Women's Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society

Students, as part of an advanced seminar, examined and wrote about the lives of these women, their intellectual contributions, and the unique impact and special problems that being female had on their careers.

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Anne Anastasi

The idea of being raised by a single parent in the world today is often viewed as difficult yet somewhat common. Many children of our modern world have been successfully and unsuccessfully raised by either their mother or their father. Sometimes a grandparent is even known for raising a child by themselves due to the lose of the child's parents. The idea of being raised by a single parent in history though, is almost unheard of. It seems that in the time of the beginning of the twentieth century families were an incredibly important part of child rearing, and it was almost unheard of for a child to be raised by one individual, or not in a structured family. Anne Anastasi was an exception to this belief. She was successfully raised by a single parent and became very well known across the nation, and even worldwide. When her name is spoken of in the world of psychology it is usually associated with the term "psychometrics"(O'Connell and Russo 1990). She has worked extensively in this field, and is also known as the "test guru" due to her large amounts of research concerned with testing (1990). At one point Anastasi was also seen by her peers as the prominent living woman in psychology in the English-speaking world (1990). Anne Anastasi has made a number of distinguishing contributions to psychology as well as being an incredible role model for the life she has accomplished.

Anne Anastasi was born on December 19, 1908 in New York to Theresa Gaudiosi Anastasi and Anthony Anastasi. Her father, at the time worked for the New York City Board of Education, however died when Anne was merely one year old. She was then raised by her maternal side of the family and was never able to make contact with her paternal side, as her mother eventually became estranged from her father's family. Her immediate family then consisted of her mother, grandmother, and her mother's brother, Anne's uncle. Her mother and uncle had both completed high school as well as college and were very well educated, however were not prepared for the world's work. Due to financial difficulties after the death of her father, Anne's mother taught herself bookkeeping and founded her own piano company. The company eventually failed and she became office manager for one of the largest foreign newspaper companies in New York. She stayed here until her retirement. Anne's mother was an incredible role model for Anne when she was growing up. Theresa Anastasi constantly had time for her daughter no matter how tired she was from long days at work. Anne's uncle had a strong male influence in her life, which was good for her since her father had passed away at such a young age.

Anne's education was as unique as her family upbringing. Her education began with an interactive, dramatic, and glamorous style at home by her grandmother (O'Connell and Russo 1990). She was only allowed to be educated at home. The school's were out of the question due to her grandmother's distaste in the loud and boisterous activity of the children in the nearby schoolyard. Anne's grandmother would not have Anne raised in this sort of environment and she was therefore home schooled for a number of years. Anne believes that her distrust in authority figures and group stereotypes stems from her grandmother's teachings (1990). She also attributes her interest in individual differences due to the personality differences among the three major role models in her life, her mother, grandmother, and uncle(1990). The home schooling allowed very small amounts of peer interaction compared to large amounts of adult interaction. A public school teacher was later hired to provide afternoon lessons until Anne was nine. The teacher, enlightened by Anne's intelligence, asked that Anne attend the local public school where she would have a better chance of success and advancement. Her grandmother then agreed only if the teacher would walk her to school and back every day. The teacher agreed and Anne entered the third grade. After two months however she was seen as being too intelligent for the class and was moved onto fourth grade. In fourth grade the only open seat in the classroom was all the way in the back. The class became confusing for Anne and she was quickly moved back home. It was then determined that she needed glasses. At the new fall term, Anne was admitted back into the local school and where she quickly skipped two more grade levels until she reached sixth grade. When she reached this point she advanced normally with the other children and was finally able to make friends. She eventually graduated from P.S. 33 on the Bronx at the top of her class and received the gold medal for general excellence, the first of her major awards(1990).

After two months of attending Evander Childs High School Anne dropped out because of overcrowding, overworked teachers, and unsatisfactory classes(1990). After a family friend convinced her to apply directly to college she began to search for schools where a high school graduation was not required. She eventually decided on Barnard College in New York City and began to prepare for the College Entrance Examination Board Tests. In order to do this she had to enroll in Rhodes Preparatory School in Manhattan, and after only two years of preparation Anne was admitted into Barnard College at age fifteen.

