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Paula Caplan, 74, Dies; Feminist Psychologist Took On Her Profession

Paula Caplan, 74, Dies; Feminist Psychologist Took On Her Profession
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Paula Caplan, 74, Dies; Feminist Psychologist Took On Her Profession

Paula Caplan, 74, Dies; Feminist Psychologist Took On Her Profession

The couple divorced in 1978. A previous marriage also ended in divorce. With his daughter, Dr. Caplan is survived by his son, Jeremy; his brother, Bruce; and five grandchildren.

After moving to Canada, Dr. Caplan was a psychologist for Toronto Family Court for three years. Among his early efforts was a study of assertiveness in girls and boys, following on from the work of prominent German-American psychologist Erik Erikson, in which he concluded that boys were naturally more assertive than girls. .

Dr Caplan has shown the opposite. By focusing on very young children and decreasing the presence of adults in the room during the study, she demonstrated that it was gender socialization, not biology, that caused girls to behave less. asserted that boys.

Ms. Caplan was a professor at the University of Toronto from 1979 to 1995 and director of its Center for Women’s Studies in Education from 1985 to 1987. She then taught at American University, University of Rhode Island, United States of America. Brown University and most recently at Harvard, where she led the Voices of Diversity project at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

Dr. Caplan’s work has extended beyond academic psychology. An actress since high school, she played small roles in television shows and commercials, only some of which had something to do with her intellectual pursuits.

She has written plays and directed documentary films, including “Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century” (2019), about a black man who had served in the military under his father during the Battle of the Ardennes during World War II.

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The film was one-piece with her final interest, veterans and especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a diagnosis she widely rejected. There was nothing pathological about having a strong, even debilitating, reaction to the horrors of war, she said, and our desire to medicalize those reactions has left non-veterans unaware of just how war could be terrible.

“Leaving this job to psychotherapists alone can be not only harmful to soldiers, but also dangerous for us as a nation,” she wrote in the Washington Post in 2004. “It helps to mask the consequences of combat, which allows us to leave more easily. to war again next time.

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