Chapter 3

The 1st International Congress of Psychology: Assuring the continuity of congresses

The 1st International Congress of Psychology was immediately recognized as such a great success that the participants drew up plans for the 2nd congress and for a standing committee to assure the succession of congresses. In view of the success, it is puzzling to consider in retrospect the doubts that preceded the initial meeting.

Julian Ochorowicz (1850–1917): First to suggest holding International Congress of Psychology and forming international organization of psychological societies. (Courtesy of Archiwum Ilustracji Wydawnictwa Naukowego PWN S.A., Warsaw)

The initial proposal for an international congress of psychology was published in 1881 by a visionary young Polish psychologist who also called for an international organization of psychologists. This imaginative psychologist was Julian Ochorowicz (1850–1917), Privatdocent in psychology at the Polish University of Lemburg. (Lemburg was then in the Austro-Hungarian empire and is now the Ukrainian city of Lvov.) Ochorowicz convinced the French psychologist Théodule Ribot to publish in his journal, the Revue Philosophique, an article entitled “Projet pour un congrès international de psychologie” (Ochorowicz, 1881 ). Ribot (1890 , pp. 29–30), in his presidential address at the 1st congress, confessed that when he received Ochorowicz’s manuscript he found the project attractive but fanciful and published it in the hope that it might bear fruit in the distant future, never expecting Ochorowicz’s vision to be realized so rapidly.

As a contemporary visionary, engineer Gustave Eiffel promised the French authorities in 1886 that he could build the tallest structure in the world and have it ready in time for the celebrations of the centenary of the French revolution. In spite of widespread skepticism, Eiffel carried out his promise. The project for the international congress of psychology and the completion of the Eiffel Tower converged in 1889, when the psychologists who attended the 1st congress held their closing banquet on the Tower.

The full name of the 1st congress was the International Congress of Physiological Psychology, and it was organized by the French Society of Physiological Psychology. This society was founded in 1885, on the initiative of professor of medicine Charles Richet; it lasted only a few years, but long enough to organize the 1st International Congress of Physiological Psychology (Piéron, 1938 , p. 508. “Physiological” was used in the sense of “scientific,” just as Wundt entitled his text of 1873–74 Grundzüge der physiologische Psychologie, meaning a psychology intended to be as scientific as physiology.

The 1st International Congress of Psychology

Organizers, sponsors, registrants, and participants

Théodule A. Ribot (1839–1916): Acting President of the 1st International Congress of Psychology, Paris 1889, and later President of the 4th International Congress of Psychology, Paris 1900.

The International Congress of Physiological Psychology took place on August 6–10, 1889, during the Universal Exposition in Paris. It was Ribot who took the initiative to organize the congress on behalf of the French Society of Physiological Psychology. Other officers and members of the organizing committee included not only psychologists and philosophers but also psychiatrists and other physicians; psychology was interpreted more broadly then than now, and there were only a few psychologists at the time. The prominent neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot was named President of the congress, but it appears that he did not attend any of its sessions (Claparède, 1930 , p.36; James, 1889 ), and Ribot was effectively the President; Ribot is listed as Acting President in publications of the IUPsyS, and Charcot is named as Honorary President. Ribot had just left the chair of Experimental and Comparative Psychology at the Collège de France, moving to a professorship at the Sorbonne. Technically, Ribot was one of three Vice-Presidents of the congress, the other two being the eminent psychiatrist Valentin Magnan and the philosopher and member of the Académie Française, Hippolyte Taine. The Secretary-General of the congress was Charles Richet, professor of medicine in Paris; he was a physiologist concerned with psychological and parapsychological questions, and he had helped to give scientific status to studies of hypnotism. Other members of the Organizing Committee included Edouard Brissaud, professor of medicine; Julian Ochorowicz, listed as a member of the French Society of Physiological Psychology, and René Sully-Prudhomme of the Académie Française.

