Annals of Theoretical Psychology by Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. van Strien (auth.), Hans V.

By Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. van Strien (auth.), Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. Van Strien, Leendert P. Mos, William J. Baker (eds.)

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By contrast, the historiography of psychological objects takes their constructed character as primary and brackets out the question of their possible correspondence with some psychological reality beyond themselves. This point of view renders the historian much more sensitive to the 2 • Psychological Objects, Practice, and History 29 discontinuities in psychology's 'long past' than the traditional approach. So much so, in fact, that the question arises whether the history of psychology has a subject at all (Smith, 1988).

The intra-disciplinary rules for producing empirical objects can take on the appearance of purely technical rules as long as the general features of those objects are taken for granted. Thus, rules for producing good introspective reports can appear to be based on purely technical considerations, as long as it is accepted that the desired product will have the form of an introspective report. The same applies to the explicit rules used in the construction of empirical objects that have the form of a statistical aggregation of individual performance measures.

However, it is not necessary to limit oneself to such radical discrepancies. Historically, the empirical order characteristic of experimental psychology was based on rules that differed from those operative in the construction of an empirical order based on the employment of mental tests, a difference that was large enough to lead to talk of "two psychologies" (Cronbach, 1957). Even within experimental psychology there is considerable divergence in the rules of empirical construction that have been favored at different times by different groups of investigators (Danziger, 1990a).

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