ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (10): 1729-1744.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01729

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles    

The formation and consolidation of scientific paradigm in American psychology after World War Ⅱ: Analysis based on social character

LIU Wenxin, YANG Ling(), SHU Yueyu   

  1. School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University & Key Laboratory of Behavioral and Mental Healthof Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2022-11-28 Published:2023-10-25 Online:2023-08-01
  • Contact: YANG Ling
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31960185);General Project of the National Social Science Foundation of China(18BZX048)


A series of social changes in American society after World War II shaped its post-war social character through the inherent “pragmatism” and “individualism” characteristics of American culture. This social character is characterized by “one-dimensionalization, pursuing of instrumental rationality, and individual priority”, which correspond to the main characteristics of scientific psychology. The expectation of psychology in this social character is “the disenchantment of the spiritual world by scientism”, that is, “the secularization of the psyche”. In this sense, it further promoted the formation and consolidation of the post-war American psychological scientism paradigm, and then contributed to the dominance of scientific psychology in the United States and even the world today. The vigorous development of scientific psychology in the United States in turn has consolidated its social character, demonstrating the function of American scientific psychology as an integral part of its ideology to maintain the efficient operation of American society.

Key words: history of psychology, Psychology in America, social character, social change, World War II