Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Quest for Today's Totemic Psychology: A New Look at Wundt, Freud and Other Scientists

  • Yueh-Ting Lee (a1), Xiangyang Chen (a2), Yongping Zhao (a3) and Wenting Chen (a4)
Abstract

Totems are symbols or representations of human's affiliations with, and/or categorizations of, animals, plants and inanimate objects. Totemism is related to fundamental human belief systems based on totems. Investigating totems and totemism psychologically is a unique way to explore human minds. We have critically examined Wundt, Freud and many other scholars and scientists who made distinguished contributions to scientific research on totems and totemism almost in the past two centuries –i.e., totemic psychology, which is the study of our mind's categorization and affiliation in the human and natural world today. Understanding and appreciating their totemic psychology can help psychologists today enhance their understanding in other fields—e.g., ecological and environmental psychology, biological psychology, cognitive psychology, personality, social and ethnic psychology, clinical and counseling psychology, cultural psychology, and religious or spiritual psychology. Unfortunately, recent data from a content analysis via PsycInfo and a cross-cultural survey study (N=273) showed that well-trained psychologists around the world and psychology students in the United States and in China are unfamiliar with Wundt and Freud's totemic contributions to psychology today. The implications, benefits, and lessons of totems and today's totemic psychology are discussed here.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Quest for Today's Totemic Psychology: A New Look at Wundt, Freud and Other Scientists
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Quest for Today's Totemic Psychology: A New Look at Wundt, Freud and Other Scientists
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Quest for Today's Totemic Psychology: A New Look at Wundt, Freud and Other Scientists
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Yueh-Ting Lee, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale IL62901, USA (email: Leey@siu.edu or liyueting@yahoo.com).
Footnotes
Hide All
*

We appreciate the following colleagues for their valuable comments and other help– Stanley Krippner, Jeanne Brockmyer, Stephanie Flower, Joni Mihura, Harry Triandis, Steven Pinker, Alan Fiske, Susan Fiske, Clark McCauley, Craig Palmer, Jon Elhai, Jason Rose, Jim Nemeth, Barbara Mann, Jessica Meissner, Eugeniette Lee, Eric Atkinson, Jennifer Lee, and Michelle Beddow, and several students in Dr Lee's research laboratory. We are also grateful to Rogene Kohler for helping to translate several pages of Wundt's original German writing into English. We are responsible for any weakness or limitation in the paper.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Alexander, H. B. (1916/2005). Native American mythology. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.
Anderson, R. J. (1971). Attribution of quotations from Wundt. American Psychologist, 26 (6), 590593.
Arnett, J. (2008). The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63 (7), 602614.
Ausubel, D. P. (1956). Relationships between psychology and psychiatry: The hidden issues. American Psychologist, 11 (2), 99105.
Bartlett, F. C. (1920). Some experiments in the reproduction of folk-stories. Folklore, 31, 3047.
Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. London: Cambridge University Press.
Bateson, G. (2002). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.
Bauer, M. W., & Gaskell, G. (2008). Social representations theory: A progressive research program for social psychology. Journal of the Theory of Social Behavior, 38 (4), 335353.
Blumenthal, A. L. (1975). A reappraisal of Wilhelm Wundt. American Psychologist, 30 (11), 10811088.
Boas, F. (1916). The origin of totemism. American Anthropologist, 18 (3), 319326
Boring, E. G. (1957). A history of experimental psychology (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Brown, R. (2000). Social Identity Theory: Past achievements, current problems, and future challenges. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 745778.
Bruner, J. (1956). Freud and the image of Man. American Psychologist, 11 (9), 463466.
Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Cahan, E. D., & White, S. H. (1992). Proposals for a second psychology. American Psychologist, 47 (2), 224235.
Curtis, S. E. (1972). In a sacred manner we live. New York: Weathervane Books.
Durkheim, E. (1902/1985). On totemism (trans. by R.A. Jones). History of Sociology, 5 (2), 79121.
Durkheim, E. (1915/2008). The elementary forms of the religious life. (trans. by Swain, J. W.). Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.
Durkheim, E. (1974). Sociology and philosophy. (trans. by Pocock, D. F.). New York: the Free Press.
Fancher, F. E. (2000). Snapshots of Freud in America, 1899–1999. American Psychologist, 55 (9), 10251028.
Frazer, J. G. (1910). Totemism and exogamy. (4 vols), London: Macmillan
Freud, S. (1913). The interpretation of dreams (trans. by Brill, A. A.). New York: Macmillan.
