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Bartlett Timeline

1886 Bartlett is born on 20 October in Stow-on-the-Wold (Gloucestershire)
1886 Ward (1843-1925) publishes his famous article “Psychology” in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  In it he criticizes associationism and emphasizes the mind’s active engagement with the world.  This paper will later be a major intellectual source for Bartlett.

1897 Philippe publishes his article “Sur les transformations de nos images mentales” from which Bartlett adapts the method of repeated reproduction. 

1898-9 Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait which involved the first systematic experimental study in cross-cultural psychology.  The expedition was directed by Haddon (1855-1940), who enlisted the help of Rivers (1864-1922), Myers (1873 – 1946) and McDougall (1871-1938). 

1901 The British Psychological Society is founded by Sully, Rivers and McDougall

1904 The British Journal of Psychology is founded by Ward and Rivers

1908 McDougall publishes An Introduction to Social Psychology.  In it he identifies a number of instincts from which social life arises.  Bartlett borrows the language of ‘tendencies’ from this work. 

1909 Bartlett graduates B.A. in philosophy with First Class Honours.  The course was through The University Correspondence College, which was dependent on the University College London, but was located in Cambridge. 

1909 Myers publishes Manual on Experimental PsychologyBartlett reports having performed some of the experiments described in the book in his home. 

1911 Bartlett graduates M.A. from London University with distinction in Sociology and Ethics. 

1911 Boas (1958-1942) publishes The Mind of Primitive Man.

1914-18 First World War

1917 Bartlett is made a fellow of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. 

1920 McDougall publishes The Group Mind, in which he argues for the irreducibility of social groups to individual group members. 

1920 Head (1861-1940) publishes Studies in Neurology, from which Bartlett adapts the concept of ‘schema’. 

1922 Rivers dies without warning of a strangulated hernia. 

1922 Myers leaves Cambridge to found the Institute of Industrial Psychology in London. 

1922 Bartlett becomes Director of the Psychological Laboratory in Cambridge. 

1922 Levy-Bruhl (1857-1969) publishes La Mentalité Primitive. Moscovici later reports that Bartlett once said to him in relation to Levy-Bruhl’s book that ‘it was wrong to compare the primitive man with Kant’ (see also Bartlett, 1923, p284, for a discussion of this point).

1923 Bartlett publishes Psychology and Primitive Culture, an early achievement in what today would be called cultural psychology. 

1925 Halbwachs (1877-1945) publishes Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire.  Bartlett borrows important insights from Halbwachs on the relationship between individual and collective memory and even occasionally uses Halbwachs term ‘social framework’ in the place of ‘social schema’. However, he explicitly criticizes Halbwachs for the latter’s alleged claim that the social group itself remembers (see Bartlett, 1932, p294-300). 

1926 The Psychological Laboratory at Cambridge is placed in the biological sciences. 

1927 Bartlett publishes Psychology and the Soldier, based on lectures have gave at Cambridge. 

1928 Janet (1859-1947) publishes L’Évolution de la Mémoire et la Notion du Temps.  Bartlett points out that there is much in common between Janet’s theory on the social origins of memory and his own but says that their respective theories were developed independently of one another (see Bartlett, 1932, p293). 

1929 Bartlett travels to South Africa to give a talk as President of the Psychology Section of the British Society for the Advancement of Science.  While there he travels to the interior of Africa to gather ethnographic material that will show up in his book Remembering as well as other publications. 

1931 Bartlett is appointed chair in Experimental Psychology

1932 Bartlett publishes Remembering, widely considered his most important book.

1932 Bartlett is nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society.

1939 Bartlett and other social scientists publish The Study of Society: Methods and Problems

1939-45 Second World War

1940 Head dies. 

1944 The Medical Research Council establishes the Unit for Research in Applied Psychology, later to become the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.  Craik is made the first Director but after his tragic death a year later Bartlett takes over the role. 

1948 Michotte and other members of the Department of Psychology, University of Louvain, visit the Cambridge Psychological Laboratory (click here for photo). 

1948 Bartlett is knighted for his applied work done with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

1951 Bartlett retires. 

1951 Humphrey publishes Thinking: An Introduction to its Experimental Psychology.  Bartlett (1951) describes it as a “splendid study” but has his reservations about the Würzburger’s approach to the problem of thinking, which Humphrey skillfully explores in the book. 

1955 Cambridge hosts conference on “thinking” (click here for photo). Bruner, Brown, Deutsch, Pribram and Werner are in attendance among others. 

1956 Bruner and others publish A Study of Thinking, which Bartlett (1958) calls a “brilliant and original book”. 

1958 Bartlett publishes Thinking: An Experimental and Social Study.  Though “social” is included in the book’s subtitle, in this volume there is little attention paid culture and social groups when compared to his earlier work. 

1961 Moscovici publishes La Psychoanalysis: Son Image et Son Public, which borrows important insights from Bartlett’s book Remembering (1932)—for example, Bartlett’s analysis of ‘conventionalization’ helps Moscovici formulate the ‘process of objectification’. 

1969 Bartlett dies. 

copyright: F.C. Bartlett Archive 2009