Stay Free! #21 now available

Carrie McLaren carrie at
Fri Oct 17 13:52:55 EDT 2003


I am pleased to inform you that a new issue of Stay Free! is now 
available for purchase. You can pick it up at finer independent 
book/record stores (plus Barnes & Noble and Tower) or online straight 
from the source:

Of course, we'd prefer that you subscribe since we make a lot more 
money that way. Subscriptions run from $7 to $20 for three issues; 
people who subscribe in the new few days will be receive an invite to 
our upcoming subscribers bash in Brooklyn. Info:


Introduction to #21 > The Psychology Issue

In 1999, sixty psychologists and psychiatrists sent a letter to the 
American Psychological Association (APA) urging it to oppose 
advertising to children. You had to admire their moxie: The APA 
represents a field that practically owes its existence to advertising.

The roots of the psychology industry date from the turn of the 20th 
century, when both advertisers and psychologists were scorned by 
their peers. Economists, bankers, and executives equated ad men with 
sideshow barkers, while scientists considered psychologists no better 
than fortune-tellers. To bolster their credibility, ad agents turned 
to psychologists and vice versa. By applying psychological theories 
to advertising, psychologists hoped to prove themselves practical; by 
incorporating psychology in ad campaigns, ad agents hoped to prove 
themselves scientific. (Psychology wasn't yet seen as a science, but 
that's another story.) John B. Watson, America's answer to Pavlov, 
personifies the triumph of both fields-the founder of behaviorism, 
which dominated psychological theory in the 1930s, he was also a vice 
president of J. Walter Thompson, a leading advertising agency at the 
time and currently the world's largest ad firm.

Psychologists allied themselves with business in other ways, as in 
"human engineering." Ana Marie Cox explores this history in her 
article on employee personality testing (p. 22), while Gaylord Fields 
and Matthew Flaming expose the psychological notions at work in 
another economic realm: grocery shopping (pp. 32 and 34).

Like psychology, psychiatry has been shaped by business interests-and 
though we're calling this the psychology issue of Stay Free!, it is 
equally about psychiatry. (Psychology covers everyday habits of the 
mind; psychiatry deals with aberrations.) In his stellar history of 
the lobotomy, Elliot Valenstein (interview, p. 12) describes how the 
field of psychiatry has, like psychology, faced economic pressures. 
Thrifty state governments, competition from neuroscientists and 
nonmedical therapists, and a burgeoning pharmaceutical industry have 
ultimately contributed to psychiatry's turn away from an 
environmental approach to mental illness and toward biological models.

The point of this issue of Stay Free! is a simple one: Both 
psychology and psychiatry purport to help people yet remain seriously 
conscribed by money and politics.


"Better Living Through Lobotomy: What can the history of lobotomy 
tell us about psychosurgery today?"
Allison Xantha Miller interviews Elliot Valenstein

"I Am Never Lonely: A brief history of employee personality testing"
by Ana Marie Cox

"Prozac Nations"
Lawrence Kirmayer discusses cross-cultural mental health

"Curious Mental Illnesses of the World"
by Carrie McLaren and Alexandra Ringe

"Buyer Beware: How do shoppers respond when items are mysteriously 
placed in their baskets?"
Gaylord Field experiments

"Secret Shopper: The psychology of grocery store design"
by Matthew Flaming

"Borderline Hysteria: The history of psychosomatic illness"
Carrie McLaren interviews Edward Shorter

"Sick in the Head"
Stay Free! readers share their psychosomatic complaints

"Enter the Wolfman: The syndrome that makes you howl at the moon"
by Brian Boling and Matt Dicke
by Jason Torchinsky
[ This appeared as a fake ad in the magazine but it's been made into 
a web site ]

and lots more!

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