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Lawton Environmental Psychology Aging

Lawton Environmental Psychology Aging

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Published by schnebna
Psicologia ambiental e envelhecimento
Psicologia ambiental e envelhecimento

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: schnebna on Mar 29, 2010
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13
AnEnvironmentalPsychologistAges
M.POWELLLAWTON
IWASBORNINATLANTAIN
1923
andraisedasapartialSoutherner,despitehavinggonetopublicschoolinAliquippa,Pennsylvania,wheremyfatherworkedinthesteelindustryasanengineer.Althoughmyparentswerestaunch"Rebels,"thatcharacteristicwasexpressedinotherwaysmostunusualfortheirmilieu.Forexample,mymotherwouldtypicallyinsistonsittinginthebackofbuseslongbeforetheCivilRightsmovementanddidherbesttopersuadeblacksnottocreateanewcolorlinebehindher.Atage87,shedecideditwouldbenicetoseeusmoreoften,andshemovedfromAtlantatoanapartmentnearus,doingaliherownpacking.IwenttoHaverfordColiegebeforeandafterWorldWarlI,whichIspentasaconscientiousobjectorworkingvariouslyinamentalhospital,asaguineapiginaninfectioushepatitisexperiment,andasacowboyescortinganimaIstoEuroperightafterthewar.Psychologycameafterreturningtocoliege,happilyrequiringmetoattendBrynMawrColiegebecauseatthetimeHaverfordhadaminimaldepartment.AfterservingasaVAtraineeinNewYorkwhileattendingTeachersColiege,Columbia,IwenttotheProvidenceVAHospitalin
1952
andthentoNorristownStateHospitalforatotalofabout10yearsasaclinicalpsychologist.Asnotedinmychapter,mycareerchangetogeropsychologycarnein
1963,
andI'vebeenatthePhiladelphiaGeriatricCentereversince.AnylatentplansforretirementwereshatteredbythereceiptofaMERITgrantawardfromtheNationalInstituteonAgingwhenIwasage64.Thisawardcanberenewedforupto10years.Division20(AdultDevelopmentandAging)oftheAmericanPsychologicalAssociation,theGerontologySocietyofAmerica,andEDRAhaveprovidedmewithasuperbconvoyofstimulatingscientistsandwarm,supportivefriends.IhavedonestintsaspresidentofDivision20andpresidentoftheGerontologicalSocietyandhavebeenthefortunaterecipientoftheDistinguishedContributionAward(Division20),theKIeemeierAward(GerontologicalSociety),theCareerAward(EDRA),andtheOllieRandali
M.
POWELLLAWTONPhiladelphiaGeriatricCenter,
5301
OldYorkRoad,Philadelphia,Pennsylvania
19141.
339
 
340
M.Powel1LawtonAnEnvironrnentalPsychologistAges
341
Award(NortheasternGerontologicalSociety).Iwasfoundingeditorof
Psychologyand
Aging,
theAPAjournal.MywifeFayisaremedialreadingspecialistatGreeneStreetFriendsSchoolandBrynMawrCollege'sChildStudyInstitute.SheandIbothmightratherhavebeenmusicians,writers,arsomethinginthatcategory.Ourchildrenhaveobligedusbylivingoutourfantasies.Tomisaprofessionaljazzpianist,Jennyanartphotographer(panoramicphotography),andPamelaapainter.Grandparenthoodisgreat,too,thankstoIsabelandLeo.INTROOUCTIONWritinganintelIectualautobiographytemptsonetosmooththeedges,fitinpiecesthatbegandisparately,andtailoraretrospectivephilosophythatencompassesalI.ThepresentchapterwilltrytoavoidsuchalevelingprocessoThebestguaranteeofpreservingthecomplexityofone'sfieldandassuringthatwickedproblemsremainwickedistoutilizethedialecticalperspective,whichamongotherattributes,construesalIscholarshipasacontinuousprocessofproblemdefinitionandredefinition,withapparentsolutionsbeingeithertemporaryorillusory.Attheoutsetthen,aparticulardebtisduethegeniusofthelatelife-spanpsychologist-theoreticianKlausRiegel(1977)andthesenioreditorofthisseries,whobroughtandelaboratedthedialecticperspectiveintoperson-environmentrelations(Altman
