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Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Contribution to the Psychology Essay


Introduction

Psychology is a diverse discipline that aims at understanding individuals and groups, and explaining mental functions and behaviors (Goodwin, 2008). This is often achieved through the identification of fundamental principles, and the study of specific cases. Psychologists’ main goal is to unearth how mental functions influence individual and social behavior (Goodwin, 2008). As such, psychologists investigate neurobiological and physiological processes which determine certain cognitive functions and behaviors. It is important to note that psychological knowledge is not only used in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders, but also in analyzing and solving problems in the society (Goodwin, 2008). The study of specific Psychology is an interesting subject and it has been studied extensively resulting into the recognition of scholars involved in its study.

One such scholar is Christine Ladd-Franklin. Christine Ladd-Franklin is remembered as the first American female psychologist (Furumoto, 1992). Her contribution to the field psychology is unforgettable. Christine Ladd-Franklin first studied logic, mathematics, botany, and psychology. However, Christine Ladd-Franklin‘s interest in psychology grew bigger and she decided to major in psychology (Furumoto, 1992). Christine Ladd-Franklin’s research resulted in the formulation of Ladd-Franklin theory of color sensation. Christine Ladd-Franklin’s has received numerous wards owing to her theory of color sensation. She is not only remembered for her scholarly work, but also to her outstanding role as a women activist. This paper endeavors to discuss Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Contribution to the field of psychology

Background

Born on December 1, 1847, Christine Ladd-Franklin was the eldest in her family of five (Furumoto, 1992). Her parents were English, merchants who first settled in New York before migrating to Windsor, Connecticut when Christine Ladd-Franklin was six years old (Furumoto, 1992). Christine Ladd-Franklin is said to have inherited her women activism traits from her mother. During her early years, Christine Ladd-Franklin often accompanied her mother and aunt to attend lectures organized by women activists. Christine Ladd-Franklin later lost her mother at a tender age of twelve, a situation that forced her to move to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where she stayed with her father’s mother (Furumoto, 1992). During her stay in New Hampshire, Christine Ladd-Franklin studied at Wesleyan Academy for a period of two years before graduating in 1865.

Christine Ladd-Franklin managed to convince her grandmother who was at first reluctant, to join college. Christine Ladd-Franklin insisted that she was unlikely to get married owing to the fact that marriage was associated with class (Furumoto, 1992). In addition, her locality had plenty of women who were competing for husbands. As result of her low class and the presence of many young women, Christine Ladd-Franklin decided to further her education. She then joined Vassar College. Financial difficulties made her drop out of college for one year. However, she returned a year later thanks to the assistance she got from her aunt.

During her study at Vassar, Christine Ladd-Franklin developed a strong interest in science and women activism. Christine Ladd-Franklin managed to attain an honors A.B degree from Vassar (Furumoto, 1992). Immediately after her graduation, Christine Ladd-Franklin secured a job that sustained her for quite sometime; a feature that surprised her father. Christine Ladd-Franklin proactiveness, boldness and independence amazed her father. Although she worked as a mathematician, Christine Ladd-Franklin had a strong passion for physics. She later joined Johns Hopkins University, to further her studies (Furumoto, 1992). Enrollment at Johns Hopkins University was not easy because the university was traditionally meant for male students. Her application was initially rejected. However, Mr. James Sylvester of Johns Hopkins University recommended her. The University administration finally accepted her application but on one condition; she had to attend Mr. Sylvester’s lectures only. Owing to her tremendous work one year later, she was allowed to attend other lectures. She wrote a number of scholarly papers which were published in the American Journal of Mathematics (Furumoto, 1992).

The solid foundation she had in mathematics and botany helped Christine Ladd-Franklin formulate the Ladd-Franklin theory color of sensation. Ladd-Franklin study on color sensation started in 1886 (Furumoto, 1992). Before her death in1923, Ladd-Franklin theory color of sensation had served in a number of administrative positions (Furumoto, 1992). In addition, she had published dozens of papers on her theory of color sensation.

