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Turnbull, O. (2000). Personal Memories of Experimental Psychology and Psychoanalysis Commentary by Oliver Turnbull. Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):258-259.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):258-259

Personal Memories of Experimental Psychology and Psychoanalysis Commentary by Oliver Turnbull Related Papers

Oliver Turnbull, Ph.D.

Paul Whittle's lecture was delivered to the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge in 1994. Its publication evokes strong memories for me because I had the privilege of attending the lecture itself when I was about to complete my doctoral training in that department. The talk was part of an ongoing weekly series of scientific lectures, called Zangwill Club meetings, after the eminent Cambridge neuropsychologist (who was head of the Cambridge department for many years). The talks were most commonly given by invited speakers, typically prominent psychologists and neuroscientists. Members of the department's own academic staff (such as Paul) did deliver Zangwill Club talks from time to time. However, the topics covered in the talks, whether delivered by internal or external speakers, were invariably of the “hard-nosed” scientific sort, focusing preferably on small and tractable problems, and delivered with the usual barrage of experimental data that are expected from a scientist. Thus, data become the principal material of any talk, and one's scientific credentials are (arguably) measured by the “quality” of the empirical material. At times it has seemed that the ideal data for such an environment would involve a rather mathematicallooking function, based on systematically manipulating an easily controlled variable, and plotted on a nice tidy graph (a linear function would be best, but an exponential function would still be acceptable).

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