Fields of Psychology
A recent study of opinion among industrial psychologists revealed a very general agreement that a course on the several fields would serve as an excellent orientation for the graduate student. While there have been several textbooks written by single authors for such a course, the editor feels that psychology is now so specialized that it is difficult for one writer to survey adequately the significant developments in all the fields. The interpretation of a field to the student can best be accomplished by a writer who is himself immersed in that field. He then writes as an intimate insider rather than as an appraising outsider. His feeling for the right emphases, unless he is a one-sided worker in that field, can seldom be matched by that of an outsider.
For these and other reasons, the editor believes that the textbook for this course should be in the nature of a symposium, written by contributors who have shown by their previous writings that they are very much at home in their respective fields. The order of the chapters in this volume is somewhat arbitrary. They may be taught in almost any preferred sequence. The adopted sequence places the main theoretical fields first, beginning with the developmental approach. The chapters on differential psychology end this first section, since individual differences emerge from developmental causes, from social factors, and from causes that tend to induce abnormalities. The transition from differential to educational and clinical problems is very direct. The divisions of other applied fields and their order were agreed upon after much exchange of ideas on the part of the contributors. The more special fields of physiological psychology and aesthetics do not fit readily into the sequence of the first section on theoretical fields. The somewhat abstruse subject of points of view comes appropriately after the more concrete material, when the student is more ready to appreciate the reasons for divergent systematic approaches to psychology.
The omission of a chapter on experimental psychology may seem a serious oversight to some readers. The term "experimental psychology" is losing its traditional meaning, however, as a separate and distinct field. All fields are becoming more and more experimental, and so the term is coming to refer to a method rather than a field.