V International Congress of Psychology, Rome, Italy
April 26 - 30, 1905
[Adapted from: Rosenzweig, M., Holtzman, W., Sabourin, M. & Bélanger, D. (2000). History of the International Union of Psychological Science. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.]
The 5th International Congress of Psychology, Rome 1905
The 5th International Congress of Psychology took place in Rome, April 26–30, 1905. The national Organizing Committee changed the date from 1904 to 1905 to avoid a conflict in dates with the International Congress of Physiology meeting in Brussels in 1904. By the time of the congress, the Italian Organizing Committee had changed the composition of officers of the congress: Luigi Luciani, because of his many other responsibilities, gave up the presidency and became Honorary President; Giuseppi Sergi became President; Augusto Tamburini, professor of psychiatry, remained Secretary-General, and psychiatrist Sante de Sanctis was Vice Secretary-General. Thus, although the psychologist Sergi was President, two of the four principal officers were psychiatrists, and one was a physiologist. It was de Sanctis who prepared the extensive 798-page volume of proceedings for publication (Atti del V. Congresso Internazionale di Psicologia, 1906).
The attendance at the 5th congress was 440, and 53% of the registrants were Italian. Of the rest, 60 (14%) were French, 32 (7%) German, 20 (5%) Austrian, 12 (3%) British, and 11 each came from Hungary and Russia; the United States, which had major representations at the 3rd and 4th congresses, had only 5 members at the 5th conference (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 661).
As well as 12 addresses by major psychologists, there were 190 papers divided into 4 sessions: (I) Experimental psychology, including relations to anatomy and physiology, psychophysics, and comparative psychology. In connection with this session, there was a display of scientific instruments and of books. (II) Introspective psychology, psychology in relation to philosophy. (III) Pathological psychology, psychology in relation to hypnotism, suggestion, and related phenomena (including clairvoyance); psychotherapy. (IV) Criminal, pedagogical, and social psychology.
Of the 202 presentations, the most frequent subject was clinical psychology with 21% of the total; general psychology was second, with 14%, and physiological psychology third with 11% (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 129).
At the start of the second general session, the chair gave the floor to Dr Felix Krueger, who was later to succeed Professor Wilhelm Wundt at Leipzig. Krueger greeted the congress in the name of Wundt (Krueger, 1906 , pp. 72–73). After extolling the contributions of Wundt to psychology, Krueger stated that Wundt was concerned with current tendencies to apply psychological findings to practical fields such as education, jurisprudence, and social psychology, as reflected in the program of this congress. While acknowledging the extensive research that underlay these currents, Wundt was concerned about the dangers for psychology that these practical tendencies might cause, especially if they led to neglect of the theory and research that must be the basis of psychology.
An important benefit of the 5th congress for Italian psychology was that it led Leonardo Bianchi, Minister of Public Instruction and named honorary president of the congress, to create the first three professorships of experimental psychology in Italy.