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Black Psychologists Have Had a Greater Impact on Behavioral Science than You May Know

In a time when psychological issues are becoming a big problem due to the prolonged effects of the Covid-19 induced lockdown, it makes sense to take a look back at some of the highlight achievements which black psychologists and psychiatrists have had on behavioral science over the course of more than a century.

Kenneth Bancroft Clark

A well-known name to everyone familiar with the history of psychology, and the first black man to ever become President of the APA, Kenneth Bancroft Clark is most famous for his Doll Study. Go through the following to get a brief overview of what, why and how he and his wife Mamie Phipps Clark conducted the famous Doll Study, also known as The Doll Tests.

  • During the Brown Vs. Board of Education case, he and his wife designed the Doll Tests to display the effects of segregation in school
  • 200+ black children from various age groups were given the choice between white and brown dolls
  • An overwhelming majority of children as old as three chose white dolls
  • The unbiased study was officially deemed conclusive enough to prove the effects of segregation on children
  • The Supreme Court banned segregation in public schools on the basis of Clark’s Study in 1954

Robert Lee Williams II

The 2nd President of the Association of Black Psychologists, Robert Lee Williams II was also one of the founders of the organization itself. His primary achievements and contributions to psychology are as follows:

  • He was the main designer and creator of Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity
  • It proved that the difference in IQ observed between black and white Americans is a result of a vernacular difference
  • The differences between their lingo and their experiences were interfering with the IQ test results until then
  • The vernacular used by black Americans is now referred to via the term Ebonics, which was coined by Robert Lee Williams II

Joseph L. White

Another founding member of the Association of Black Psychologists, Joseph L. White is a name that is of no little importance to the development of Black culture and behavioral study. Some of his prime achievements are:

  • Creating and establishing the Black Studies Program in 1968
  • Author of the seminal article, “Toward a Black Psychology
  • He believed that unless a separate, catered approach was taken by psychologists to treat black Americans, they couldn’t properly help them

Mamie Philips Clark

Mamie Philips Clark was not only the wife of the famous Kenneth Bancroft Clark, but she was a brilliant psychologist all one her own as well. While her achievements are often not mentioned enough, the following should provide a decent highlight on the same:

  • She played a crucial role along with her husband to devise, conduct and display results of the Doll Studies
  • Mamie Phillips Clark also established later on that black children were often being subjected to biased therapy

Inez Beverly Prosser

Inez Beverly Prosser was the first black woman psychologist to ever get a Ph.D. in the subject. It should be noted that Prosser’s name is not only significant due to her contribution to psychology as a black woman, but also as a woman from any race. The highly educated psychologist is well known for the following:

  • First black, female psychologist to get a Ph.D.
  • Prosser’s dissertation for the Ph.D. was about comparing the effects of segregation with mixed environments at a school level
  • At that time, she found and presented evidence that segregated schools were indeed a better choice for black children
  • She showed that most black children who studied in segregated schools managed to adjust and settle in society better, later on in their lives
  • Integrated, or mixed schools, on the other hand, created socially insecure black adults with poor success rates

Although her theory was later thwarted by Mamie and Kenneth Clark and the US education system changed against what her finding suggested, she is still held in great esteem for establishing the fact that a separate psychological environment and understanding was indeed required for treating both black children and adults properly.

Pursuing Psychology in the Post-Covid-19 World

Now that psychological issues are on the rise, there is an even greater demand for psychologists to help people cope with their new situation better. Consider joining the Central Christian College of Kansas online and complete your Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the safety of your home.

Whether you are inspired by one of the many greats of behavioral science we mentioned, or simply have always had a knack for successfully helping those around you overcome difficult situations, a career in psychology can be one of the best careers to pursue right now. Just like online classes, online counseling sessions can provide aid to millions of people around the world; you too can be a part of that.

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