Freud, S. (1913/1950). Totem and taboo (trans. By Strachey, J.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Geertz, C. (1973), The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books
Goldenweiser, A. A. (1910). Totemism: An analytical study. Journal of American Folk-Lore, 23, 179293.
Goldenweiser, A. A. (1914). Elemente der Volkerpsychologie. Psychological Bulletin, 11 (10), 387391.
Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A history of modern psychology. New York: Wiley.
Haeberlin, H. K. (1916). The theoretical foundations of Wundt's folk-psychology. Psychological Review, 23 (4), 279302.
He, X. L. (2006). Totemism in Chinese minority ethnic groups (trans. by Wang, Z. G. into English) Beijing, China: China Intercontinental Press.
He, X. L. (2007). Totems and Chinese culture. Nanjing, China: Jiangsu People's Press (in Chinese).
Hogg, M. A. (2006). Social identity theory. In Burke, P. J. (Ed.), Contemporary social psychological theories (pp. 111136). Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Ichheiser, G. (1970). Appearance and reality: Misunderstanding in human relations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Isaacson, R. (2000). A totem gesture. Geographical, 72 (11), 6770.
Jilet, W. G. (1982). Indian healing: Shamanic ceremonalialism in the Pacific Northwest today. Blaine, WA: Hancock House Publishers.
Jonaitis, A., & Glass, A. (2010). The totem pole: An intercultural history. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press.
Jones, R. A. (2005). The secret of the totem. New York: Columbia University Press.
Jussim, L. (2012). Social perception and social reality: Why accuracy dominates bias and self-fulfilling prophecy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jussim, L., & Ashmore, R. (1997). Fundamental issues in the study of self and identity–contrast, contexts, and conflicts. In Ashmore, R. & Jussim, L. (eds.), Self and identity: Fundamental issues (pp. 218230). New York: Oxford University Press.
Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.
King, D. C. (2008). First people: An illustrated history of American Indians. New York: DK Publishing.
Korn, J. H., Davis, R., & Davis, S. F. (1991). Historians’ and chairpersons’ judgments of eminence among psychologists. American Psychologist, 46 (7), 789792.
Krippner, S. (2002). Conflicting perspectives on Shamans and Shamanism: Points and counterpoints. American Psychologist, 57, 962977.
Lang, A. (1905). The secret of the totem. London: Macmillan.
Leahey, T. H. (2004). A history of psychology: Main currents in psychological thoughts (6th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lee, Y-T. (1994). Why does psychology have cultural limitations? American Psychologist, 49, 524525.
Lee, Y-T. (2010). What can We Learn from Wundt and Freud's Totemic Psychology? Paper presented in the 118th Annual Convention of American Psychological Association, August 12–15, San Diego, CA.
Lee, Y-T. (2012). Fields Notes of Native Peoples in Americas. Unpublished Manuscript. Univ of Toledo, Ohio.
Lee, Y-T. (2014). Categorical necessity and utility of stereotyping and totemic thinking: Analyzing and reviewing the stereotype EPA theory, social perception accuracy, and female hurricanes. Global Journal of Human-Social Science. 14 (2), 4351
Lee, Y-T., Beddow, M., Chan, S., & Xu, C. (2015). Evolutionary and cross-cultural investigation of totemism, Daoism and other spiritual beliefs. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7 (4), 278285.
Lee, Y-T., & Jussim, L. (2010). Back in the real world. American Psychologist, 65 (2), 130131.
Lee, Y-T., Jussim, L., & McCauley, C. (1995). Stereotype accuracy: Toward appreciating group differences. Washington, DC: The American Psychological Association.
Lee, Y-T., Jussim, L., McCauley, C. (2013). Stereotypes as categories of knowledge: Complexity, validity, usefulness, and essence in perceptions of group differences. Advances in Psychological Sciences, 21 (1), 121. DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.00001
Lee, Y-T, & Kanazawa, S. K. (2015). An Introduction to the special issue on the nature and evolution of totemism, Shamanism, religions, and spirituality. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7 (4), 265266.
Lee, Y-T., McCauley, C. R., & Draguns, J. (Eds.). (1999). Personality and person perception across cultures. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Publishers.
Lee, Y-T., McCauley, C., & Jussim, C. (2013). Stereotypes as valid categories of knowledge, and human perceptions of group differences. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7 (7), 470486.
Lee, Y-T., McCauley, C., Moghaddam, F., & Worchel, S. (2004). The Psychology of Ethnic and Cultural Conflict. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Lee, Y-T., & Tiamiyu, M. (2010). What is in a name? Identity Perceptions between Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures. Paper presented the annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, May 29–31, Boston, Massachusetts.