At Barnard Anne started out with high hopes of an education focused around mathematics. This quickly changed after an intriguing class her sophomore year as well as reading up on a correlation coefficients paper written by Spearman(1990). This paper helped her to realize that she could change her major to psychology and still stay loyal to her first love, mathematics. Her junior year she was admitted to the honors program and then enrolled in graduate courses in psychology at Columbia. At this point she began to study aesthetic preferences with a professor and this lead to her first publication. In 1928 she received her Bachelors in Art from Barnard at age nineteen, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received a graduate fellowship. Anne was then admitted to Columbia University to study for a Ph.D. in general experimental psychology, the only program available at that time. At a conference with the chair of the Department of Psychology she requested to finish the program in two years. They told her it was possible however unlikely, she then began her studies at the graduate level. In a course taught by H.E. Garrett, who later became her dissertation mentor, she prepared her first paper on differential psychology. Anastasi describes the summer of 1929 as the peak period of her psychological training(1990). She says this because of three memorable however unrelated experiences. First she was given a summer research assistantship with Charles B. Davenport at the Carnegie Institute of Washington where she assisted in devising culture-free tests, this being one of her first experiences with researching tests. She then attended summer courses with Clark Hull and R.M. Elliott, with whom she remained lifelong friends. Finally she attended the International Congress of Psychology at Yale, this was the first held in the U.S. By her second year at the graduate level she had already begun to specialize and was taking courses in intelligence testing, racial differences, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy (1990). She had also completed her doctoral dissertation where her study identified a group factor in immediate memory of rote material. After two she had completed her graduate level studies.

While she attended Columbia she met John Porter Foley Jr., who was also working for his Ph.D. in psychology. Then on July 26, 1933 Anne Anastasi and John Porter Foley Jr. were married. Foley, originally form Indiana and Anastasi's backgrounds complemented each other. Both were highly interested in art as well as frequent visitors of museums and eventually collectors. Foley as an undergraduate at Indiana University became incredibly influenced by the work J.R. Kantor. After Anastasi looked into his ideas she as well became influenced by Kantor. Foley also worked with animal psychology, a field that Anastasi had very little experience. She, however found it quite interesting as well, it influenced her thinking in differential psychology as well as Foley's work with anthropologist Franz Boas. Anastasi's marriage to Foley was a huge asset to her work because it gave her the benefit of two Ph.D.s. A year after her marriage she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and the necessary treatment left her unable to have children. She later describes this illness as one of the two critical factors in her life, the other being the death of her father (1990). The cancer however allowed her to remain childless without guilt or conflict and she even goes on to contribute this as it relates to the partial basis for her success. During the earlier years of her marriage, 1937-1942, Foley and Anastasi were constantly apart from one another due to jobs being scarce as well as the reluctance of universities to hire husband and wife teams in the same department. During this time Foley taught at George Washington University in Washington, while Anastasi was at Barnard until Foley's interests in Industrial Psychology grew. He then took up a position with the industrial division of the psychological corporation in New York City, and they have lived there ever since.

Anastasi was appointed instructor of psychology at Barnard in the fall of 1930 with an annual salary of merely $2400 (1990). She remained in this position until 1939. She then became assistant professor and "chairman" of the new department of psychology at Queens College of the City University of New York, as well as being the sole member of the department. In 1946 the department had grown to six, however due to bureaucratic demands and departmental fighting, all efforts for teaching and research were blocked. Four of the six members ended up leaving and of these four was Anastasi. Her next position was held at Fordham University in 1947 where she became associate professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and then a professor in 1951, where she remained until her retirement in 1979 (1990). Upon retirement she was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree and became professor emeritus. She also continued to be active in writing papers, lectures, and books including the sixth edition of Psychological Testing in 1988, the first edition had appeared in 1954 (1990). Anastasi also continued to consult with Fordham faculty and students informally, as well as serving on committees, and maintaining an international correspondence. She was known to many as the "test guru", as well as remaining the moderator of psychometrics up until her death in 2001.

