Article ID: CBB045415018

Monkeys, Mirrors, and Me: Gordon Gallup and the Study of Self-Recognition (2017)


This article explores the work of psychologist Gordon Gallup, Jr., during the 1960s and 1970s on mirror self-recognition in animals. It shows how Gallup tried to integrate the mental “self-concept” into an otherwise strictly behaviorist paradigm. By making an argument from material culture, the article demonstrates how Gallup's adoption of a self-concept is best understood as a product of his sustained analysis of the workings of the mirror as a piece of experimental apparatus. In certain situations, the stimulus properties of the mirror changed dramatically, a shift that Gallup thought legitimated the positing of a self-concept. For this reason, Gallup supposed he could use a mirror to provide an operationalized concept of the self, that is, produce a definition that was compatible with behaviorist experimental norms. The article argues that behaviorism was more supple and productive than is often assumed, and contained resources that could align it with the “cognitive revolution” to which it is most often opposed.

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Authors & Contributors
Parnas, Josef
Gallaga, Emiliano
Jansson, Lennart
Giuseppina Marsico
Blainey, Marc Gordon
Simon Torracinta
History of Psychology
History of the Human Sciences
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History of Psychiatry
Process Press Ltd
Springer International Publishing
University Press of Colorado
University of Minnesota Press
Psychology Press
Princeton University Press
Emotions; passions
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic
Gruhle, Hans W.
Hockett, Charles Francis (1916-2000)
Boggi Cavallo, Pina
Tolman, Edward Chace
Piaget, Jean
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
Precolumbian period (America)
20th century, late
20th century, early
United States
Salerno (Italy)
Neuchâtel (Switzerland)
Université de Neuchâtel

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