The committee of sponsors of the congress included prominent psychologists and members of related disciplines from 13 different countries. Among the sponsors were several whose names many readers will still recognize: Alexander Bain of the University of Aberdeen, well known for his textbooks of psychology (Great Britain); Henri Beaunis, professor of physiology, who had just founded at the Sorbonne the first French laboratory of psychology, the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology; Francis Galton, a scientist-at-large and member of the Royal Society of London, well known for his work in heredity and in statistics (Great Britain); Hermann von Helmholtz, a physicist, neuro-physiologist, and investigator of the senses (Germany); Ewald Hering, a neurophysiologist and investigator of vision (Czechoslovakia); John Hughlings Jackson, a neurologist and student of brain organization (Great Britain); William James, the leading American psychologist (USA); Pierre Janet, a systematic psychopathologist and psychotherapist, who was to be an officer of later international congresses of psychology (France); M. Lange (Denmark); Cesare Lomboroso, a psychiatrist and anthropologist who studied hereditary factors in criminality (Italy); Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov, a prominent physiologist who maintained that psychological questions should be studied by physiologists through investigation of reflexes (Russia); Wilhelm Wundt, the founder of experimental psychology (Germany).

The Organizing Committee mailed out invitations to the congress on July 1, 1889, accompanied by a preliminary program. Two hundred and four registrants came from 21 countries, paying a registration fee of 10 francs. The majority, 128, came from France; Russia had the next highest delegation, 19, and both Germany and Great Britain had 10 registrants each; only 3 came from the United States. Of the 204 registrants, only about 50 participated by giving a presentation or taking part in a symposium (Montoro González, 1982 , Figure 1, p. 300). Furthermore, many of those registered did not actually attend the congress. James (1889) reported that the number at sessions varied from 60 to 120. Claparède wrote that it was a really small congress with no more than half the number of registrants present at sessions (1930 , p. 36).

Program of the congress

Four main themes were discussed at the congress: hallucinations, which was understood to include also mental telepathy; hypnotism; heredity; and muscular sensations. Limitations of time and disagreements about appropriate subject matter led to elimination of some of the topics listed in the preliminary program. Unlike most of the following congresses, there were no parallel sessions.

The content of the program revealed ongoing controversies about the proper nature of psychology. One controversy concerned the role of hypnotism. A large group of physicians who practised hypnotism submitted papers on this topic. When the program committee did not accept many of these, the physicians organized their own congress, Le Premier Congrès International d’Hypnotisme, which overlapped with the Congrès International de Psychologie Physiologique. The published proceedings of the Congress of Hypnotism (Premier Congrès International d’Hypnotisme, 1890 ) were more than twice as long as the proceedings of the Congress of Psychology.

Another controversy concerned the role of experimental research versus investigations of metapsychology, that is, psychological events that could not be understood by conventional science. Ribot, in his address opening the congress, related the congress to the introduction of psychology among the sciences. He stressed that the congress showed how research and cooperative relations among psychologists could develop and benefit when objective methods replaced introspection (Ribot, 1890 , p. 30; Piéron, 1954 , p. 398). In concluding his address, Ribot called for further international congresses of psychology to succeed the opening one in Paris.

Charles Richet, the Secretary-General, had placed on the congress program the question of hallucinations in the sense of mental telepathy, and in his opening address, he called for study of metapsychology. According to Henri Piéron, Richet welcomed to the congress colleagues who shared his interest in metapsychology—not only Ochorowicz, who had stimulated the organization of the 1st International Congress of Psychology, but also Henry Sidgwick, the English philosopher who was to be president of the 2nd congress, and Baron Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, who was to be Secretary-General of the 3rd congress (Piéron, 1954 , p. 399); this welcome does not, however, appear in the opening address of Richet as Secretary-General of the congress, as reported in the proceedings (Richet, 1890 , pp. 32-38). In his brief history of the international congresses of psychology, Piéron (1954) characterized Richet as an eminent disciple of Claude Bernard, a poet, a dramatist, a fabulist, an inventor, a future aviator, and first among the metapsychologists. Curiously, Piéron did not mention that Richet was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1913 for his discovery of and research on anaphylaxis; this is a term Richet coined for the sensitivity that develops to various substances after they are placed within the body. Although in the long run Richet was not able to interest many psychologists in metapsychology, he participated in several international congresses of psychology, and served on successive International Congress Committees until his death in 1935.

The first session of the congress, on hallucinations, was chaired by Henry Sidgwick, professor of philosophy at Cambridge and president (1882-85, 1888-93) of the Society for Psychical Research of London. A committee was established to collect examples of occurrence of hallucinations, especially the perception of a distant person at the moment of his death, and to perform a statistical analysis of them.

