Professional Problems in Psychology

By Robert S. Daniel; C. M. Louttit | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Fields of Psychology

Psychology has an unusual, perhaps unique, status among the sciences. It is less than a century since experimental study of mental phenomena replaced the contemplative analysis of rather casual selfobservation; and it is scarcely fifty years since experimental attention was first directed to behavior in a wide sense. During the period that the science of psychology has been developing, applications of its data to practical affairs has also been growing, frequently at a rate which threatens to outstrip the science. Two World Wars have each given significant impetus to the science as well as to the applications of psychology. Now at mid-century the central core of psychology is fairly well recognized, its relations to other sciences are becoming clearer, and there is a recognizable maturity in its approach to its scientific problems.

The situation in relation to the applications of psychology is less stabilized. To speak of current conditions as confused is too severe; they are best thought of as being intentionally unstable so that thoughtful experimentation may lead to an effective structuring of a new art or kind of engineering. For the student now entering the field of psychology there is a very promising future. However, it is neither possible nor wise to reach final or absolute decisions as to special goals. World War II saw educational psychologists become clinicians, theoretical-learning specialists engage in training problems, clinicians work as test specialists, and so on. The great possibilities of similar demands in the future argue for the importance of sound training in scientific psychology which may be profitably utilized in many kinds of situations.

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