Theoretical Perspective

Christine Ladd-Franklin explored the link between geometry, binocular vision, and points in space. Christine Ladd-Franklin study provides an explanation to amplified distinctions in color. During her study on color sensation, there were two theories in existence which had been widely accepted. Thus, Christine Ladd-Franklin had a challenge of explaining why her theory should be published. One of the theory postulated by Thomas Young indicated that red, green, and blue were the only colors perceived by the retina. The other theory, which had been postulated by Hering, indicated that other colors were captured alongside the three main colors blue, green, and red. However, Christine’s theory suggested that the maturation of color and the development of sight are as a result of three evolving stages (Ladd-Franklin, 1887).

According to Christine’s color sensation theory, the black and white stage in the most decisive stage because it occurs in most visual settings. Later, her theory reveled that color white was broken into yellow and blue. Subsequently, yellow was propagated as red yellow vision. Christine noted that a majority of people suffer from red-green color blindness because red-green sensitivity is the latest stage (Ladd-Franklin, 1887). Christine’s theory explains the ether waves present in the retina, which contribute to color differentiation.

Christine was for the opinion that achromatic color vision precedes color vision. Christine also assumed that the human eye has inherited vestiges (Ladd-Franklin, 1887). The fovea, according to Christine, is the most developed section of the eye, because visual acuity and color sensitivity are necessitated during daytime (Ladd-Franklin, 1887). Christine believed that foveal vision, which is provided by cones and retina, is more advanced than peripheral vision often produced by rods and retina (Ladd-Franklin, 1887).

Contributions to the Field of Psychology

Christine’s contribution to the field of psychology was born in Germany. While in Gottingen in 1891, Christine studied under psychologists G.E Muller, and Hermann von Helmholtz of the University of Berlin (Green, 1987). Christine’s previous studied in logic, botany and biology inspired her to research on color vision. Christine’s theory was a hybrid of the existing two theories on color vision. Her theory brought new perspectives in the study of color vision.

As a result of her outstanding work in the field of psychology, Christine Ladd-Franklin became the first woman to join the American Psychological Association (Green, 1987). Christine has written numerous scholarly papers in the field psychology, which have been influential in explaining color sensation phenomenon.

Conclusion

This paper has noted that Christine Ladd-Franklin overcame many obstacles in her quest to gain academic supremacy. Her resilience saw her develop a significant theory, which as been influential in explaining color sensation. During her early years, Christine Ladd-Franklin often accompanied her mother and aunt to attend lectures organized by women activists. Christine Ladd-Franklin explored the link between geometry, binocular vision, and points in space. Christine Ladd-Franklin theory provides an explanation to amplified distinctions in color. During her study on color sensation, there were two theories in existence which had been widely accepted. Christine was for the opinion that achromatic color vision precedes color vision. Christine also assumed that the human eye has inherited vestiges. The fovea, according to Christine, is the most developed section of the eye, because visual acuity and color sensitivity are necessitated during daytime. Thus, Christine believed that foveal vision, which is provided by cones and retina, is more advanced than peripheral vision often produced by rods and retina.

Christine’s theory suggests that the maturation of color and the development of sight are as a result of three evolving stages. According to Christine’s color sensation theory, the black and white stage in the most decisive stage because it occurs in most visual settings. Her theory indicates that color white is broken into yellow and blue. Subsequently, yellow is propagated as red-yellow vision. Christine’s theory notes that a majority of people suffer from red-green color blindness because red-green sensitivity is the latest stage. Christine’s theory attempts to explain the ether waves present in the retina and color differentiation. Christine Ladd-Franklin’s has received numerous wards owing to her theory of color sensation. She is not only remembered for her scholarly work, but also due to her outstanding role as a women activist.

References

Furumoto, L. (1992). Joining separate spheres: Christine Ladd-Franklin, woman scientist (1847-1930). American Psychologist, 47, 175-182.

Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Green, J. (1987). Women of mathematics: A biobibliographic sourcebook. New York: Greenwood Press.

Ladd-Franklin, C. (1887). The experimental determination of the horopter. American Journal of Psychology, 1, 99-111.

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IvyPanda. "Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Contribution to the Psychology." June 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/christine-ladd-franklins-contribution-to-the-psychology/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Contribution to the Psychology." June 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/christine-ladd-franklins-contribution-to-the-psychology/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Contribution to the Psychology'. 3 June.

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