Giovanni Pietro Lombardo

Notes on the history of psychology in Padua: Benussi's death and the problem of succession to his chair

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Keywords: Death of Vittorio Benussi; Psicology and Fascism; Gemelli and the New Death of Psicology.

By means of historical analysis of letters between Benussi, Gemelli, Kiesow, and De Sanctis, this essay reconstructs the story of the loss of the «fourth chair» of Experimental Psychology in Padua in 1927. Following the suicide of the fourth chair's owner, Benussi, (evoked in a letter sent to De Sanctis the same day of his death; see Archivio di storia della psicologia, Sapienza University), the first psychologists began clashing with the idealist and spiritualist philosophical hegemony which was contrary to experimental psychology. The failure pushed Gemelli to advance a disciplinary perspective on psychological studies, different from his previous one, which unfolded in a specific and Psychotechnical way in the thirties in Italy.

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