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Elizabeth l roberds Cognitive Assessment December 3, 2008

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1 Elizabeth l roberds Cognitive Assessment December 3, 2008
Lightner Witmer Elizabeth l roberds Cognitive Assessment December 3, 2008

2 Early History Born in 1867 Attended the University of Pennsylvania
Studied in graduate school under James Cattell Completed his doctorate under Wilhelm Wundt

3 Basic Concepts of Witmer
Father of school psychology Father of clinical psychology Known for enacting an applied psychology Coined the term clinical psychology Lightner Witmer

4 Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania
Clinic at Penn Witmer took over Cattell’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania In 1896, Witmer opened the first psychological clinic in the world.

5 Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania
“At that time I could not find that the science of psychology had ever addressed itself to the ascertainment of the causes and treatment of a deficiency in spelling. Yet here was a simple developmental defect of memory; and memory is a mental process of which the science of psychology is supposed to furnish the only authoritative knowledge. It appeared to me that if psychology was worth anything to me or to others it should be able to assist the efforts of a teacher in a retarded case of this kind” (Witmer, 1907, p. 4 in Benjamin, 2007, p. 95).

6 The Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania
A Child with Instruments Used at the Clinic More cases were brought to Witmer. Children brought to the clinic most often had behavioral or learning disorders. Witmer eventually needed help with the workload.

7 The Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania
“The Psychological Laboratory undertook in March, 1896, the study and remedial treatment of mentally and morally retarded children and of children suffering from physical defects which result in slow development and prevent normal progress in school” (University of Pennsylvania catalog, 1909, in Benjamin, 2007, p. 98).

8 What Happened at the Clinic?
Children were referred to the clinic through the school system. Medical, anthropometric, optometric, and psychiatric examination were part of evaluation. Memory, visual discrimination, and muscular coordination were tested. A case worker compiled information about the child.

9 What Happened at the Clinic?
Clinical records were complied for three reasons: correlating case histories in order to produce generalizations standardizing tests establishing new diagnostic techniques After testing, a diagnosis would be made and treatment would commence.

10 Some Instruments Used in Diagnosis
Chronoscope Chronoscope : “the instrument Wundt and Cattell had used to measure the speed of mental processes” (Benjamin, 2007, p. 97). The Hipp Chronoscope can measure time in thousandths of a second.

11 Some Instruments Used in Diagnosis
Kymograph – “a device with a rotating drum that measured responses over time” (Benjamin, 2007, p. 97). Ergograph – “measured muscle contraction and was likely used in conjunction with the kymograph to look at muscle contraction over time as a measure of fatigue” (Benjamin, 2007, p. 97). Kymograph

12 Witmer’s Later Work at the Clinic
Witmer later expanded the focus of his clinic. Witmer was especially interested in working with gifted children. Specialty clinics formed within the larger clinic. 1914 – Twitmyer – diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders 1920 – Viteles – vocational guidance Brotemarkle – college counseling center


14 The Special Class For Backward Children
“This volume may appear to be making a great to-do about little or nothing. It is about eighteen backward children who were taught in a special class for six weeks during the summer of 1911, at the Psychological Laboratory and Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania” (Witmer, 1911).


16 Children in the Special Class

17 “Corrective Gymnastics”

18 More About Witmer Witmer was one of the very first members of the APA (1892) In 1896 he discussed his psychological clinic at the annual meeting of the APA, and in the following years urged his contemporaries in the field “to throw light upon the problems that confront humanity” (Witmer, 1897, p. 116, in Benjamin, 2007, p. 95). Witmer urged his colleagues to develop training programs that could produce individuals “capable of treating the many difficult cases that resist the ordinary methods of the school room” (Witmer, 1897, p. 117, in Benjamin, 2007, p. 95). Witmer is often contrasted with G. Stanley Hall.

19 The Psychological Clinic
Witmer started the first clinical psychology journal The Psychological Clinic in It was in the first issue of this journal that the term “clinical psychology” was first published. Witmer also outlined a suggested program of study for this newly named practical field.

20 Later Life Witmer retired from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937.
He died in 1956.

21 References Benjamin, L. T. (2007). A brief history of modern psychology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Fagan, T. K. (1996). “Lightner Witmer.” In Fagan, T. K. & Warden, P. G., eds. Historical encyclopedia of school psychology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Hilgard, E. R., ed. (1978). American psychology in historical perspective. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association, Inc.

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