Adams 1934 also criticized psychology for its fail ure to provide any help for

Adams 1934 also criticized psychology for its fail

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Adams (1934) also criticized psychology for its fail- ure to provide any help for the economic and morale problems facing America in the Depression. She noted that psychologists had plenty to say on all social topics of the 1920s but that now, in times of trouble, they were conspicuously silent. Her views were echoed in a 1934 New York Times editorial that criticized psychology as the only trade or profession that had not made public its solutions to the problems of the Depression (in Napoli, 1981). There were many other critics (e.g., Stolberg, 1930) who attacked psychology from their own individual per- spectives, but the unifying theme of the attacks was that psychology had promised much and delivered little. For Adams, the silence of psychologists in the Depression was evidence of their field's lack of substance. But were psychologists silent? With respect to articles in the popular magazines, the answer appears to be that they were. A count of references to psychology in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature shows a steady decline be- ginning in 1929. Yet publications in psychology period- icals showed rapid growth from approximately 2,750 ar- ticles in 1927 to 6,500 articles in 1939 (Breyer, 1978). The decline of popular articles and the simultaneous in- crease of scientific articles in psychology is consistent with Napoli's (1981) belief that, as scholars, psychologists were content to resume their research "and watch the econo- mists and other social scientists try to solve America's problems" (p. 64). It is important to note that although legitimate psy- chology was suffering with an image problem during the Depression, the public criticisms did not prevent un- qualified people from posing as psychological experts. The 1930s saw the publication of numerous self-help books in psychology, few of which were authored by psycholo- gists or psychiatrists. James Thurber regularly attacked these books in a column he wrote for the New Yorker entitled Let Your Mind Alone (see Thurber, 1937). In ad- dition, three popular psychology magazines began in the 1930s (Modern Psychologist, Practical Psychology Monthly, and Psychology Digest), but all had ceased pub- lication by 1939. The change in psychology's image from the high sta- tus it enjoyed in the years immediately following World War I to its decline in the Depression was a contrast that few psychologists might have anticipated. According to Samelson (1985), the war had given psychologists a taste of what could be done with their science, especially with abundant financial support. In his words, psychologists were standing on the threshold o.f moving from "little science" to "big science" with attendant support and prestige. BUt that move never really happened, at least not until the years following the next world war. Psychology and World War II A history of psychology's involvement in the second world war is beyond the scope of this article. (The reader inter- ested in that topic should see Napoli, 1981, for an excel- lent account that is broad in its coverage.) World War II assisted psychologists in several ways. It meant new jobs,
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  • Winter '20
  • besim hoca
  • Psychology, The American, American Psychological Association, American Psychology, The New Psychology

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