Division 19 History

The American Association for Applied Psychology: The Roots of Division 19

The formal beginnings of Division 19 me grounded in the massive reorganization of APA between 1944 and 1946, and especially in the absorption of the American Association for Applied Psychology (AAAP) into the reorganized APA.

The AAAP was founded in 1937-1938 as a national organization to promote appied psychology. AAAP yew out of a federation of several applied psychology organizations, the most prominent of which was the New York based Association of Consulting Psychologists (ACP). The ACP and other applied goups had come into existance as a result of the failure of APA to serve appliedpsycholgists needs for professional certification and educational opportunites. It seems APA preferred to remain dedicated to academe and to the advancement of psychology as a science as called for in its bylaws rather than deal with problems of applied psychologists. The ACP was the nucleus of the newly formed AAAP and Douglas Fryer, the president of ACP, served as the firstpresident of AAAP. The ACP also gave its successful Jotrnal of Consulting Psychology to the new AAAP (Benjamin, 1997).

AAAP was, arguably, the most powerful applied psychology organization that the National Research Council and the APA had to deal with in their reorganization of American Psychology in 1944.

World War II and the Birth of the Division of Military Psychology

As the world prepared for W8’ in 1939, the National Reseach Council (NRC), Division of Anthropology and Psychology, voted to establish a committee on Public Service in the Event of War. The committee, chaired by John Jenkins, was soon renamed the Committee on the Selection and Training of lfilitary Personnel. The APA also organized an Emergency Committee on the war effort as did AAAP. Finally, the NRC sponsored a coordinating committee to pull together these different national efforts into one national effort under the leadership of Karl Dallenback. This was the Emergency Committee on Psychology, and many prominent psychologists of the day served on that committee including Yerkes.

Dallenback saw the role of the Emergency Committee as advisory in nature. Yerkes on the other hand saw the committee as an opportunity to unite academic and applied psychologists under one banner. As a result he organized a powerful sub-committee on Survey and Planning that permitted him to take charge. In early 1942 he organized a conference on long-range planning.

The conferees chosen by Yerkes were: Richard Elliot, E. G. Boring, Edga Doll, Calvin Stone, Alice Bryan, Ernest Hilgard, and Carl Rogers, all prominent members of APA and AAAP. The outcome of this conference was the recommendation that a Central American Institute of Psychology should be established along the lines of the WWI Office of Psychological Personnel (OPP).

Part of the recommendation was to convene an intersociety convention to discuss the formation of a central institute. This proposal was endorsed by the Emergency Committee and an intersociety convention was planned for Spring, 1943. Somehow, this proposed convention came to be known as the Inter-society Constitutional Convention and delegates from all major and some minor psychology organizations were invited to attend. Yerkes and his committee members prepared a handbook/agenda and suggested three alternative national structures-modification of the APA, a federation of the current represented societies, and an ideal new society. It also contained OPP statistics on membership in the American Psychologist which cleaty showed that APA was by far the most inclusive organization.

The convention lasted three days and what emerged was a plan to reorganize APA to permit the voice of special interest groups such as AAP, SPSSI, and the Psychometric Society to be represented. Part of this proposal was that all five sections of MAP, including the military psychology section, would become charter divisions within APA. The new organization of APA was realized in 1944 when both APA and AAAP members ratified the plan. Sitting chaimen of the five sections of AAAP automatically became the temporary chairmen of the charter divisions they represented. The new APA began opertation in September, 1945; however, it did not really get underway until 1946 with the election of new division officers. This was in part due to the cancellation of the 1945 annual APA convention because of war-time travel restrictions.

The Early Division Presidents Define Poet-War Military Psychology

Chauncey M. Louttit (1945-1946). Louttit automaticaliy became the temporary chairman of the charter division of miitay psychology as part of the APA reorganization. Louttit was the immediate past president of the AAA? and was the current chaiman of its military psychology section at the time AAAP was absorbed into the new APA structure. The military psychology section, along with the other four sections of AMP, formed five of the original 19 charter divisions of the new APA organization.

Sitting chairmen of the five sections of AMP automatically became the temporary chairmen of the charter divisions they represented. At the time of his appointment as temporary Division 19 chairman, Louttit was serving in the Navy as the commanding officer of the Service School, Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, MD. He left the service to take a teaching position as professor of clinical psychology at Ohio State University eventually becoming chairman of the psychology department at Wayne State University from 1954 until 1956 when he died of Hodgkins disease at age 55. He was also editor of the Psychological Abstracts from 1947 to 1956.