Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Significance of Psychology for the Study of Politics

  • Charles E. Merriam (a1)


As a part of its work, the committee on research of the American Political Science Association has undertaken a survey of the relation of politics to kindred types of inquiry, including psychology, anthropology, geography, biology, engineering and others. The purpose of such an inquiry is to explore the relationships that exist with kindred sciences, to facilitate coöperation with our fellow-workers, to improve our methods of investigation, and to promote the progress of political science.

The committee is not responsible for this report, for its form or content, its scope or method, its sins of omission or commission. Probably the general sentiment of the committee toward psychology would be expressed by the phrase, con amore ma non troppo.

It may be worth while at the outset to scrutinize some of the earlier relations of psychology to political science, for the friendship is one of long standing. In the earlier forms of political thinking, there are crude types of psychology that are of great interest and significance in the development of the art of political thinking. These philosophers evidently utilized all of the psychology that was current in the construction of their political systems.



Hide All

1 F. W. Coker, Organismic Theories of the State. Compare also David J. Ritchie, Darwinism and Politics, and Davis, M. M., Psychological Interpretations of Society, 1909.

2 Government of England, 1, 448, See also his significant presidential address on “The Physiology of Politics”. American Political Science Review IV, 1–15, noting that “the subject lacks the first essential of a modern science—a nomenclature incomprehensible to educated men.”

3 I, 15. See also chapter 13 on traditions; also the chapter on Obedience in Essays in History and Jurisprudence.

4 Brett, , History of Psychology, 4 vols., gives a comprehensive survey of the growth of psychology.

5 A summary of these differences is given in the Journal of Educational Psychology, 12 (1921).

6 Psychoanalytical Review, 10, 1215 (1921).

7 Hollingsworth, Applied Psychology.

8 See Gosnell, Harold F., “Some Practical Applications of Psychology to Politics,” 28 American Journal of Sociology, 735.

9 See E. M. Martin, in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

10 An interesting analysis of the meaning of these tests is given. Freeman, F. N., “A Referendum of Psychologists,” Century Magazine, December, 1923.

11 Whipple, G. M., “The Intelligence Testing Program and the Objectors Conscientious and Otherwise,” School and Society, XVII, 561.

12 See summary in Well's, F. L.The Status of Clinical Psychology”. Mental Hygiene, 1922.

13 W. M. Wheeler, Social Life Among Insects.

14 Tolman, E. C., “The Nature of Instinct,” Psychobgical Bulletin, 1923, No. 1, p. 218. Note bibliography.

15 Davis, A. E., “The Influence of Biology on the Development of Modern Psychology in America”, 30 Psychohgical Review, 164–75 (1923).

The Significance of Psychology for the Study of Politics

  • Charles E. Merriam (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.