Frank A. Beach: biography of this American psychologist.
A review of the life of Frank A. Beach, one of the fathers of behavioral endocrinology.
If we talk about behavioral endocrinology, many of us may not know exactly what it consists of. Well, it is the scientific branch in charge of studying the effect of the neuroendocrine system on behavior.
One of the most prominent figures of this scientific branch was the American ethologist Frank A. Beach (1911-1988), who was responsible for developing much of his fundamental research, through works such as "Patterns of sexual behavior" (1951), one of his most recognized works.
In this article we will see a biography of Frank A. Beach and we will review his most important contributions in this field of knowledge.
Frank A. Beach: who was he?
Frank Ambrose Beach (1911-1988) was an American ethologist and psychobiologist, who was born on April 13, 1911 in Emporia (Kansas, United States) and died on June 13, 1988, at the age of 77. (Kansas, United States) and who died on June 15, 1988, at the age of 77.
Due to his publications on the subject, many consider him the founder of behavioral endocrinology, a branch of endocrinology in charge of studying the neuroendocrine system and its effects on behavior.
Aetiology, on the other hand, is a branch of knowledge that stems from two sciences, biology and experimental psychology, and is responsible for studying the behavior of the human body. and experimental psychology, and which studies the behavior of animals, whether in the wildIt studies the behavior of animals, whether in the wild, in their natural environment or in artificial laboratory conditions.
Frank A. Beach is especially remembered for his contributions to the field, not only of etiology, but also of psychobiology. In fact, he was one of the leading figures of his generation in this second field of knowledge.
Frank focused on studying the sexual behavior of animals, but also other types of instinctive behavior (maternal and paternal behavior or mating behavior, for example). (maternal and paternal behavior or mating behavior, for example). That is why Frank is considered one of the founders of behavioral endocrinology, together with William C. Young.
Origin and academic trajectory.
Frank A. Beah was the first of three sons. His parents were Frank Ambrose Beach and Bertha Robinson Beach. He began studying psychology at Emporia. One of the figures who influenced him was James B. Stroud. He graduated in 1932 and was awarded a fellowship for research in clinical psychology. He then did his thesis on color vision in rats.
Once his research was completed, he obtained another fellowship, this time at the University of Chicago, where he began working with psychologist Harvey Carr.. Frank A. Beach worked with very important figures, of which we will highlight the behavioral psychologist Karl Lashley.
Later, Frank moved again, due to economic problems; this time he went to Kansas, specifically to the city of Yates Center, where he worked as a high school teacher. It was in Kansas where he met his wife, although they lasted only a short time.
Passion for research
Years later, in 1935, Frank A. Beach returned to the University of Chicago and finished his doctoral dissertation; his subject was the role of the neocortex in the innate maternal behavior of rats..
During these years he married Anna Beth Odenweller, his second wife. With her he started a family, and had two children: Susan and Frank. Unfortunately, Anna died in 1971, and Frank remarried, this time to Noel Gaustad.
In 1936, Frank began working (for a year) in the Cambridge laboratory of Karl Lashley, the behavioral psychologist with whom he had already coincided. There he conducted research on sexual behavior in animals.
Particularly interested in animals, Frank A. Beach later left the more academic field (temporarily) and and began to work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA), where he spent (USA), where he spent a total of ten years.
Frank is especially remembered for his contributions to a very specific field of knowledge: endocrinology and animal neurology. Specifically, he made numerous contributions in relation to the influence of the neuronal and endocrine systems on animal behavior.
Once his time at the New York Museum was over, Frank began working at Yale University, thus returning to the academic world. He remained there for ten more years, studying, among other topics, the reproductive behavior of dogs.
From the 1950s to the 1960s, he worked as a professor of psychology at several universities, while continuing his research. In 1978, Frank A. Beach became professor emeritus, and in 1986 he received the APA Distinguished Teaching Award in Biopsychology.
One of Frank A. Beach's most outstanding and well-known works, in addition to being a classic in his field, is Patterns of Sexual Behavior (1951), which he elaborated together with anthropologist Clellan S. Ford. Another of his outstanding works is Human Sexuality in Four Perspectives (1977).
Beyond his two main works, we also find important publications and books by the author. Some of them are:
- The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology (1937)
- Hormones and behavior: a survey of the interrelationship between endocrine secretions and overt response patterns (1948)
- The Snark Was a Boojum, American Psychologist (1950)
- Effects of early experience on animal behavior, Psychological Bulletin (1954)
- The essence of instinct, Psychological Review (1955)
- Locks and Beagles, American psychologist (1969)
Death and legacy
Frank A. Beach's great contribution to the field of psychobiology, and also to the field of behavioral neuroendocrinology, is undeniable. Frank spent his entire life researching, teaching and learning..
We see this through a quote of his, which says: "Increasing knowledge, in itself, is a justifiable way to spend one's life."
Thus, he focused his life on studying behavior; in fact, another of his famous phrases speaks of this: "Man's greatest problem today is not to understand and exploit his physical environment, but to understand and govern his own behavior".
Frank A. Beach's death "caught" him working and active, as it could not be otherwise, and his last days in a hospital bed were spent reading scientific literature. He finally died on June 15, 1988, at the age of 77.
- Bilbo, S.D. (2013). Frank A. Beach award: programming of neuroendocrine function by early-life experience: a critical role for the immune system. Hormones and Behavior, 63(5): 684-691.
- Dewsbery, Donald A. (2000) "Frank A. Beach, Master Teacher," Portraits of Pioneers in Psychology, 4: 269- 281.
- Donald A. Dewberry (1998). Frank Ambrose Beach, 1911-1988: a biographical memoir.
- M Soto-Gamboa, F Bozinovic - Ecological and evolutionary physiology (F Bozinovic, ed.). (2003). Endocrinology and behavioral ecology: proximal mechanisms explaining behavioral patterns.