The second session of the congress was devoted to hypnotism; it was chaired by Joseph Rémi Léopold Delboeuf, professor of psychology at the University of Liège (Belgium) and the founder of its psychological laboratory. The presentations and debate opposed the positions of the Nancy school and of the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. According to the Nancy school, headed by physician Hippolyte Bernheim, hypnotism was a phenomenon of normal behavior related to suggestion and sleep. The Salpêtrière group, headed by the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, maintained that hypnotism is a pathological condition, related to hysteria. Sigmund Freud had visited both the Nancy and the Salpêtrière groups in France and attended the congresses of hypnotism and psychology to witness more of their presentations. (Freud was listed among the registrants of the congress of psychology as “Freund, Sigm., Université de Vienne.”) According to the report of William James, “The partisans of the Nancy school were decidedly in the majority at the meetings; and everyone seemed to think that the original Salpêtrière doctrine of hypnotism, as a definite pathological condition with its three stages and somatic causes, was a thing of the past” (James, 1889 , pp. 614–615). Bernheim took an active part in the discussion, but as noted earlier, Charcot, although Honorary President of the congress, did not attend its sessions. James commented that the great diversity of views on hypnotism showed how much more work still had to be done in this field. He also noted that an overlapping medical congress devoted mainly to hypnotism drew off attendance from the last few days of the psychology congress.

Francis Galton presided over the third session, on heredity. He advocated performing animal research to determine whether acquired habits may be inherited, and for research on human heredity he advocated studying relatives of different degrees of relationship. Charles Richet (1890 , p. 35) remarked that the subject of heredity evoked little interest among the public, and he remarked that livestock breeders pay more attention to the heredity of their animals than scholars do to that of humans. It should be recognized that the 1st International Congress of Psychology took place before the laws of heredity, published in an obscure journal by Gregor Mendel in 1866, were rediscovered and made widely known in 1900.

William James presided over the fourth session, devoted to muscular and other sensations. This session was introduced to give more weight to conventional experimental psychology and physiology in the congress. Several investigators discussed whether muscular sensations are purely afferent, like touch and other sensations, or whether they reflect in part motor innervation. Charles Richet reported that after removal of occipital cortex of a dog, the animal still detected objects as obstacles but no longer as prey.

In addition to the 4 main themes, there were 21 individual reports. These could be divided into two major areas, one revolving around hypnotism and the other around aspects of physiology related to behavior (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 86). Physiology was to remain a major theme in the succeeding congresses. No reports dealt with applications of psychology. Apparently all of the reports were presented in French.

James emphasized that the formal discussions at the congress were secondary in importance to the social consequences: “the friendships made, the intimacies deepened, and the encouragement and inspiration which came to everyone from seeing before them in flesh and blood so large a part of that little army of fellow-students, from whom and for whom all contemporary psychology exists. The individual worker feels much less isolated in the world after such an experience” (James, 1889 , p. 615).

The closing banquet of the congress took place in a restaurant on the first platform of the Eiffel Tower, which had been completed and inaugurated earlier that year. As Claparède wrote, the Tower, like the International Congress of Psychology, had seemed a fantastic project when it was first proposed a few years earlier (1930 , p. 36). William James (1889 , p. 615) wrote enthusiastically about the final banquet and the nighttime view from the Eiffel Tower with “the wonderfully illuminated landscape of exhibition grounds, palaces and fountains spread out below, with all the lights and shadows of nocturnal Paris framing it in.”

Assuring the continuity of international congresses of psychology

The participants in the International Congress of Physiological Psychology in 1889 agreed that an International Committee should be established to assure the continuity of international congresses of psychology (Claparède, 1930 ; James, 1889 , p. 615; Nuttin, 1992 , pp. 30-31). Ochorowicz (1881) had seen the necessity for such a committee. As well as setting up a permanent committee under the name of the International Congress of Psychology, the participants of the 1889 congress also decided the dates, host country, and name of the next congress, and they named the officers of the 2nd congress. The International Committee was also charged with the responsibility of organizing the 2nd congress. In the future, there would be two separate committees, the permanent International Committee and a local Organizing Committee. The permanent International Committee was to be known by several different names over the course of time: Comité Permanent des Congrès, Comité International Permanent des Congrès de Psychologie, Comité International de Propagande, International Congress of Psychology. Over the years, 12 successive International Committees were to be appointed, the last of them in 1948 (Appendix A ). This last committee was also to serve as the Assembly of the first of the International Congress of Psychology to be held under the auspices of the new International Union of Scientific Psychology in 1951.

Representatives of Belgium, Great Britain, and Switzerland offered to play host to the next congress. Great Britain obtained the majority of the votes, and the congress was set for London in August 1892.

