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College News and Departmenal Notes: Professor Thorndikes's Psychological Work in the Army


by Departmental notes - 1919

Professor Thorndike has been associated with various scientific and military activities in connection with the war since the spring of 1917. As a member of the psychology committee of the National Research Council, he had charge of the early statistical work with the psychological tests which have since been given to over a million and a half men in the army. This work was done at Teachers College in July and August, 1917. He became a member of the advisory board of the division of psychology in the office of the Surgeon General, which, with Major Yerkes as chief, was charged with the development and administration of these tests. Since September, 1917, he has been a member of the Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army. This committee, working first under the Adjutant General, and later under the General Staff, has devised and operated plans for the rating and classification of officers, and for the placement and transfer of soldiers. Through the personnel adjutants, nearly a million men have been placed originally or transferred later to forms of military work for which they were specially fit. This work is an integral part of the military organization and will doubtless be maintained under peace conditions. Its work in the development of trade-tests is now being extended to meet the needs of the department of labor.

Professor Thorndike has been associated with various scientific and military activities in connection with the war since the spring of 1917. As a member of the psychology committee of the National Research Council, he had charge of the early statistical work with the psychological tests which have since been given to over a million and a half men in the army. This work was done at Teachers College in July and August, 1917. He became a member of the advisory board of the division of psychology in the office of the Surgeon General, which, with Major Yerkes as chief, was charged with the development and administration of these tests. Since September, 1917, he has been a member of the Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army. This committee, working first under the Adjutant General, and later under the General Staff, has devised and operated plans for the rating and classification of officers, and for the placement and transfer of soldiers. Through the personnel adjutants, nearly a million men have been placed originally or transferred later to forms of military work for which they were specially fit. This work is an integral part of the military organization and will doubtless be maintained under peace conditions. Its work in the development of trade-tests is now being extended to meet the needs of the department of labor.


In his position as a member of this committee and also as executive secretary of the sub-committee of the American Psychological Association on problems of aviation, Dr. Thorndike cooperated with the division of military aeronautics in the development of tests of mental alertness which have been in regular use by the aviation examining boards since June, 1918, and in the development of tests to detect inability to learn to fly. These were authorized for use by special personnel examining units under Captain Henmon.


In August, 1918, at the request of the director of military aeronautics, Dr. Thorndike began work on tests of intelligence to meet the special needs of the selection and classification of enlisted men in the air service. This series of tests, which promise to be of service also in all branches of the Army and Navy where mechanical insight and intelligence in operating machines are important, were just being completed at the close of the war.


Dr. Thorndike is also the civilian member of the Committee on Training of the Board of Organization appointed on November 13 by General Kenly to consider the demobilization of the division of military aeronautics and its organization under conditions of peace.



Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 20 Number 1, 1919, p. 79-79
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 3790, Date Accessed: 10/27/2021 11:24:32 AM

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