History | University of Tartu

Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 309–352, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18–310, 50090 Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003 Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a–29, 50103 Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409 Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20–324, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307 Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012 Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 50406 Tartu
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu Observatory
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4510
    Faculty address: 
    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Genomics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010 Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6339
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51005 Tartu
  • Grant Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6000, IT-help: +372 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17–103, 51005 Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 102, 104, 209, 210, 50090 Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5620
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Procurement Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6632
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51005 Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 309–352, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18–310, 50090 Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003 Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a–29, 50103 Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409 Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20–324, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307 Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012 Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 50406 Tartu
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu Observatory
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4510
    Faculty address: 
    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Genomics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010 Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6339
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51005 Tartu
  • Grant Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6000, IT-help: +372 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17–103, 51005 Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 102, 104, 209, 210, 50090 Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5620
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Procurement Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6632
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51005 Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

History

Allik, J. (2011). Psychology in Estonia. In J. Engelbrecht (Ed.) Research in Estonia: Present and Future  (pp. 418-429). Tallinn: Estonian Academy of Sciences.

 

Psychology in Estonia

 Jüri Allik

 Department of Psychology, University of Tartu
Estonian Academy of Sciences 

A short historical tour

The history of psychology in Estonia demonstrates clearly that the remote corner as which Estonia had to be seen constituted an integral part of the German speaking academic world in the 19th century at the most crucial moment when the scientific psychology was just emerging (Allik, 2007). Hermann von Helmholtz in his inaugural lecture as Rector of the University of Berlin talked about academic freedom of German universities and stressed that one manifestation of it was a complete freedom of movement for the students and professors between all universities of the German tongue, from Dorpat to Zurich, Vienna, and Graz (Helmholtz, 1896).  


Georg Friedrich Parrot (1767-1852)

As a confirmation of these words, the first rector after the reopening of the University of Dorpat (Tartu) in 1802, Georg Friedrich Parrot (1767-1852) was interested in optical phenomena which he attempted to explain introducing the concept of unconscious inferences, anticipating a similar theory proposed by Herman von Helmholtz almost 20 years later (Allik & Konstabel, 2005). One of the next rectors, Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann (1800-1878), who is known as the inventor of the tachistoscope, was regarded by Edwin Boring – the dean of all historians – as one of the founding fathers of the experimental psychology (Allik, 2007). Georg Wilhelm Struwe (1793-1864) played an essential part in solving the problem of personal equations, the very concept from which the experimental psychology was started in the Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory at Leipzig. Physicist Arthur Joachim von Oettingen (1836-1920) developed a theory of music harmony, which stimulated one of his students Wilhelm Friedrich Ostwald (1853-1932) to study colour harmony after he had received the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926), the founder of modern psychiatry, is by far the most important psychologist who has worked in Estonia. His inaugural lecture at the University of Tartu was reprinted recently one more time to demonstrate his extraordinary understanding which sounds very modern (Kraepelin, 2005). His successor Wladimir von Tchisch (1855-1922), another student of Wilhelm Wundt, continued Kraepelin’s work in experimental psychology. The lives of Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967), the master mind of the Gestalt psychology, who was born in Reval (Tallinn), and Oswald Külpe (1862-1915), the founder of the Würzburg school, who graduated from the University of Dorpat, extend the link between the history of psychology and Estonia (Allik, 2007). Karl Gustav Girgensohn (1875-1925), the founder of the Dorpat School of the psychology of religion, stretched the use of experimental methods to the study of religious experience (Allik, 2007).

 
    Juhan Tork (1889-1980)

In 1919, after Estonia had obtained independence, Tartu University became a national university with instruction language being primarily Estonian. The first professor of psychology was Konstantin Ramul (1879-1975) who is primarily known as a historian of an early period of experimental psychology (Ramul, 1960, 1963). In 1921, one of Ramul’s assistants Juhan Tork (1889-1980) spent one semester in Leipzig where he attended, among the others, lectures of Wilhelm Wundt. Returning back from Germany, he brought with him equipment that was needed to launch a laboratory of experimental psychology. Juhan Tork is an author of the most innovative psychological study that was carried out between the two wars. In 1940, he published doctoral dissertation (Tork, 1940) on the intelligence of Estonian children based on the study of about 6,000 schoolchildren and containing many observations what were ahead of the psychological thinking of his time.

After Soviet occupation in 1940 Estonian science was absorbed into one of the most isolated and inefficient science systems in the world which also suffered from the mania grandiose – they cited their own publications disproportionally more compared to citations of their works by all other scholars. Psychology served mainly teaching purposes and its scientific ambitions were severely censored and restricted. Only few years before regaining independence in 1991, Estonian science including psychology started to move back to its habitual place in the World science community.

