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Brown, J.F. (1941). General Psychology: From the Personalistic Standpoint: By William Stern. Translated by Howard Davis Spoerl. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938. 589 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 10:167-167.

(1941). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 10:167-167

General Psychology: From the Personalistic Standpoint: By William Stern. Translated by Howard Davis Spoerl. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938. 589 pp.

Review by:
J. F. Brown

The general trend in modern academic psychology is toward systematic positions which are much more readily reconcilable with psychoanalysis than the early ones. The problems of personality as an organized totality or gestalt plays an increasingly important rôle not only in systematic presentations but in the fields chosen for experimental research. The personalistic psychology of the late Professor William Stern has an important place in this movement. The central concept of psychology to him was that of the person, and his presentation of psychology followed from this central concept. His three modalities of life, vitality, experience, and introception, are rather closely related to what the analyst knows as the id, ego and superego functions.

The present volume is a textbook of general psychology. It follows the usual pattern. Part one presents the methodological bias and general outline; Parts two to six deal in order with perception, memory, thought, behavior, and feeling. The factual material consists of that usually contained in such texts. The interpretation is from the personalistic standpoint. Direct references to and criticism of psychoanalysis are relatively rare, but those given are fairly accurate and tempered. The psychoanalyst who wishes to orient himself in the field of general psychology would find himself more at home with this text than with most of those now current.

The book is a translation of Allgemeine Psychologie auf personalistischer Grundlage, a work which was well known to German psychologists. In this edition some passages have been omitted and some additional material for American psychologists added. The bibliography has been reworked with the American reader in mind. The work reads very smoothly for an English translation of a German scientific treatise.

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