Twentieth Century Psychology: Recent Developments in Psychology

By Philip Lawrence Harriman | Go to book overview

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ANIMAL PSYCHOLOGY IN PERSPECTIVE

T. C. SCHNEIRLA

American Museum of Natural History

and

New York University

At the beginning of the first World War, animal psychology in the United States was in a flourishing condition with promise of continuing the lusty development. There was the Journal of Animal Behavior, in its seventh annual volume in 1917 and growing in influence with every number, there were two textbooks*-- each an important contribution--and the popularity of the subject in university curricula was increasing. Animal experimental findings were exerting an increasing influence upon general psychology textbooks and courses, especially in discussions of learning. Yet with the last number of their seventh volume the editors of the journal announced its discontinuation ". . . until unfavorable conditions created by the war shall have ceased to exist," papers on animal subjects decreased in number at national meetings, and a decline seemed to have begun that might challenge the possibility of a post-war recovery.

In retrospect, however, that period may be seen as a plateau in the curve of development, as a time of transition and change in the field rather than of arrested development. By examining it in comparison with some of the main aspects of the field in our

____________________
*
WASHBURN MARGARET F. 1908 ( Rev., 1917, 1926, and 1936) "The Animal Mind". WATSON J. B. 1914 "Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology".

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