&
Gauvain,1981;Altman
&
Rogoff,1987).Thedialecticperspectivewillbeused(discursively,asbefitsthetoneofthisvolume)toexaminedilemmasthatareverygeneralbutthatdonotnecessarilyalwayshaveaconfluenceintheworkofanyonecareer.Thedilemmaofknowledgeintheserviceofpeopleversusknowledgeasascholarlygoalinitsownright,orappliedversusbasicscience,wasmyfirstdilemmainachronologicalsenseandperhapsinoveralIimportance.Asecondsourceoftensioninthepracticeofresearchisthedegreetowhichthearydirectsscientificworkversusthedegreetowhichempiricalapproachespredominate.Third,environmentalpsychology'sintrinsicdilemmaistodefinewhatispersonandwhatisenvironment,orarethey?ThesethreedilemmasconstituteparalIelthreadsthatbindthiswriter'sintelIectualcareer,buttosomeextent,theorderinwhichtheyhavebeennamedhereisboththeirchronologicalarderandtheirorderofincreasingdifferentiation.Inshorthandform,theywillbecharacterizedasthebasicversusapplieddilemma;thetheoreticalversusempiricaldilemma;andthepersonversusenvironmentdilemma.BASICVERSUSAPPLIEO:LOVEOFHUMANITYANOLOVEOFKNOWLEOGEHaverfordColIegewasthenurturingenvironmentformanyyoungmenwhowouldspendlifetimesintheserviceofsociety.MyowninterestinsocialcauseswasstimulatedbythestrongQuakermilieuatHaverford,and1havecontinuedtobeanactiveQuaker.HaverfordhasaIsobeenoneofthesmalIcolIegeswithhighestacademicstandards.Thusasanundergraduate,thepulIbetweentheideaIsofhumanitarianserviceandthescholarlycareerwereveryevident.Anearlyrushofsentimentoccasionedabandoningamajorinchemistryforamajorinpsychology-certainlyagooddecisioninretrospectbutonemadeatthetimeundersomeinternalcompulsiontodogoodandthereforesuspect.Thatmotiveisstillaliveandstillsuspect.Theredirectionofcareergoalsfoundanaturalhomeinclinicalpsychology,whichintheimmediatepostwaryearswasanextraordinarilyflourishing,intelIectualIyeuphoricactivity.Itisdifficulttodescribeadequatelytheoptimism,theconvictionthattheanswerswereathand,andthesenseofsocialmissionamongtheearlypostwarclinicians.FortunatelywhathadtoprecedeclinicaltrainingwasastrenuousundergraduateprogramwhoseresultsaffirmedtheprincipIesofprimacyinlearningandofearlyexperienceinpsychologicaldevelopmentforlong-termoutcome.Althoughthisfirstexposuretopsychologycarneduringmyearly20s,thenervoustissueorbrainareasspecifictopsychologymusthaveaverylateperiodofmaximumreceptivitytoexternalinputbecausetheintelIectualbackgroundofmyfirsttwocoursesinpsychologyhasremainedtothisdayamajorcomponentofmyapproach.Introductarypsychology(mostofthepsychologytaughtatthattimewasatBrynMawrColIegeratherthanHaverford)wastaughtbyOonaldMacKinnon,oneoftheillustriousgroupofstudentsofHenryMurrayatHarvard.MacKinnonmanagedtogethisundergraduatestoreadMurray's
ExplorationsinPersonality
(1938)andLewin's
DynamicTheoryofPersonality
