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Harris, H.I. (1949). Contemporary Schools of Psychology: By Robert S. Woodworth. Revised Edition. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 279 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:381-384.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:381-384

Contemporary Schools of Psychology: By Robert S. Woodworth. Revised Edition. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 279 pp.

Review by:
Herbert I. Harris

The appearance of this book is most appropriate at this time. With the increasing participation of clinical psychologists in practical clinical problems, it is perhaps wise for all of us to obtain a wider perspective of the status of psychology in its philosophical and practical relationships.

The historical portions are illustrated by interesting quotations from early writers like Hobbes and Spencer. In thinking of the book as a whole the reader may discern some lack of awareness of the total field of psychology. Excursions into abstract areas of thought without sufficient ballast of practical clinical reality appear to have caused a waste of mental energy in the work of many of the schools. One is struck by the lack of fruitful application that can be or has been made of the many hypotheses set forth in this book. The development with great fanfare and much controversy of the school of behaviorism is a case in point, since the essentials of the school derive from the earlier work of Pavlov and Thorndike. After all the tumult and shouting died, little of constructive value for the further development of psychology seems to have developed therefrom. While it may well be that the direction of psychological thinking at the time of the development of the behaviorist school needed the corrective effects that are supposed to have been derived from it, one wonders if this does not really show the weakness of all psychological speculation when it fails to keep closely in touch with clinical reality.

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