According to A History of Modern Psychology by Duane P. Schultz and Sydney Ellen Schultz, development of applied psychology was mainly as a result of a number of economic factors. One such factor was the denial of women chances to seek positions in various universities. This saw most women psychologists getting employed in the applied fields such as clinical and counseling psychology, child guidance, and school psychology (Duane & Sydney, 2012). In these areas, they made significant contributions towards development and application of psychological tests. For instance, Florence Goodenough (Ph. D Stanford University, 1924), developed the Draw-A-Man Test (now the Goodenough-Harris Drawing Test), that has been widely used as nonverbal intelligence test for children.
Another factor that influenced the development of applied psychology was attributed to Lightner Witmer, a teacher of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Lightner opened the world’s first psychology clinic where he was interested in assessing and treating problems in learning and behavioral misconduct in schoolchildren. By so doing, he played an integral part in developing clinical psychology which developed even further than he had envisioned. He offered the first college course on clinical psychology and published the first journal, Psychological Clinic, after 29 years of editing (Duane & Sydney, 2012).
Lastly, during World War I, Walter Dil Scott, discoverer of efficiency, volunteered to the US Army and developed a rating for appointing captains based on prior tests for rating business leaders. By the end of the war, he had evaluated job qualifications for 3 million soldiers. As a consequence, business, industry, and government employed industrial psychologists to reorganize personnel procedures as well as psychological tests preparations for selecting best employees. The World War II also incorporated more psychologists into war work such as testing, screening, and classifying recruits.
Generally, the contribution of economic forces to the development of applied psychology cannot be overlooked. It would be relatively difficult to talk about applied psychology without these foundational factors that not only brought to light a rather obscured field but also engraved a functional role on the society (Adkins, 1999). For instance, through such discoveries as IQ tests by the likes of Binet and Terman, clinical psychology as propounded by Scott and other related fields applied psychology has become part of the every-day undertakings in the social and economic circles. Therefore, it is the view of this paper that applied psychology would not have developed to these levels was it not for the economic factors that pre-existed.
Adkins, J.A. (1999). “Promoting organizational health: The evolving practice of occupational health psychology”. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
Duane P. Schultz, Sydney Ellen Schultz. (2012) A History of Modern Psychology. CA : Thomson/Wadsworth