“Scientist, Scholar and Poet”*

Image: Portrait Bust of George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron 1788-1824

From *profile of June Etta Downey (1875-1932) by Rebecca Hein, for WyoHistory.org:

“June Etta Downey, longtime professor of psychology at the University of Wyoming in the early 20th century, loved science, scholarship and creative pursuits with equal fervor. She was the first woman ever to head a psychology department at a state university, and her work won acclaim both nationally and internationally.

Near the end of her life, poking gentle fun at her own profession, she wrote, ″Those who read extensively in the literature of mental hygiene [psychology] often sigh because they suspect that much of the charm of life comes from the irrelevant, the irresponsible, the not wholly sane. … They are glad that the mental hygienist never got his fingers on [the poets] Shelley, nor Byron.″

From APA PsycNet:

“Downey, J. E. (1912). Literary self projection. Psychological Review, 19(4), 299–311:

Reports the personal reference involved in the appreciation of literary material, i.e., the relation of the self to aesthetic experience. Two groups of eight and six Ss, respectively, reported on the imagery aroused by the silent reading of fragments of poetry or by hearing such fragments read aloud. It was observed that self projections might occur in a form that is not empathic. Visual self projections may become empathic when fused with projected kinesthetic, tactual or organic images. The visual objectification may take form as a person not the self, or assume the form of an animal or some object of the inorganic world.”

From: Freudian Defense Mechanisms and Empirical Findings in Modern Social Psychology, by Roy F. Baumeister, Karen Dale, and Kristin L. Sommer in Journal of Personality (1998):

“…Projection is a popular concept in everyday discourse as well as in psychological thought. In its simplest form, it refers to seeing one’s own traits in other people. A more rigorous understanding involves perceiving others as having traits that one inaccurately believes oneself not to have. As a broad form of influence of self-concept on person perception, projection may be regarded as more a cognitive bias than a defense mechanism. Nonetheless, projection can be seen as defensive if perceiving the threatening trait in others helps the individual in some way to avoid recognizing it in himself or herself, and indeed this is how Freud (e.g., 1915/1961a) conceptualized projection. Thus, there are multiple ways of understanding projection, and they vary mainly along the dimension of how effectively the undesirable trait or motive is repudiated as part of the self.”

From: The New Sexual Landscape and Contemporary Psychoanalysis (2020) by Danielle Knafo and Rocco Lo Bosco:

“Even feminists (MacKinnon 1989; Paglia, 1990) have argued both for and against porn…

As much as viewers might try to detach themselves from the objects they are watching…implicit identification with what is being watched is inevitable (Kernberg, 1994).”

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