Psychology's public image in "Topics of the Times": Commentary from the editorial page of the New York Times between 1904 and 1947

Paul M. Dennis, Elizabethtown College


Between 1904 and 1947, the New York Times published in a section of its editorial page, "Topics of the Times," 196 commentaries on psychology. Prior to World War I, the majority of editorials centered on Hugo Münsterberg; psychological topics most frequently examined after the war were the mental test, child rearing advice, and psychoanalysis. Although the Times was enthusiastic in its support for psychology in the years immediately before and after World War I, editorial opinion soon turned negative. Critical of psychology for promising more than it could deliver, being inconsistent in its assertions over time, and not rising above the level of common sense, Times editorials weighed heavily on the side of undermining, rather than promoting, psychology's credibility from the late 1920s to 1940s. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.