(1935)andatthesametimetorespectFreudianpsychology.Bycontrast,thecentralcourseforthepsychologymajorwasHarryHelson'sexperimentalpsychology.HelsonhadplayedamajorroleinintroducingGestaltpsychologytotheUnitedStatesbeforethestreamofpopulationdisplacementsbroughtKõhlerandKoffkathemselvestoourcountry(Helson,1925).MytimewithHelsoncarneduringthephaseofhisearlydevelopmentofadaptationleveItheory(Helson,1964).Asastudentandalsoasubjectinsomeofhisexperimentsonbrightnessmatching(Ioncehadthemisfortuneofproducinganoutlierresponseforwhich1waschastisedasanungratefulapprentice)therealimpactofadaptationleveI(AL)escapedme.Helsonwasaclassicalpsychophysicistandatthetimehadlittleinterestinthesocialandsubjectiveaspectsofpsychology.HismajortheoreticalcontributionwasinspecifyingthewaysensorystimulationbecomesperceivedpsychologicalIy.Hisownresearchdemonstratedanextraordinaryvarietyofwaysinwhichthethreecomponentsofthestimulussituation-thefocalstimulus,thecontemporarycontextofthestimulus,andtheanchoringframeworkofearlierexperienceswithsimilarstimuli-determinedthetransformationofthephysicalenergyofthestimulusintothepsychologicalperception.Forexample,thejudgedbrightnessofastimuluspatchvarieddepending,ofcourse,onthephysicallightpropertiesofthepatchbutalsoonthelightingoftheground,thepresenceofotherstimuliinthevisualfield,and
 
342
M.PowellLawtonAnEnvironmentalPsychologistAges
343
therecenthistoryofexposuretootherpatchesandtheorderinwhichaseriesofpatchesofdifferingbrightnesshadbeenintroduced.Helson.regrettedt~esoftdirectioninwhichmyinterestled.OnleavingHaverford,1twasthefleldtheory,personology,andpsychodynamicconceptionssowelItaughtbyMacKinnonthatformedthebridgetograduatestudyatTeachersColIege,Columbia,andaclinicalinternshipintheearlydaysoftheVeteransAdministrationclinicalpsychologyprogramoAdaptationleveItheorywaseasytoleavebehind.LearninghowtoperformpsychologicalassessmentandpsychotherapywastotalIyconsistentwiththeneedtouseknowledgeforhumanitarianpurposes.ThephilosophicalapproachofCarlRogerswasrepresentedatTeachersCollegebyNicholasHobbs."Nondirective"or"client-centered"therapy(Rogers,1942,1951)wasextraordinarilyconsistentwiththeQuakerphilosophyinitsrespectforthepersonandhisorherpotentialforgrowth.Researchwasvaluedinthissystem,but,notsurprisingly,adistinctlynegativevaluejudgmentwasattachedtousingthestatisticalnormasabasisforassessment,treatmentplanning,orjudgingtherapeuticsuccess.Indeed,"ipsativemeasurement"(thatis,quantificationofattributesintermsoftheirrelativesaliencewithinanindividual)wastheresearchmethodologyofchoiceintheclient-centeredapproachoftheday.Stephenson's(1953)Q-methodologyoffactoranalysiswasborrowedforpurposessuchasstudyinganindividual'srankingoflifegoalsorself-conceptbeforeandaftercounseling.Client-centeredresearchwasaIsohighlyempirical.Thesystemasawholewasaloosephilosophymorethanatheory.Theoryinthetraditionalsensewasviewedasapossiblebarriertothegrowthofself-determination.Client-centeredresearchthustendedtoseekthroughtheexhaustivestudyofrecordedtherapysessionsdetailsoftherapist-clientinterchangethatmightbeassociatedwithclientoutcomessuchasexpressionsofself-determination,self-regard,andself-discovery.Withtheselfbeingseenasthecoreofbothproblemsandgrowth,thenonselfwaspartofthepictureonlyinphenomenologicalterms.Thissamesituationofobliviousnesstotheenvironmentcharacterizedmanyapproachestoclinicaltreatmentofthetime.Afamousanalyst(thesourcehasslippedfrommymemoryatthispoint)oncenotedthatgoodpsychotherapycouldtakeplaceinapigpen.Thuswithinlate-1940sclinicalpsychology,theapplicationofempiricallydirectedresearchbasedontheindividualasaunitwastheusualstateofaffairs.Projectivetechniquesweretheassessmenttoolsofchoice,againwiththeuniquenessoftheindividualasthefocus.Inprojectivetests,thestimulusconfigurationwasmadeasambiguousaspossibleinordertomaximizetheamountofidiosyncraticmaterialelicited.Irememberafellowstudent'sdiscoveryofanewgradedambiguousstimulustest:typednonsensesentencesinmultipleonionskincarboncopies,wherethefourteenthcarbon(thesmudgeoftypewasbarelydifferentiatedfromthewhitepaper)producedtheperfectstimulusforpersonalpreoccupationstoemergeasoneattemptedtoread!Theproblemwiththeambiguousstimuluswasthatresponsestoitinevitablywereinterpretednormativelyaswellasipsatively.Thus,ontheRorschachtest,responseswheretheformoftheperceptwaspoorlydelineatedortheperceptitselfwasformless("ablobofblood")werepathologicalindicatorsregardlessofwhichcardorportionofacardelicitedthem.Theapplicationofthisoversimplifiedinterpretiveapproachtoanassessmenttechniquewhosestrengthshouldresideinthejusticeitdoestotheindividualbotheredme.Itledtomydissertation,whichdealtwithperson-environmentinteraction,afactthatIdiscoveredonlysomeyearsIater.Thestudywasbasedonthehypothesisthatthequalityofaperson'sprojectiveresponsetoastimulusisafunctionbothofthepsychopathologyoftherespondingindividualandthegestaltqualityofthestimulus.Iconstructedaseriesoftwo-dimensionalfigures(cutoutofblackpaperandappliedtoawhitebackground,eliminatingthevariationsincolorandshadingthataddtothecomplexityoftheRorschachstimuli)andaskedapanelofjudgestorateeachofthe60figuresintermsoftheeasewithwhichsomethingwassuggestedbyeachformoThisprocessresultedinfivefiguresthatconsensusestablishedas"highlystructured,"fivefiguresthatwerevery"poorlystructured"(almosteveryonefounditdifficulttothinkofanythingtheywereremindedofbythefigure),andfivethatwereofmediumstructure.SeveralindicatorsofresponsequalitycommonlyusedinRorschachinterpretationwereappliedtotheresponsesgivenbysubjectswhowereaskedtotellwhateachfigurelookedlike.Theseindicators(themostimportantofwhichwereformqualityandcongruousnessoftheperceptwithreality)werethosewhosenegativeaspectswereassociatedwiththediagnosisofpsychopathology.ThreesubjectgroupswererecruitedfrompatientsinVAfacilities:psychoneurotics,outpatientborderlineschizophrenics,andhospitalizedovertschizophrenics.Theresultswereveryclearinshowingmaineffectsofstimulusstructureandpsychopathologyonresponsequality.Aninteractioneffectwasaisoseensuchthatthemaximumdifferencesamongthegroupscarnewhenthestimuliweremostambiguous.Yet,theseveryambiguousstimulielicitedpathologicalresponsesfrompeopleofalIthosedegreesofpathology,whichthemosthighlystructuredfigureswereunlikelytodo.Itakespaceinthischaptertodescribesuchalong-forgottenstudy(Lawton,1952,1956)becauseitrepresentedatthetimeanidiosyncracy.Myfacultycommitteelikedtheneatnessofthedesignbutfoundthecontentuninterestingbecausetheintrapsychicphenomenonunderstudywasdilutedinsignificancebyitscombinationwiththemundaneconceptofstimulusstructure.HadIrecognizeditatthetime,Ishouldhaveframedthestudywithintheframeworkofperson-environmentinteraction.Asitwasdone,theresearchwasmeanttomoderatetheclaimsofpsychodiagnosticiansthatintrapsychicproductionscouldbeinterpretedinan·absolutesensewithoutregardtothecontextinwhichtheproductionwaselicited.TheapproachwastotalIyempirical,designedtoaffectpractice,nottheory.Tenyearsofclinicalpracticefollowedcompletionofthedoctorate.Itwastheopportunitytodooccasionalclinicalresearchthatgave'spicetothatperiodandfinallytothedecisionin1963toseekafulI-timeresearchjob.SuchajobhappenedtobecomeavailableatthePhiladelphiaGeriatricCenter,ahighqualityserviceinstitutionthathaddecidedtobuildaresearcheffortinthestill

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