К 90-летию Джеймса Вернона Макконнелла

Дамы и господа,

26 октября 2016 г. исполнилось 90 лет со дня рождения профессора биопсихологии в Университете Мичигана, основателю и бессменному редактору Журнала Дрессировщика Червей/Журнала биологической психологии Джеймса Вернона Макконнелла.

Редакция ТЧК по праву считает Джеймса Макконнелла своим прародителем потому, что мы продолжаем его дело превращения науки в Науку.

За прошедшее время многое изменилось. Действительные члены Чайного Клуба вдруг перестали писать паранаучные статьи, работа над которыми в молодости приносила много радости. Зато появилось много новых наших последователей, среди которых даже есть и дети наших авторов.

Уже нет в живых и профессора Макконнелла. После публикации его статьи на английском языке в редакцию от профессора социологии Штерна из окружного колледжа Коллин (Техас) пришло письмо с большой статьей, посвященной памяти Джеймса Макконнелла. Она опубликована нами.

Мы просим всех наших читателей, знающих что-либо об этом замечательном человеке и ученом, написать нам. Наша мечта, по-видимому, неосуществимая - это номинирование профессора на шнобелевскую премию 2016 г. посмертно. Мы надеемся на поддержку американских коллег Макконнелла в этом начинании.

Редакция ТЧК К началу

On James Vernon McConnel's 90th anniversary

Ladies and gentlemen,

professor, biopsychologist of University of Michigan, the founder-editor of Worm Runner's Digest/Journal Biological Psychology James Vernon McConnell would have celebrated his 90th birthday in October 26, 2016.

Tea Club Annuals (T.C.A.) Editorial Board rightly considers James McConnell as the progenitor because of his continuing lifework of converting science to Science.

It has much changed since that time. The Tea Club's active members suddenly stopped writing parascientific articles, on which work in youth brought a lot of joy. But there are many new followers of our of which even have children of our authors.

Professor McConnell is no longer alive. After the publication of his article in English we received from Professor of Sociology Stern Collin College District (Texas) the letter from a long article dedicated to the memory of James McConnell. It is published by us.

We ask all of our readers who knows anything about this remarkable man and the scientist to write to us. Our dream seems unattainable is a nominating of professor on the Ig Nobel Prize in 2016 posthumously. We look forward to supporting McConnell American colleagues in this endeavor.

T.C.A. Editorial Board К началу


LSA Minutes

Professor Emeritus James V. McConnell died April 9, 1990 in Ann Arbor, not long after completing the sixth edition of his textbook, Understanding Human Behavior, little more than a year into his "retirement" from the University, and as he was poised to initiate a series of new publishing projects.

Professor McConnell received his B.A. from Louisiana State University in 1947, then completed his Masters degree and Ph.D. at the University of Texas, receiving his Ph.D. in 1956. He joined our faculty that year as an Instructor, advancing through the ranks to Professor in 1963, while also serving as Research Psychologist at the Mental Health Research Institute from 1963 - 1980.

His scientific research and writing, including some eight authored or edited books and countless book chapters and journal articles, ranged considerably, from sensory phenomena in autistic children, to subliminal stimulation, to the psychology of persuasion. His best known research consisted of a set of studies on learning and memory transfer in invertebrates, especially planaria: while that work was controversial, and difficult to confirm, its early insistence on the need to recognize and explore the chemical basis of memory remains noteworthy. But in a broader and more enduring fashion Professor McConnell shaped the understanding of psychology of more than a generation of college students in the United States and beyond with his immensely successful, widely adopted and widely translated introductory text. Meanwhile, in Helier vein he constantly debunked his field and needled his colleagues through his editing and publishing of the provocative, satirical Worm Runners Digest.

The depth of his commitment to undergraduate teaching was paralleled by his insistence on questioning standard teaching methods, and his own highly innovative, effective and individualized teaching methods with our undergraduates. An early presidency of his discipline's division on the teaching of psychology honored that dedication: a stream of prior students continue to express deep gratitude over the intellectual excitement and personal zest Professor McConnell unfailingly brought to his undergraduate teaching.

His honors and awards included a Fulbright scholarship, a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, an NIMH Research Career Development Award, and the American Psychological Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Award, but most of all he felt honored by his students' careers and their personal statements of intellectual indebtedness.

Albert C. Cain
Faculty Profile. The Michigan Alumnus 404

It is not any longer a safe assumption that a psychologist is a scientist who studies the human mind. Some do, but many - the "hard" psychologists - believe that the human organism is much too complex and that research on humans is much too restricted by social and moral taboos for there to be much hope of reliable hypotheses and theories.

