Professor Charles Myers Professor Seligman and Lord Rothschild at British Association Meeting
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Professor Charles Myers Professor Seligman and Lord Rothschild at British Association Meeting

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Professor Charles S. Myers, the Director of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, a Vice-President of the Jewish Health Organisation of Great Britain and Chairman of the Visitation Committee of the United Synagogue, who is President of the Psychology Section of the British Association centenary meetings now being held in London, delivered the presidential address to the Psychology Section yesterday. Many people stood in the corridors endeavouring to hear his address. Dr. Myers, who took as his subject “The Origin and the Nature of the Conscious and Sub-Conscious Self”, analysed psychologists.

It is largely to the uncontrolled genius of psychologically untrained experts in other fields, he said, that we owe the exaggerated importance which has been variously attached of late to conditioned reflexes, sex, inferiority, behaviour, mental tests, correlations, etc., in psychology. Thus have often arisen the various “schools” of modern psychology, characterised by the same narrow bigotry as is to be found among contending religious sects, each school almost worshipping its founder, each contributing something of truth and value, but each refusing to recognise truth and value in its rivals, each blind to important conceptions other than its own and to other important problems, the investigation of which is essential for the progress of psychological science.

The press deals very lengthily to-day with Professor Myers’ address, several important papers like the “Morning Post” and the “News Chronicle” devoting editorial articles to it. Yesterday’s address by Dr. Charles G. Myers to the Psychological Section of the British Association has the fascination of the opening chapters of a thrilling detective story, narrated by the Chief of Scotland Yard himself, the “Morning Post” writes. He whets our enthusiasm in the chase, marshals the relevant clues, and criticises with the dignity becoming a professional investigator the inefficiency, and even charlatanism, of those amateur sleuths who are in full cry along the trail called psycho-analysis. The pitfalls along that trail are many and dangerous, and we welcome Dr. Myers’ note of warning.

Dr. Charles Myers did well yesterday, the “News Chronicle” editorial says, to pass judgment on the “uncontrolled genius of psychologically untrained experts” who have presented us with the modern jargon of mental psychology, much of which is undoubtedly sheer nonsense and much else no more than pretentious words and phrases to define perfectly familiar emotions. Freud may command our respectful attention if not always our intellectual acquiescence, it proceeds, but the quack Freudian is a public nuisance and in some circumstances a public menace.


In the Anthropology Section, Professor Charles G. Seligmen, the famous anthropologist, former President of the Royal Anthropological Society, who, too, is a Vice-President of the Jewish Health Organisation of Great Britain, delivered an address on “Human Hybrids”, taking as his subject the problem of mixed races. The defects of character usually attributed to mixed races, he thought, were the result in part of the admixture of bad social types from the parent race, and in part to the discouraging environment by which they were surrounded in many parts of the world, and were not, he suggested, necessarily the natural results of the mixture of blood.

In the Section of Zoology, Lord Rothschild, a distinguished zoologist and the founder of the well-known Zoological Museum at Tring, who is also in the Jewish Health Organisation of Great Britain, of which he is Chairman of the Executive and Trustee, exhibited an egg of the Kamodo dragon, the largest living lizard, two examples of which are the chief treasure of the Reptile House in the London Zoological Gardens.

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