APA Psychological Film Collection

film-collection-1The APA Psychological Film Collection was established in 1998, soon after Wade Pickren arrived to become director of archives. As APA members inquired about donating their book collections to the APA Classics Library, some of them also inquired about donating films they had collected or, in a few cases, films that they had made. Since then, numerous films have been received, providing documentation about some of the many areas of research that APA members have been involved in over the years.

Among the collection is a set of films made by member Louis Aarons. Aarons is a noted researcher of brain processes and his films illustrate various aspects of brain function. A large collection of films from the library of Santa Fe Community College was given to the archives when the library converted to a newer format (Pickren had at one time been an instructor at SFCC). This collection contains films on various and miscellaneous subjects.

Other notable films in the collection include several films on Jean Piaget, B. F. Skinner, Ivan Pavlov, Abraham Maslow and others. The study of animal behavior has a long history in American psychology and the film collection contains numerous films relevant to that study; films on ant behavior, baboons, and monkeys are part of the collection. APA member Marianne Simmel donated fascinating films on twins from her research program. There are also films on various mental disorders and their treatment, including the classic film, “Schizophrenia: the Shattered Mirror.”

film-collection-2The film collection represents an important part of the history of American psychology. It will prove to be a rich resource over many years for psychologists and historians of psychology.