (Nevid & Pastva, 2011, p. 1). In 1924 Mary was introduced to Peter, a three-year-old that had a natural fear of furry animals.

Adapting from Dr. Watson’s study Mary observed Peter at play in his crib, introduced a white rabbit and noticed Peter cry and flail until the rabbit was removed. Throughout her study Mary tried to introduce things Peter liked along with the rabbit to see if she could condition Peter into embracing the rabbit instead of afraid. With the other stimuli, (food) being added as the rabbit was introduced into Peter’s “space” Mary was able to bring the rabbit closer and closer until the rabbit sat on Peters lap as he ate.

This counterconditioning of Peters fear not only removed his fear of Rabbits but also other fears such as, cotton, a fur coat, and Feathers (Nevid & Pastva, 2011, p. 1). Contributions to psychology Peter may have been what Mary Cover Jones was most famous for, but she did much more for psychology among those are on how early and late maturation in adolescence effect personality, personality antecedents of drinking problems (Logan, 1980, 103).

Mary was instrumental in her husband, Harold E. Jones, establishment of the institute for Child Welfare at the University of California, Berkley. Mary became involved with the Oakland Growth Study where she followed a group of 200 fifth and sixth grade students from puberty to adolescences. Several follow-up studies have been done on these children as they entered adulthood. Mary Cover jones became a full professor in 1959 and in 1960 she served as president of the Division of Developmental Psychology of the American Psychological Association. That same year her husband passed away of a heart attack (Rutherford, n. . ).

Conclusion Mary Cover Jones’ study of Peter challenged the predominate belief at the time that treatment of the underlying psychological conflicts rather than overt behavior is necessary to accomplish change. Her work proved that behavior can be changed through therapy and regardless of where a fear roots stem from, positive results can be achieved. Mary Cover Jones lived to be 91, and according to her sister her last words were “I am still learning about what is important in life” (Rutherford, n. d. ).

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!