Mary Whiton Calkins although a prominent and very dedicated figure in psychology and philosophy, struggled to accomplish her achievements to make substantial contributions to the study. An American born in 1863, the oldest of five siblings she became the fourteenth and first woman president of the American Psychological Association. In the United States in1906, Calkins ranked as the twelfth leading psychologist (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Calkins faced sexual discrimination throughout her career with disregard for her accomplishments and the degrees she earned with disapproval to gender (Furumoto, 1980).
The environment in which Calkins’ grew up provided social development determined and molded by her father Wolcott Calkins in respect to education, religion, principles and morals influenced by the fact her father was a minister. Calkins was very family oriented and devoted to family and notably to her mother. The illness and death of a younger sister gave Calkins’ her first encounter with agonizing bereavement, a life perception beyond doubt that perpetually influenced thinking and character for Calkins (Furumoto, 1980).
With extremely limited facilities for psychological laboratories, minimum psychology departments, and female, encountering admittance problems, Wolcott Calkins was instrumental by means of arranging interviews, petitions and letters in furthering his daughter’s education. Although granted attendance in response to a petition addressed to Harvard University, Harvard rejected Calkins registration as a student, only attendance in the classes and at seminars became established and permitted with Josiah Royce and William James.
Fortunately, in the fall of 1890 in addition to attending seminars with Royce and James at Harvard University, Calkins studied experimental laboratory psychology work beneath Edmund Sanford at Clark University to enhance her education. Calkins studied and excelled in her field of psychology (Furumoto, 1980). “In 1902, having completed all of the requirements for the doctoral degree and having out scored all of her male peers on the doctoral qualifying exams, Calkins was denied a degree from Harvard” (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, pg 9. ).
A doctoral degree presented from Radcliffe College however; Calkins’ refused The PhD based on her opposition of unequal differences and treatment of sexual preference (Kowalski & Westen, 2009,). In 1918 Calkins became the first woman president of the American Philosophical Association turning from psychology and into philosophy consuming the latter portion of her career. Responsible for publishing books and articles, a professor of psychology and philosophy, creating a system of self-psychology, and defending women’s equality, Calkins fulfilled an important place in society with many accomplishments (McDonald, 2007).
As a young adult, Calkins resided with an extremely close faculty community exclusively all female at Wellesley College of liberal arts. Even though Calkins was in her early twenty’s the development of identity in reference to furthering stability and expounding on ideas and values possibly had influence by this assembly of associates and friends. Interesting to note similarities observed among this accumulation of women include most was single, reared by upper to middle-class professional parents who advocated education with the majority born from 1855-1865.
The 53 faculty members were harmonious in respect to the same values, philosophical idealism, appropriate with nature, continuing education, and civic humanism. Calkins’ desire and enthusiastic attraction in the inevitably social nature of the self was intuitively stimulated because of her experiences associated with living and working at Wellesley for three years (Wentworth, 1999). Calkins’ personality would suggest self-determination, with tremendous stability for the duration of her adulthood, humanitarian, loving and caring, religious, focusing on respect, equal standards and moral principles.
Calkins personality and behavior could fit into Eysenck theory of personality, the trait theory. This theory, based primarily on genetics focuses on traits and types using types to symbolize superior organization of personality. Eysenck believed individuals generate distinguishing behaviors, some are repeated, continual, or habitual, and some are frequent. Eysenck describes traits as an accumulation of interactive habits – individuals who possesses one of the listed habits is inclined to be in possession of other habits that develop the trait. A trait s essentially a virtually fixed characteristic that causes an individual to function in assertive ways. Eysenck distinguished three psychological types. The first extroversion indicates active, social, and risk taking. Neuroticism denotes continuing emotion stability, and psychoticism refers to aggression, impulses, and control (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Evaluating Calkins personality and behavior using Erik Erickson’s Psychosocial stages. Erikson conceived that personality progresses in stages and describes the significance of social experience traversing a space of the whole lifespan.
A main component of this theory is the development of ego identity, which is the conscious sense of self and developed through social interaction. Expected constant changes, and the vast amount of information acquired daily, and interactions with others, the individual ego identity is constantly changing. Ego strength or ego quality is a concern with becoming competent in each phase. The first psychosocial stage is from infancy to 18 months and considered the most fundamental described as trust and mistrust. The second stage is early childhood to three years and centered on developing a strong sense of personal control.
The third stage includes preschool to age five. This is the exploration period and the assertion of power and control with social interaction. Stage four, looks at social interactions for ages six to 11 years. Adolescence ages 12 to 18, stage five where identity, confusion, and exploration of oneself exist. Stage six examines young adults to age 40 a time of exploring personal relations, intimacy, and isolation. Middle age to 65 years is stage seven and concentrates on continuing to build lives and stagnation. The final stage nine is maturity a time of integrity and despair focusing on reflecting back on life (Kowalski & Westen, 2009).
Using Eysenck’s trait theory based primarily on genetics and Erickson’s psychological stages to analyze Mary Calkins personality. Erickson’s stages give more emphases to evaluating the younger individual and the elderly. The Erickson theory also appears less complicated for comparing and evaluating the subject’s development of stages that occurs throughout the lifespan. Erickson’s theory concentrates on competency throughout each of the growing-learning stages of life. Eysenck using genetics links Mary Calkins to her father more than to her mother and Mary Calkins, devoted to her mother and unmarried.
Eysenck relates habits to traits to establish a particular behavior. Although Eysenck focuses on genetics, linking personality to biological process, concentrating on Erickson’s theory is in the best interest to explain Calkins behaviors and achievements throughout her life. Using Erickson’s theory establishes consistency in each stage to explain and support the evaluation of the subject’s lifespan. Calkins emerges with a superior organization of personality having a positive influence on society and environment.
Remembered more for her status as the first woman president of both psychology and philosophy as opposed to her work and contributions to each field reflected on gender. Calkins had an awareness of shaping her life pursuing developmental patterns palpable in terms of distinguishing and adequately pursuing long-term goals. When cause arose, disengaging from goals no longer necessary or attainable, and when accosted with difficulty, misfortune, disappointments, and failures, Calkins had a remarkable capacity to stay on course and maintain a faculty of personal rational.