The Psychotechnics of Everyday Life: Hugo Münsterberg and the Politics of Applied Psychology, 1887-1917
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CitationBlatter, Jeremy Todd. 2014. The Psychotechnics of Everyday Life: Hugo Münsterberg and the Politics of Applied Psychology, 1887-1917. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the relationship between experimental psychology and everyday life through the prism of Hugo Münsterberg and the Harvard Psychological Laboratory during the Progressive Era. Catalyzed by calls from the burgeoning educational community in the 1890s, academic psychologists were increasingly drawn into diverse cultural and political debates bearing on diverse facets of social reform and modernization. Educators, for example, courted psychologists to improve pedagogical techniques. Advertisers sought insight into the consumer mind. Electric utility companies even hired psychological consultants in studying street lighting conditions. At the same time, there was also pushback to such psychological interventions. Many lawyers, for example, opposed psychologists' incursions into the courtroom. Labor advocates protested psychotechnics as the handmaiden of industry. And vocational counselors favored common sense guidance to impersonal psychological tests. By tracing these debates over the place of psychological expertise in an array of contested sites, this dissertation argues that Münsterberg's psychotechnical movement represented a radical new view of the psychologist as an expert in modernization responsible for identifying, measuring and controlling the "human factor" mediating all human activity.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274284
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