Towards the end of the 19th century, Wilhelm Wundt established psychology as a separate science in Germany (Schultz & Schutlz, 2016). Shortly after, In 1916, Enrique Aragon founded a psychological laboratory at the National University of Mexico (Escobar, 2014). However, interest and movement towards psychological study began years earlier in 1902 when Mexico’s first psychologist, Ezequiel Chavez, ordered five instruments of psychological study from Leipzig, Germany (Escobar, 2014). While it remains unclear as to why the use of the instruments in a lab setting was delayed, it is clear that Mexico was a front-runner of psychological research (Esobar, 2014).
Chavez was greatly influenced by the study of psychologist Edward Titchener, so much so that he translated and taught from Titchener’s works (Escobar, 2014). As Aragon was a student of Chavez, he was also influenced by the works of Wundt and Titchener (Escobar, 2014). Upon establishing the psychological laboratory at the National University of Mexico, Aragon successfully incorporated psychological thought with physiological experimentation. Departing from Wundt’s approach, Aragon’s laboratory approach included the study of evolution as well as psychometrics (Escobar, 2014). Aragon’s psychological laboratory produced several notable psychology students, including; David Boder, who ended up working with Holocaust survivors, and Luz Vera, the recipient of Mexico’s first doctorate degree in Psychology. (Escobar, 2014).
Understanding the diverse contributions to psychology is an important endeavor because it empowers the current cultural perspective. Psychological divergence from a Western perspective is seen as a recent phenomenon (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). Understanding that other cultures not only benefit from a cross-cultural psychological perspective but in fact contributed to its founding, strengthens an inclusive and diverse approach.
Escobar, R. (2014, Nov). The Instruments in the First PsychologicalLlaboratory in Mexico: Antecedents, Influence, and Methods. US: Educational Publishing Foundation. ISSN:1939-0610