Psychology during the last twenty years

The PsycINFO (American Psychological Association) is a database that provides systematic coverage of the psychological literature from the 1800s to the present. It covers comprehensively more than 1,500 titles of scholarly, peer-reviewed, and regularly published journals which form approximately 80% of the database. The remained 20% are books, book chapters and other mainly nonperiodic publications. In total it has over 3 million weekly updated records from which more than million journal articles, books, and book chapters also contain 48 million references. Based on this database we can observe the development of psychology in Estonia and two other Baltic countries during the first two decades of independence.

Figure 1 demonstrates the growth curves of papers published annually by Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian psychologists in journals and books indexed in the PsycINFO database from 1990 to 2010. While in 1990 there were only few publications, in 2010 Estonian psychologists published approximately 100, Lithuanian 50, and Latvian 10 articles. More than a half of the Estonian papers are produced by researchers working at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Tartu. Since in 1990 the PsycINFO indexed 58,532 papers and 151,595 papers in 2010, even the relative share of Estonian papers increased approximately ten times from 0.007% to about 0.07%.

However, it is almost meaningless to compare productivity of Estonian and, say, American psychologists who produced about 600 and 600,000 papers respectively during the last 11 years from 2000 to 2010. One way how to compare psychology-friendliness of different countries is to compute how many papers their psychologists have produced per million inhabitants living in their country. Table 1 demonstrates the top 30 of the most psychology-friendly countries in the world during the last eleven years period 2000-2010. In addition results for four countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation, and People’s Republic of China – that are providing reference points for comparisons are also shown.

 

Table 1. The top 30 of the most psychology-friendly countries in the PsycINFO database during the period from 2000 to 2010.

 

Country

Publications

Population

Publications per million

1

Canada

74 770

34 473 000

216.9

2

Australia

48 544

22 626 868

214.5

3

Israel

16 590

7 746 400

214.2

4

Netherlands

34 911

16 673 100

209.4

5

Iceland

657

318 452

206.3

6

New Zealand

9 072

4 407 300

205.8

7

United States of America

632 085

311 481 000

202.9

8

Sweden

17 624

9 428 054

186.9

9

Norway

9 022

4 949 300

182.3

10

United Kingdom

107 929

62 008 048

174.1

11

Finland

9 360

5 384 490

173.8

12

Switzerland

12 994

7 866 500

165.2

13

Ireland

7 000

4 470 700

156.6

14

Denmark

7 325

5 560 628

131.7

15

Hong Kong

8 545

7 061 200

121.0

16

Belgium

10 890

10 827 519

100.6

17

Germany

52 427

81 802 000

64.1

18

Austria

5 376

8 404 252

64.0

19

Slovenia

1 100

2 051 900

53.6

20

Spain

23 314

46 148 605

50.5

21

Estonia

667

1 340 122

49.8

22

Italy

26 753

60 626 442

44.1

23

France

28 290

65 821 885

43.0

24

Greece

4 561

11 306 183

40.3

25

Croatia

1 632

4 425 747

36.9

26

Luxembourg

183

502 100

36.4

27

Portugal

3 482

10 636 888

32.7

28

Hungary

3 043

10 014 324

30.4

29

Japan

26 281

127 930 000

20.5

30

Czech Republic

1 854

10 515 818

17.6

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

366

3 225 300

11.3

Latvia

83

2 221 100

3.7

Russian Federation

3 568

142 905 200

2.5

People's Republic of China

18 200

1 339 724 852

1.4

Note: Population data were retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population (June 5, 2011).

 

Although psychologists of the United States authored or co-authored 50.6% of all 1.25 million psychology papers indexed during that period, the most psychology-friendly countries are Canada, Australia, and Israel. Estonia occupies the 21st position being able to produce about 50 papers per one million inhabitants. From former Communist block countries only Slovenia was more productive. It is certainly remarkable that in relative terms Estonia is even ahead of such countries as Italy and France. Nevertheless, the relative productivity of our closest neighbour and partner Finland was about 3 and half times larger. About two decades ago, however, the gap of productivity between Estonian and Finnish psychologists was close to seven. Two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, are in the lower part of the list closer to Russian Federation and China.