To be sure, clinical and social psychologists still constitute the majority of members of the American Psychological Association, but their experimental colleagues often consider them "soft" in the hard-fact foundations of 
their work. The simpler the organism, the more possible is rigorous laboratory control and study of its behavior. Therefore, experimental psychologists are generally "rat men." James Vernon McConnell, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan, is even "harder" than that - he is a "worm man."

How he got that way is a complex story. In high school, Jim McConnell was a biology major and won second prize for an exhibit at the Louisiana State Fair. On the side he held down a 40-hour-a-week job as cub reporter with the Shreveport Times.

After getting his A.B. at LSU in 1946, he planned to attend Columbia University for an M.A. in English, but was detoured by a series of attractive radio and television jobs. Many of his shows were aired nationally over NBC and several won prizes. In 1951 McConnell returned home to take over the family business and discovered that "not being in television was equal to not getting an ulcer." He later enrolled in clinical psychology at the University of Texas and spent the summer of 1952 as a psychologist with an archeological expedition in Mexico. His observations of the primitive Tehepuan Indians were embodied in his first professional publication. Eventually McConnell shifted from clinical psychology to social and finally to experimental psychology.

Together with another Texas graduate student he set up a simple apparatus in the kitchen of his apartment and performed the first experiments proving that flatworms could be conditioned. The results were published in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology (1955).

Joining the Michigan faculty in 1956, McConnell continued his research on flatworms with the help of some graduate students. After conditioning worms to respond to flashes of light, he cut them in half and allowed them to regenerate. Then he tested them to see if they would retain traces of their original learning. To his joy, the tails, which contained little of the original nervous tissue, "remembered" as much as did the heads. This strange phenomenon persisted through several generations. The implications for the hereditary transmission of learned characteristics are obvious and astounding.

It would be misleading to suggest that McConnell has exclusively narrowed the focus of his attention to worms. He continues to work at all levels of psychology, "soft" and "hard." Not only is he 
directing experiments on a higher level than worms, but on an even lower level - plants. Experiments justify a tentative hypothesis that learning or conditioning occurs in the Venus fly trap. In the area of human engineering, behavioral influence, persuasion techniques (including "brainwashing"), and motivation, he has served as a consultant for the Department of Defense. He has planned two new books: An Introduction to Psychology and Influence. In addition to teaching, writing, and research, he has been academic counselor for juniors and seniors in psychology and is presently chairman of the psychology department's Committee on Undergraduate Studies.

Memoir. Regents' Proceedings 307

James V. McConnell, Professor of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 1988.

Professor McConnell received his B.A. degree from Louisiana State University in 1947 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas in 1954 and 1956, respectively. He joined the faculty of The University of Michigan in 1956 as an instructor. He accepted an appointment as an assistant professor in 1958; he was promoted to associate professor in 1962 and professor in 1963. He also served as research psychologist at the Mental Health Research Institute from 1963 to 1980.

Professor McConnell's scientific research and writing, including some eight authored or edited books and countless book chapters and journal articles, have been wide-ranging, covering such topics as sensory phenomena in autistic children, subliminal stimulation, and the psychology of persuasion. But he is best known for his series of provocative studies on learning and memory transfer or "transfer of training" in invertebrates, especially planaria. At the same time, he has literally shaped the understanding of psychology for more than a generation of college students in the United States and beyond with his immensely successful, widely adopted introductory text, Understanding Human Behavior, now in its fifth edition and multiple translations. On the lighter, yet by no means trivial side, Professor McConnell entertained, buzzed, and needled his colleagues in his role as founder, editor, and publisher of the devilishly satiric Worm Runners Digest for twenty years. Less visible to his academic colleagues have been his published science fiction novellas and short stories and his flowering career as an orchidist.

A continuous stream of student comments concretize and express deep gratitude over the intellectual excitement, personal zest and individualized attention that Professor McConnell regularly brought to his undergraduate teaching. His commitment was illustrated by his insistence on questioning standard teaching methods, and by his own highly innovative and effective teaching methods with undergraduates over the years, both in large general lecture courses and in special honors courses.

Professor McConnell's honors and awards include a Fulbright scholarship, a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, an NIMH Research Career Development Award (1963 to 1968), and the American Psychological Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Award. His expertise has repeatedly been sought in consulting roles by such disparate institutions as the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Defense, and numerous corporations.

The Regents now salute this distinguished social scientist and teacher by naming James V. McConnell Professor Emeritus of Psychology.

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