What to call the 2nd congress aroused considerable discussion. Some urged retaining the name International Congress of Physiological Psychology, stating that psychology is a branch of physiology. Others proposed using the term “Experimental Psychology,” noting that in Germany and Great Britain it meant a psychology that abstained from metaphysical questions. Some wanted to use the term “Psychology” without any qualification. Finally it was decided to use the title International Congress of Experimental Psychology.

As President of the 2nd congress, the participants chose Henry Sidgwick, professor of philosophy at Cambridge and a member of the Society for Psychical Research of London. He had interacted with French investigators of hypnotism, which was a reason that they urged his election to ensure that this topic would be included at the second congress. The first Secretary was Frederick W.H. Myers, who shared interests with Sidgwick; he also was a member of the Society for Psychical Research, and he was a co-author of a widely noted book on psychic research, Phantasms of the Living (Gurney, Myers, & Podmore, 1886 ). The second Secretary was James Sully, prominent as a writer of textbooks of psychology and named professor of mind and logic at the University of London in 1892.

An international and interdisciplinary list of 11 Vice-Presidents was named, including Alexander Bain, mentioned earlier as a sponsor of the 1st congress (Great Britain); James M. Baldwin, who founded the psychological laboratory at the University of Toronto in 1889 and at Princeton in 1893 (Canada and USA); Hippolyte Bernheim, a physician expert in hypnotism (France); Hermann Ebbinghaus, whose pioneer experimental research on memory appeared in his 1885 book, Uber das Gedächtnis (On memory) (Germany); Joseph Rémi Léopold Delboeuf, a psychologist who investigated visual psychophysics, and a founder of the psychological laboratory at the University of Liège (Belgium); David Ferrier, a neurophysiologist who mapped sensory regions of the cortex in animals (Great Britain); Eduard Hitzig, a psychiatrist who demonstrated the electrical excitability of the brain in 1870 (Germany); Jules Liegeois, professor of law at the University of Nancy (France); Wilhelm Preyer, a physiologist, known especially for his book Die Seele des Kindes (1882, English translation, The Mind of the Child, 1888) (Germany); Charles Richet, a physiologist interested in psychological questions, including hypnotism and telepathy, and who had served as Secretary-General of the first congress (France); E.A. Schäfer, a neurophysiologist who investigated localization of brain functions (Germany).

The members of the permanent International Congress of Psychology committee, chosen by the participants of the 1st congress, were meant not only to ensure the continuation of the congresses but also to facilitate international correspondence among psychologists working on different topics in psychology. The compte rendu of the congress (Congrès International de Psychologie Physiologique, 1890 , p. 145) and William James , in his account of the congress (1889 , p. 615), provided only the surnames of most members of the International Committee, but we list full names when possible (see Appendix A1 ). Nine of the 27 members came from France: Henri Beaunis, Hippolyte Bernheim, Bertrand, Alfred Espinas, H. Ferrari, Eugène Gley, Léon Marillier, Théodule Ribot, and Charles Richet; 3 came from England: Francis Galton, Frederick W.H. Myers, and Henry Sidgwick; 4 from Germany: Eduard Hitzig, Hugo Münsterberg, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, and Arthur Sperling; 3 from Russia: Danilewski, N. Grote, Julian Ochorowicz (it is not clear why the compte rendu listed Ochorowicz as Russian since we know he was Austro-Hungarian); 2 from Switzerland: August Henri Forel, Pierre Herzen; and 1 each from 6 other countries: Benedikt (Austria), Joseph Rémi Léopold Delboeuf (Belgium), Neiglick (Finland), Cesare Lomboroso (Italy), Edouard Grüber (Romania), and William James (United States).

The lists of members of the successive international committees, named from 1889 to 1948, contained the names of many well-known contributors to psychology and related fields. Here are some examples:

Alfred Adler, Frederic Bartlett, Alfred Binet, Edwin G. Boring,
Charlotte Bühler, Karl Bühler, James McKeen Cattell, James
Drever Sr., Hermann Ebbinghaus, Paul Fraisse, Francis
Galton, G. Stanley Hall, William James, Pierre Janet, David
Katz, Otto Klineberg, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler, Serge
Korsakoff, Karl S. Lashley, Kurt Lewin, Albert Michotte,
Joseph Nuttin, Ivan P. Pavlov, Jean Piaget, Henri Piéron,
Mario Ponzo, Morton Prince, Burrhus Frederick Skinner,
Charles Spearman, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Théodule Ribot,
Edgar Rubin, Edward L. Thorndike, Louis Thurstone,
Edward B. Titchener, Margaret F. Washburn, Max
Wertheimer, Robert S. Woodworth, and Wilhelm Wundt.

