Contributions to the history of psychology: LXXIX. Psychology's first publicist: H. Addington Bruce and the popularization of the subconscious and power of suggestion before World War I.

P. M. Dennis, Elizabethtown College


Between 1903 and America's entrance into World War I, journalist and psychologist H. Addington Bruce wrote numerous articles and books about psychology for the lay reader. At a time when widespread differences existed between psychologists as to subject matter and methods of study, he cultivated a decidedly Progressive image of psychology dominated by the concepts of the subconscious and power of suggestion. In contrast to the more hereditarian and materialistic assumptions embraced by most academic psychologists, Bruce's promotion of the importance of the environmentalistic and spiritualistic to psychology lent popular scientific credibility to a Progressive ideology and foreshadowed psychology's shift in the 1920s towards a greater emphasis on the environment and interest in the unconscious.