The number of publications in international peer-reviewed journals is not an automatic guarantee of their quality. Unfortunately, in the Essential Science Indicators (ESI; Thomson Reuters) psychology is the minor partner of the joint category psychiatry/psychology. Although a considerable growth in citations per paper published by Estonian psychiatrists and psychologists was observed during the last decade 2000-2010, their impact is still -30% below the world average (see “Estonian Science Estimated through Bibliometric Indicators” in this volume). There are all reasons to think, however, that the performance of Estonian psychology is superior that of psychiatry. There were also 3 individual psychology papers co-authored by Estonian psychologists which citation rate exceeded the top 1% threshold for articles in the category psychiatry/psychology and they all belonged to psychologists (Schmitt et al., 2007; Schmitt, Realo, Voracek, & Allik, 2008; Swami et al., 2010). Beside these 3 several other papers authored by psychologists also reached the top 1% but in other fields of science such as clinical medicine and neuroscience (Näätänen, Jacobsen, & Winkler, 2005; Näätänen, Paavilainen, Rinne, & Alho, 2007; Näätänen, Tervaniemi, Sussman, Paavilainen, & Winkler, 2001).

Some observations about general trends

It is not a coincidence that many if not majority of currently leading Estonian psychologists started their career from cognitive psychology. Of course, it is possible that our countryman Endel Tulving of University of Toronto, one of the leading authorities of the modern memory research, played an incentive role but the main motivation for many of us was to find a refuge from an ideological pressure. Although some eager political activists sincerely believed that the Soviet system was able to breed a distinctive homo soveticus, most of the guardians of political correctness still tolerated a presumption that senses and cognitive apparatus of a human being is basically identical irrespective political or economic system. Most logically the first publications authored by Estonian psychologists which appeared in internationally monitored journals concerned eye movement (Allik, Rauk, & Luuk, 1981) or visual masking (Bachmann & Allik, 1976).. Two internationally available monographs published on the initial wave of these studies were relatively successful. Peeter Tulviste published his The cultural-historical development of verbal thinking in 1991 (Tulviste, 1991). Since its appearance this book was cited in 47 articles published in the journals indexed by the Web of Science (WoS) and even in 166 sources accessed by the Harzing’s Publish or Perish (PoP; August 5, 2011).  Few years later Talis Bachmann published his Psychophysiology of masking: The fine structure of conscious experience (Bachmann, 1994) which has been cited 84 times by sources indexed by WoS and 104 times according to PoP.

Like any other Post-Communist country, the most dramatic changes happened in the clinical and counselling psychology. These changes reflected more in the teaching curricula and professional practices rather than academic publications. Nevertheless an increasing number of reports about successful adoption of various measurement instruments is a firm but superficial sign of changes in Estonian psychology as a profession. Not only academics took a leading role in the translation of the most popular psychological measurement instruments such as NEO-PI or PANAS (Allik & Realo, 1997; Pulver, Allik, Pulkkinen, & Hämäläinen, 1995) but many of these adaptations were motivated by practical needs to secure required standards for diagnostic tools (Aluoja, Shlik, Vasar, Luuk, & Leinsalu, 1999).

There are several trends that can be observed in the development of Estonian psychology many of them parallel global developments that were happening in the world psychology. One perhaps inevitable shift was from “hard” to “soft” psychology. Lee Cronbach, who is mainly known for the coefficient of reliability named in his honour, indicated to the gap between two types of psychology – correlational and experimental – in his inaugural talks as the elected president of the American Psychological Association. As it was mentioned already, most senior Estonian psychologists started with the “hard” experimental psychology practicing either laboratory or field experiments. With the collapse of the Soviet ideology the doors were opened to more soft psychology, associated mainly with personality and social psychology, which principal tool is still correlation. Because entering the market of international ideas is a tricky business, especially for non-native English speakers from former Russian colony, many researchers were happy to join a bandwagon of studies initiated by Western colleagues. Although for not only this reason Estonia was present in virtually all major cross-cultural surveys studying either sexual behaviour (Buss et al., 1990), self-esteem (Schmitt & Allik, 2005) or even gelatophobia –  a fear of being laughed at (Proyer et al., 2009). However, it took some time until original concepts developed by Estonian psychologists (Põder, 2006; Toomela, 2003), their meta-analyses (Strenze, 2007), or cross-cultural projects that were initiated by Estonian teams started to penetrate the most influential international journals (Mõttus et al., 2011).

