World War II Landmark

Prior to the 1940s, the vast majority of psychologists were associated with universities and were conducting basic research. World War II brought with it an unprecedented range of problems that required rapid scientific attention. Not all aviator recruits were created equal in their ability to fly planes, and selection methods were needed to determine those best suited for piloting. Elsewhere in the war scenario, a highly sophisticated Nazi propaganda network challenged our effective counterresponse. American citi zens' attitudes toward given food and product consumption needed to be changed in support of the war effort. And returning war veterans brought with them psychological and emotional problems in massive numbers unprecedented within the U.S. mental health community. The pressure of such severe mental and emotional distress in such mammoth proportions confronted a formerly basic research discipline with a real-world clinical problem of incredible magnitude. In these areas and others, applied research came to the front line and needed to respond scientifically, effectively, and rapidly.

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