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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2008 May;54(3):272-84.

The eugenic legacy in psychology and psychiatry.

Author information

1
University of Central Lancashire, UK. dpilgrim@uclan.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Assumptions about genetic differences in human mental characteristics can be traced in large part to the eugenic movement, ascendant at the turn of the 20th century.

MATERIAL:

This paper offers historical case studies, of 'innate general cognitive ability' and 'psychiatric genetics', in order to appraise the eugenic legacy in current psychology and psychiatry.

DISCUSSION:

Reviewing the work of representatives, Cyril Burt, Franz Kallmann and Eliot Slater, along with their research networks, it is argued that eugenics remains a quiet but powerful background influence in modern-day psychology and psychiatry.

CONCLUSION:

At the turn of the 21st century, eugenics remains an important area of inquiry, reflection and education for those in the inter-disciplinary field of social psychiatry.

PMID:
18575381
DOI:
10.1177/0020764008090282
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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