Another remarkable movement droved Estonian psychology from almost completely “dry” psychology towards “wet” one. It could be said that the modern research paradigm of Estonian psychology was born, partly at least, as a result of so called cognitive revolution. Unlike many other places cognitive psychology practiced in Estonia was very dry with more theoretical rather than practical links to its wet foundations, neurons and transmitters. The obsolete Soviet economy was anything but supportive study of brain and central nervous system. With about two decades of independence, studies relating psychologically interesting phenomena to brain functions have become regular in Estonian psychology. For example, location of phonemes in brain was discovered (Näätänen et al., 1997); noradrenergic innervation from the locus coeruleus was linked to depression (Harro & Oreland, 2001), short alleles of NOS1 ex1f-VNTR go along with impulsive behaviour (Reif et al., 2011), or non-REM sleep led to relative more positive slow brain potentials, compared to wakefulness (Stamm, Aru, & Bachmann, 2011). One obvious advantage of Estonian psychology has been openness to those who has different basic trainings. From current prominent psychologists Eve Kikas came from physics and the both Jaanud Harro and Aaro Toomela have medical training.

Another remarkable shift that characterizes Estonian psychology was moving from “cool” to “hot” psychology. Like cognitive psychologists who were inspired by Endel Tulving, another émigré from the North America Jaak Panksepp played a pivotal role in shifting not only Estonian psychology towards emotions and affective phenomena. His Affective Neuroscience (1998) which become a classic (Panksepp, 1998) which has been cited 1,100 times according to WoS and 1,795 times according to PoP (August 5, 2011) provided a role-model and inspiration. It started with a modest adaptation of the most popular measuring instruments of affect, PANAS, (Allik & Realo, 1997) and evolved into a broad spectrum on studies involving such questions as how emotions affect judgements of life-satisfaction (Kuppens, Realo, & Diener, 2008), how recognition of facial expressions deteriorates with age (Mill, Allik, Realo, & Valk, 2009), and which brain regions are most likely linked to depression (Harro, Kanarik, Matrov, & Panksepp, 2011).

Although Estonian psychology has always characterized by a relatively high-level of culture awareness, the link between psychology and culture has clearly tightened during the last few years. Perhaps living on the cross-road of different cultural influences has sharpened senses of Estonian psychologists towards cultural issues. It is certainly not a coincidence that the Founding Editor of a prestigious international journal with an emblematic title Culture and Psychology, Jaan Valsiner of Clark University, is our good colleague and graduate of the University of Tartu. One traditionally prominent line of studies concerns how different cultural institutions and practices, such as school education, transform human mind (Hannust & Kikas, 2010; Toomela, 1996; Tulviste, 1991). According to a recent report published in the Science magazine, psychology seems to committing a grave error studying mostly WEIRD subjects – people from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic cultures – who are according to some psychologists some of the most psychologically unusual people on the planet (Jones, 2010). Indeed, approximately 96% of subjects used in psychological studies came either from the United States, other English-speaking and/or European countries. Only three percent were from Asia and less than 1% were from Latin America, Africa or the Middle East. It seems that Estonian psychology has managed to avoid this error being involved in a large number of cross-cultural comparisons of such different topics as talking during the meal time (De Geer, Tulviste, Mizera, & Tryggvason, 2002), social axioms (Bond et al., 2004), desire for sexual variety (Schmitt & 118 Members of the International Sexuality Description Project, 2003), and cultural tightness or looseness (Gelfand et al., 2011). Thank to these and numerous other studies we are relatively well informed about location of Estonia on different thematic maps which show how people feel, think and behave in different situations.

Concluding remarks

There may be an impression, perhaps not totally wrong, that the current generation of Estonian psychologists continue the research tradition which foundation was established by eminent scholars of the 19th century who worked at the University of Tartu. It is certainly not usual that such a small country can maintain a decent research activity and achieve prominent results in so many different fields of psychology. Future of Estonian psychology obviously depends not only on available intellectual resources which are in short supply but also on the supporting environment. Unfortunately, there is not much room for an optimism that this environment could change more favourable in near future. In such a small country as Estonia the number of active researchers is more or less directly dependent of the number of psychology students. Since psychology has been one the most popular subjects the state policy has been to shift the financial burden on the shoulders of those students who afford to pay their study fees. It is indeed ridiculous that the Estonian state has been ready to finance only 15 bachelor and 12 master students of psychology at the University of Tartu where psychology courses are taught without major interruptions since 1802. This is obviously not enough to keep busy even one active researcher who needs to share his time between research and teaching. These numbers are even less than that for theologists, particularly for a country known as one of the most secular in the world, to say nothing about lawyers, economists, and librarians. Another hindrance is what I see as a technocratic mentality of the local science policy makers. When it concerns establishment scientific centres of excellence or any other large scale investment priority is always given to physics or chemistry and rarely if ever to behavioural sciences or even neurosciences even though their scientific achievements are less impressive. Nevertheless, there is a chance that Estonian psychology can maintain its pace of development and maintain its competitiveness on the World market of new ideas.

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