Levi-Strauss, C. (1962). Totemism. (trans. by Needham, R.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Levi-Strauss, C. (1966). The savage mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Lin, H. (2001). The history of Chinese Shamanism (Wu Nuo Shi). Guangzhou: Huacheng Publishers (in Chinese).
Long, J. (1791/1922). John Long's voyages and travels in the years 1768–1788. Chicago, IL: The Lakeside Press.
Lukes, S. (1972). Émile Durkheim: His life and work—a historical and critical study. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers
Malinowski, B. (1926). Myth in primitive psychology. London: Norton.
Malinowski, B. (1927). Sex and Repression in Savage Society. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.
Maslow, A. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York: Viking.
McLennan, J. F. (1869). The worship of animals and plants. Fortnightly Review, 6, 407427 and 562582.
McLennan, J. F. (1870). The worship of animals and plants. Fortnightly Review, 7, 194216.
Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Meng, H. Y. (2005). Search for the mysterious Shamnic world. Beijing: Xiyuan Publishers (in Chinese).
Monroe, M. H. (n.d.). Aboriginal totemism. Retrieved from http://austhrutime.com/aboriginal_totemism.htm
Morgan, L. H. (1877/1974). Ancient society or research in the lines of human progress from savage through barbarism to civilization (with introduction & annotation by E. B. Leacock). Gloucester, MA: The World Publishing Co.
Moscovici, S. (1973). Foreword. In Herzlich, C., Health and illness: A social psychological analysis. London: Academic Press, pp. v–xiv.
Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In Farr, R. & Moscovici, S. (eds.), Social representations. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moscovici, S. (1988). Notes towards a description of social representations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18 (3), 211250.
Moscovici, S. (2000). Social representations: Explorations in social psychology (Duveen, G. Ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.
Palmer, C. T., Steadman, L. B., Cassidy, C., & Coe, K. (2008). Totemism, metaphor and tradition: Incorporating cultural traditions into evolutionary psychology explanations of religion. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 43 (3), 919935.
Pedersen, M. (2001). Totemism, animism, and North Asian indigenous ontologies. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.), 7, 411427.
Pickren, W. E., & Rutherford, A. (2010). A history of modern psychology in context. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Rivers, W. H. R. (1909). Totemism in Polynesia and Melanesia. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and the Ireland, 39, 156180.
Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Silverman, S. S. (1981) (ed.) Totems and teachers: Perspectives in the history of anthropology. New York: Columbia University Press.
Spencer, H. (1870). The origin of animal worship, etc. The Fortnightly Review, 7 (7), 535550.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2012). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Swann, W. B., Jetten, J., Gómez, A., Whitehouse, H., & Bastian, B. (2012). When group membership gets personal: A theory of identity fusion. Psychological Review, 119 (3), 441456.
Tajfel, H. (1981). Human groups and social categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J.C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In Worchel, S. & Austin, W.G. (Eds.), The psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 724). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Tolman, A., & Reedy, R. (1998). Implementation of a culture-specific intervention for a native American community. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 5 (3), 381392.
Triandis, H. C. (2009). Fooling ourselves: Self-perception in politics, religion, and terrorism. Westport, CT: Praeger
Vitebsky, P. (1995). The Shaman: Voyages of the soul trance, ecstansy and healing from Siberia to the Amazon. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.
Wagner, W., & Hayes, N. (2005). Everyday Discourse and Common-Sense: The Theory of Social Representation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wang, D. Y., & Song, B. Z. (2007). Mystery of the Indians: Revised edition of American Indian Totems. Beijing, Chinese Times Press (in Chinese).
Winkelman, M. (2004). Shamanism as the original neurotheology. Zygon, 39 (1), 193217.
Wundt, W. (1897). Ethics: Facts and laws of the moral life (trans. by Gulliver, G. & Titchener, E. B.). New York: The Macmillan Co.
Wundt, W. (1902). Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.
Wundt, W. (1905). Völkerpsychologie: Eine Untersuchung der Entwicklungsgesetze von Sprache, Mythus und Sitte (Zweiter Band Mythus und Religion, Erster Teil). Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.
Wundt, W. (1912). Elemente der Völkerpsychologie. Leipzig: Alfred Kröner Verlag.
Wundt, W. (1916). Elements of folk psychology: Outlines of a psychological history of the development of mankind (trans. Schaub, E. L.). New York: The Macmillan Co.
Wurtz, K. R. (1961). A survey of important psychological books. American Psychologist, 16 (4), 192194.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1834-4909
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pacific-rim-psychology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 25 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 72 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 12th June 2018 - 21st July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.