James Mark Baldwin


James Mark BaldwinJames Mark Baldwin was among the first in the United States to study the normal development of children. Among his lasting contributions to the field was his idea about an infant's imitation. He argued that early imitative movements were the basis for early learning. The infant imitated a pleasurable event in order to continue the pleasure. Baldwin says it this way:

After several trials the child.gets the adaptation aimed at more and more perfectly, and the accompanying excessive and useless movements fall away. This is the kind of selection that intelligence does in its acquisition of new movements" (Baldwin, 1895a, p. 179; Baldwin, 1896e).

This idea that Baldwin called circular reaction was later incorporated into Jean Piaget first stage of infant development.

A second idea that got attention, both then and now, is Baldwin's notion of learning being inherited. This is now called the "Baldwin effect". Baldwin argued in this case that a learned behavior, such as circular reaction, may, in some cases become instinctive.

Baldwin was born at Columbia, S.C., and educated at Princeton and several German universities. He graduated from Princeton with a doctorate in experimental psychology in 1881. His first faculty position at Lake Forest University in Illinois. From there he went to University of Toronto (1889) where he took a position in the department of philosophy. Shortly thereafter he left to take a position in the department of psychology at Princeton (1893), and a few years after that (1903) in the department of philosophy and psychology in Johns Hopkins University. Prominent among experimental psychologists, he was one of the founders of the Psychological Review. In 1892 he was vice-president of the lnternational Congress of Psychology held in London, and in 1897-1898 he was president of the American Psychological Association.

Writings of James Mark Baldwin, arranged chronologically

Baldwin, J. M. (1887). Postulates of physiological psychology. Presbyterian Review, 8, 427-440.

Baldwin, J. M. (1889a). Handbook of psychology: Senses and intellect. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1889b). The idealism of Spinoza. Presbyterian Review, 10, 64-76.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890a). Philosophy Its relation to life and education, Inaugural Address. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890b). New work in psychology, University of Toronto Quarterly, 1, 70-97.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890c). Psychology at the University of Toronto, American Journal of Psychology, 3, 285-286.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890d). Origin of right or left handedness, Science, 16, 247-248.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891a). Notes. American Journal of Psychology, 3, 593.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891b). Handbook of psychology: Feelings and will. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891c). Suggestion in infancy. Science, 17, 113-117.

Baldwin J. M. (1892a). The Psychology Laboratory at the University of Toronto. Science, 19, 143-144.

Baldwin, J. M. (1892b). Suggestion and will. In International Congress of Experimental Psychology, Second Session, London, 1892 (pp. 49-56). London: Williams and Norgate.

Baldwin, J. M. (1892c). Origin of volition in childhood, Science, 20, 286-287.

Baldwin, J. M. (1893). New questions in mental chronometry, Medical Record, (N.Y.), 47, 455-456.

Baldwin J. M. (1893). Elements of psychology. NY: Holt.

Baldwin, J. M. (1894). Imitation: A chapter in the natural history of consciousness. Mind, 3, 25-55.

Baldwin, J. M. (1895a). Types of reaction. Psychological Review, 2, 259-273.

Baldwin, J. M. (1895b). Mental development in the child and the race: Methods and processes. New York: Macmillan & Co.

Baldwin, J, M. (1895c). Memory for square size, Psychological Review, 2, 236-239.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896) "Consciousness and Evolution." Science. Reprinted in the American Naturalist (April, 1896a).

Baldwin, J. M. (1896) Heredity and instinct (I). Science.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896) Heredity and instinct (II)." Science.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896) Physical and social heredity. American Naturalist.

Baldwin, J. M.(1896) Consciousness and Evolution. Psychology Review.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896). The type theory of reaction. Mind, n.s. 1, 81-90.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896). Instinct. Science, 669.

Baldwin, J.M. (1896). A new factor in evolution. American Naturalist, 30, 441-451.

Baldwin, J. M. (1898). Social and ethical interpretations in mental development.

Baldwin, J. M. (1898) Story of the mind.

Baldwin, J. M. (1906). The Mental Development of the Child and the Race 3rd ed., New York: Macmillan & Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1926). Between two wars: 1861-1921 (2 vols.) Boston: Stratford Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1930). James Mark Baldwin. In C. Murchison (Ed.). A History of Psychology in Autobiography (vol. 1.) New York: Rinehart & Winston.

Writings about James Mark Baldwin

Griffiths, Paul E (2001) Beyond the Baldwin Effect: James Mark Baldwin's 'social heredity', epigenetic inheritance and niche construction. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000446/

Hoff, Tory L. (1992). Psychology in Canada one hundred years ago: James Mark Baldwin at the University of Toronto. Canadian Psychology, 33: 683-694.

Murray, D. (1988). A History of Western Psychology, 2nd edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Nichols, Herbert (1896). Professor Baldwin's 'New factor in evolution'. American Naturalist, 30, 697-710.

Myers, C. R. (1982). Psychology at Toronto. In M. J. Wright & C. R. Myers (eds.) A History of Academic Psychology in Canada (pp. 68-99) Toronto: C. F. Hogrefe.