After the formation of the Union in 1951, the officers and members of the Executive Committee began to become more representative in terms of gender and geography, as we will see in later chapters of this history.

The participants of the 1st congress also agreed in principle that an international association of societies of psychology should be formed (Congrès International de Psychologie Physiologique, 1890 , pp. 126-129). This foreshadowed the IUPsyS, but such an association was obviously premature, because there were only a few local societies at the time. These included the French Society of Physiological Psychology, the Berlin and Munich Psychological Societies, the Moscow Psychological Society, and the Boston and London Societies for Psychical Research.

Changes over the course of the international congresses of psychology

Now that we have reviewed the 1st International Congress of Psychology, it will be worthwhile to anticipate briefly some of the changes that would take place in the congresses over the next century.

Growth in numbers of congress registrants

One major change is that the congresses attracted increasing numbers of psychologists, growing from 204 in Paris, 1889, to reach about 4000 registrants for the most recent congresses (Brussels, 1992; Montréal, 1996). There were gaps in the succession of congresses caused by the two World Wars, and there were dips in the numbers registered for the two congresses after World War I and for the three congresses after World War II. Then the growth resumed. The small numbers of participants registered for the 7th congress (Oxford, 1923) and the 8th congress (Groningen, 1926) were caused by a decision of the International Congress Committee to limit attendance at each of these congresses to about 200 well-known psychologists plus a few others. No other congress had such a limit imposed.

Although only about one quarter of the registrants at the 1st congress participated by giving a presentation or taking part in a symposium, the great majority of registrants at the recent congresses have participated actively in events on the program. This reflects the fact that since World War II, many registrants have all or part of their congress expenses reimbursed by university or governmental funds if they take an active part in the program.

Increase in numbers of women registrants

Christine Ladd-Franklin, USA (1847–1930): One of the first women to participate in International Congresses of Psychology, giving reports on color-vision.

Only three women were listed among the 204 registrants at the 1st congress, but the number of women rose rapidly by the 3rd congress. At least two of the women registered at the 1st congress also participated in the 2nd congress. The report of the 2nd congress did not include a list of registrants but it showed papers presented by Mrs Christine Ladd-Franklin and by Mrs Sidgwick (International Congress of Experimental Psychology, 1892 , pp. 103–108, pp. 168–169, Notes, pp. 582 & 586). The announcements for the 3rd and 4th congresses stated that women would be accorded the same rights and privileges as men (e.g., Psychological Review, 1896, p. 240). The report of the 3rd congress listed at least 51 women registrants among the 453 total registrants (Dritter Internationaler Congress für Psychologie, 1897 ). Several of these were listed as professors’ wives, but one was listed as doctor, one as professor, a few as doctoral candidates, and several without any qualification.

The first woman was named to the International Congress Committee in 1909 at the 6th congress in Geneva. This was “Mlle Dr” I. Ioteyko, a Polish physician who was head of the laboratory of psychology at the University of Brussels (VIME Congrès International de Psychologie, 1910 , p. 34). Dr Ioteyko (later spelt Joteyko) was one of eight Polish psychologists, five of them women, to propose at the 1909 congress that the next international congress be held in Warsaw.

Increase in diversity of congress sites

The origins of modern psychological science in Western Europe, its early spread to North America, and then its development around the world are reflected in the sites and dates of the international congresses of psychology, as shown in Appendix D . The first eight congresses all took place in six countries of Western Europe. Successive plans to hold congresses in the United States as early as 1893 failed to materialize until the 9th congress was held at Yale University in 1929. Congresses 9–18 included two in the United States, one in Canada, and six in Western Europe. Then, in the last third of the 20th century, more varied sites began to be chosen to reflect and encourage the spread of psychology around the world. The 18th congress took place in Moscow (1966); the 20th congress, in Tokyo (1972); the 22nd congress, in Leipzig, German Democratic Republic (1980); the 23rd in Acapulco (1984); the 24th in Sydney (1988); the 25th in Brussels (1992); the 26th returned to Montréal (1996); and the 27th congress returns to Stockholm in 2000, almost a half century after the IUPsyS was founded there in 1951.

