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J Hist Behav Sci. 2002 Summer;38(3):225-45.

Constructing representations of Karl Spencer Lashley.

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  • 1University of Florida, USA.


I compare, contrast, and analyze two published constructions, a straightforward approach and a social constructivist perspective, of the life and work of psychobiologist Karl S. Lashley (1890-1958). Although it is clear at a general level that scientific endeavors are affected by extrascientific factors, particular concern is directed at the issues involved in demonstrating that the scientific work of an individual, in this case Lashley, is affected by specific extrascientific influences. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that Lashley's work was driven predominantly by racial and genetic determinist positions and that he was something other than the scientist he represented himself as being. I then discuss an unpublished personality theory approach to Lashley that suggests the influence of some personality characteristics on his work and helps to provide balance and perspective in constructing representations of Lashley.

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