Anastasi seemed to think that her professional contributions are reflected largely in her publications. It seems true, however that her book, "Psychological Testing", had an enormous impact on generations of psychologists and students of psychology around the world. This particular book was the basis for a lot of testing that went on then and also continues to be a part of our education systems around the world today. Her contributions are explained as being more diverse however, and can be thought of in four different categories that consist of research, teaching, textbook writing, and organizational leadership(1990). Her researched has followed a number of themes with a major contributing focus that has been on the nature and measurement of psychological traits (1990). Her investigations of these psychological trait characteristics began in 1930 with her dissertation and by 1935, she engaged in debates with distinguished psychologist L. L. Thurstone (1990). Another research topic that she engaged in as well was on language development among black and Puerto Rican children, published in 1950. This research continued to look at the role of experience towards language development. She carried this general theme into publications on intelligence and family size, age changes in adult test performance, and sex differences in psychological traits. She also contributed to a book put together by the Institute of Pastoral Psychology at Fordham University on preparation of marriage by a moral and psychological approach. She published an article within this book that involved Male vs. Female Attitudes. The article focused on the impressive mass of data on sex differences in almost every conceivable trait between men and women (Anastasi 1965). She also did research and had a series of publications on the role experiential factors in the development of creative thinking in children and adolescents.

Anastasi's writing and research has extended farther beyond this, however. A further focus on her writing and research has been test construction, evaluation, and interpretation, ranging from purely conceptual and statistical questions to problems of common misuse and misinterpretation that continue to thrive even in our modern world today. Anastasi has also been actively involved in projects sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board, who had helped her enter college at such a young age, as well as The US Air force where her projects concerned the development and validation of psychological instruments. Being known as the "test guru" she has also had a very large number of written publications on a number of different types of tests. These tests ranged from and included test bias, speeded tests, item selection, coaching for tests, culture-free tests, and also culture-fair tests (O'Connell and Russo 1990). Her husband and her have also contributed to various psychological aspects of art where they were involved in studying cultural differences in artistic expression, abnormality of art, art production of adult psychotics, and also the appropriateness of projective drawing tests in clinical assessment (1990). Her publications did not always involve joint contributions of her influenced by another. A number of her publications were completed by Anastasi alone, these were known as isolated studies. Anastasi's isolated studies included the effect of shape on the estimation of area, methodological controls for the diary method, a study of fear and anger among college students, a factor analysis on the performance of dogs on certain learning tests, and a case study of a musically gifted "idiot savant" (1990). Another research item that gave her a lot of recognition was her studies regarding the nature-nurture controversy. Her research on this controversy was later based on her presidential address to the APA Division of General Psychology. Within this article she explains how it is not merely nature or nurture independently, but how they interact. Due to the implications that Anastasi formed because of this statement, her article had a huge impact and influence on psychological thought.

The impact of her textbooks are considered classics and have been enormous not only in the U.S., but also in a number of different translations that have been read around the world. Her major works consist of Differential Psychology published in 1958, Psychological Testing published in 1988, as well as Fields of Applied Psychology published in 1979 (1990). Other principal publications by Anne Anastasi stated by the Biographical Dictionary of Psychology include Heredity, environment and the question 'how' (1958), Sex differences: Historical perspectives and methodological implications (1981), and also The gap between environmental and psychometric orientations (1991). From the years 1946 to 1947 she served as president of the Eastern Psychological Association, from 1956 to 1957 she served as president of the APA Division of General Psychology, from 1965 to 1966 she served as president of the APA Division of Evaluation and Measurement, and from 1965 to 1967 she served as president of the American Psychological Foundation (1990). She also became the first female president of the American Psychological Association in fifty years in 1972. In 1977 she received the Educational Testing Service Award for Distinguished Service to Measurement, and then in 1981 she received the Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. She has also received honorary degrees from the University of Windsor, Villanova University, Cedar Crest College, LaSalle College, and Fordham University. Then in 1983 she received the American Educational Research Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education. In 1984 she was honored with the E.L. Thorndike Medal for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education from the APA Division of Educational Psychology, as well as the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal for lifetime achievement. In the summer of 1987 she was presented with the National Medal of Science by President Ronald Reagan. Anne Anastasi was known and seen by her peers as the prominent living woman in psychology in the English-speaking world up until her death in the year 2001.

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