Jozefa Joteyko (1866–1928): The first woman to be appointed to the International Congress Committee. (Courtesy of Archiwum Ilustracji Wydawnictwa Naukowego PWN S.A., Warsaw,)

Increased geographical diversity of congress registrants

The number of countries sending participants to the congresses has increased greatly and the proportions of registrants coming from different countries have changed markedly over the history of the International Congress of Psychology. Whereas only 21 countries were represented at the 1st congress, during the first 16 congresses (1889–1960), citizens of 71 different countries registered in at least 1 congress (Montoro González, 1982 , pp. 303–305). During the period 1963–1980, citizens of 88 different countries registered (González Solaz, 1998 , Table 2.1.A., pp. 531–533).

Of course, each country’s representation shows a peak when it is the host country. Overall, however, for the first 16 congresses, the representation of the United States came to predominate, with 27% of the total, followed by those of Germany (13%), Great Britain (12%), France (11%), Italy (5%), Belgium (4.5%), and Switzerland (4%) (Montoro González, 1982 , pp. 292 et seq.). The next six congresses (1963–1980) showed rather similar results: United States (28%), Germany (German Federal Republic plus German Democratic Republic) (15%), Japan (10%), USSR (10%), France (6%), Great Britain (5%) (González Solaz, 1998 , pp. 531–533). Each of the six leading countries hosted a congress during the period concerned, increasing their attendance over other countries. If one eliminates, for each of these countries, the congress in which it played host during this period, then the United States still has the greatest total attendance (23%), followed by Germany (5%), Japan (4.1%), Great Britain (2.8%), France (2.1%), and USSR (1.8%); Canada, which did not host a congress during this period, accounted for 3% of the overall attendance.

Changes in languages employed at the congresses

The languages used for presentations at the congresses also varied over time. The 1st congress appears to have been conducted entirely in French; at least the published record is entirely in French, even for English-speaking or German-speaking participants (Congrès International de Psychologie Physiologique, 1890 ). At the 2nd congress in London, 1892, papers were read and discussions conducted in English, French, or German (International Congress of Experimental Psychology, 1892 , p. iv). The proceedings of the 3rd congress, Munich 1896, show that papers were presented in German, French, English, and Italian (Dritter Internationaler Congress für Psychologie, 1897 ). At the 6th congress, Geneva 1909, in the discussion about congress procedures, a speaker referred to the five languages authorized at the congress: German, English, French, Italian, and Esperanto (Clément, 1910 , p. 842); the proceedings show papers in the first four of these languages, but only some discussion in Esperanto. In contrast to the 1st congress in Paris, which was entirely in French, at the 11th International Congress in Paris, 1937, there were five official languages—English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish (Onzième Congrès International de Psychologie, 1938 ). From this high-water mark of linguistic diversity, the number of official languages diminished so that, until recently, the official congress languages were English and French, plus the language of the host country. (See Chapter 13 , where in 1991 the Executive Committee dropped French as a required official language, leaving only English and the language of the host country.)

Analyses by Montoro González (1982 , pp. 381 et seq.) show that in the first six international congresses (1889–1909), those held before World War I, French predominated, accounting for 43% of the reports; German came next, with 24%, and Italian third, with 21%; English accounted for only 11% during this period. In the next five congresses, those occurring between the two World Wars, English predominated with 66%; German was second with 17%, narrowly leading French, which had 16%. In the first five congresses that followed World War II, congresses from 1948 through 1960, English had an even more impressive lead, with 74%; French was second with 16%, and German had fallen far behind, to 9%. For the seven congresses from 1963 through 1984, González Solaz (1998 , p. 592) found that 70% of the presentations were in English, 14% in French, 5% in Spanish (almost entirely because of the 23rd congress in Mexico), and 4% in German. The predominance of English and French until the end of the 20th century is explained in part by the fact that, until 1996, the international congresses had adopted the practice that presentations could be made in English, French, or the language of the host country.

Changes in topics and themes of the congresses

The topics and themes of the congress programs showed marked changes as the scope, methods, and directions of psychology developed. In this regard, as in others, the history of the congresses presents a history of modern psychology. Montoro González (1982 , pp. 250–291) devised a set of headings to classify the subjects of presentations at the first 16 congresses (1889–1960). González Solaz (1998) used the same classification scheme, with minor modifications, for the next seven congresses (1963–1984). We will cite some of these analyses of topics as we review the successive international congresses of psychology in the next chapters.


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