ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (10): 1729-1744.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01729

• 理论与史 • 上一篇    


刘文鑫, 杨玲(), 舒跃育   

  1. 西北师范大学心理学院暨甘肃省行为与心理健康重点实验室, 兰州 730070
  • 收稿日期:2022-11-28 发布日期:2023-07-26 出版日期:2023-10-25
  • 通讯作者: 杨玲, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

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 Health of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2022-11-28 Online:2023-07-26 Published:2023-10-25


美国社会在“二战”后发生的一系列社会变迁, 透过美国文化固有的“实用主义”与“个人主义”特点, 形塑了其战后的社会性格。这种社会性格以“单向度化、追求工具理性和个体优先”为核心特征, 它们与科学心理学的主要特点存在对应关系。这一社会性格在文化方面对心理学的期待是“科学主义对精神世界的祛魅”, 即“心理的世俗化”。在这个意义上, 它进一步促进了战后美国心理学科学主义范式的形成与巩固, 继而促成了今天科学心理学在美国乃至全世界心理学中的主导地位。而科学心理学在美国的蓬勃发展反过来又巩固了其社会性格, 体现出美国的科学心理学作为其思想(体系)的组成部分, 参与维持美国社会高效运转的功能。

关键词: 心理学史, 美国心理学, 社会性格, 社会变迁, 第二次世界大战


The flourish development of scientific psychology in America was often understood as the necessary subsequence of the evolution of intellectual history in psychology, in which psychology separated itself from philosophy and gradually found its own scientific methods during the past centuries. However, as one of categories of culture, the history of psychology could not be understood without the considering of societies and people who live in it. According to Fromm’s social psychological studies, social change may form the social character of a given society, and the social character will initiate new thoughts or ideas which constitutes new culture and ideology. This new kind of culture and ideology will be easy to be accepted by the society, and solidify its social character in turn. So it will be interesting if we explore the process in which psychology in America committed to scientism from the perspective of social change and social character after World War Ⅱ.

There ware a lot of changes after World War Ⅱ in America society in terms of politics, economics, industrial structure, population, education, and belief. On the material level, America reached the so-called advanced industrial society and consumer society. On the mental level, the worship of knowledge gradually replaced the worship of god in America society. These changes formed the social character of America after World War Ⅱ through pragmatism and individualism that were parts of American culture. The key trait of this kind of social character are one-dimensionalization, pursuing of instrumental rationality, and individual priority. What this kind of social character looking forward in terms of psychology as a part of culture and ideology is the disenchantment of innerworld, or we can say the secularization of mind, which will offer some kind of certainty for the working of American society.

World War Ⅱ promoted the development of psychology on general, and also left abundant of problems for America society, such as psychic trauma of veteran, the need for mental health, how to avoid the reviving of totalitarianism, how the collective affect the behavior of individual, and how to train more scientists, professors, and engineers for America and finally win the competition with Soviet Union. All these needs from society led to the boom of clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental and educational psychology, and psychometrics in America. Not only the numbers of APA members and journals, but also the number of PHD in American psychology surged during three decades after World War Ⅱ. The schools of psychology in America also changed during that time. New behavioralism declined after Hull and Skinner’s time due to its neglect of psyche. Psychoanalysis used to affect American psychology and evolved to ego psychology which could be seen as the product of Americanization. However, psychoanalysis was finally marginalized by scientific psychology in America because of the rise of evidence based medicine. The Third Force Psychology once made a noise in America, but it finally faded due to its attempt to connect psychology and philosophy again, and its complicated methods. It was cognitive psychology that became most popular and the main paradigm of American psychology. In a nutshell, the history of American psychology expressed its social character after World War Ⅱ, which called for the secularization of mind. The scientific psychology in America also plays its ideological role in maintaining the efficient work of American society in turn.

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