Chapter 5

Problems and progress in the period between the two world wars

In the period between the two World Wars, the schedule and locations of some international congresses of psychology were perturbed by financial problems, international politics, and wars. After American psychologists failed to organize an international congress in 1913, the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the hostile feelings that persisted for some years after the armistice in 1918 prevented the holding of the 7th International Congress of Psychology until 1923. The 8th congress was originally planned for the United States, but the grave financial situation in Europe made it unfeasible for European psychologists to travel to the USA, so the congress was shifted to the Netherlands in 1926. The following two congresses occurred on schedule in 1929 and 1932, and the 1929 congress in New Haven, Connecticut was the largest to date. In contrast, because of the depression the 1932 congress in Copenhagen was small and publication of its report was delayed. The 11th congress was scheduled for Madrid in 1936, but the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War caused it to be shifted to Paris in 1937.

The 12th congress was scheduled for Vienna in 1940, but the occupation of Austria by Nazi Germany in March 1938 caused some national psychological associations to call for a change of venue. The International Congress Committee debated a suitable choice, and German governmental agencies tried to make sure that the congress would be held in a site favorable to Germany. In a mail ballot, the committee narrowly favored Edinburgh over Stockholm for the congress in 1940. Then the outbreak of World War II in 1939 forced postponement of the 12th congress, which finally took place in Edinburgh in 1948. The increased organization and structure of the International Committee in the 1930s helped it to cope with the problems that arose.

In spite of these difficulties, a review of the congresses of the 1920s and 1930s reveals the steady progress psychology was making during this period.

The 7th International Congress of Psychology, Oxford 1923

In the autumn of 1922, some leading psychologists of France and Switzerland suggested to British colleagues that they attempt to revive the international congresses by arranging a meeting in Britain for the summer of 1923. An Organizing Committee was formed in London, and its members agreed that such a congress must be truly international. The French Société de Psychologie agreed that invitations to the congress should be issued without restriction as to nationality. The British Organizing Committee decided to hold the meeting in Oxford, July 26–August 2, 1923.

Probably influenced by the discussion at the 6th congress in Geneva on the qualification of members and on limiting the size of congresses, the British committee decided “to limit membership to trained psychologists and to restrict it to about 200 persons. Accordingly, invitations were sent out to the most distinguished psychologists throughout the world. Some refusals were received on the ground that international conditions did not yet permit of the resumption of friendly relations between members of nations so recently at war with one another; but the number of such replies was negligibly small” (VIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1924 , p. v).

It seems curious that the congress was held at Oxford, “which was even more reluctant than Cambridge to move with the times” and accept modern psychology (Boring, 1950 , p. 494). “It was hoped in 1923 that Oxford would be aroused by all the visiting scholars at the Congress to discover the existence of its missing field ...,” but it was only in 1936 that Oxford established an Institute of Experimental Psychology and finally, in 1947, a chair of psychology (Boring, 1950 , p. 494).

In accordance with the decision of the organizers, the membership of the 7th congress totalled only 239, scarcely more than at the 1st congress. Does the membership list provide a roster of “the most distinguished psychologists throughout the world,” in accordance with the intentions of the Organizing Committee? Not really, because, similarly to the 1st congress, 60% of the members were from the host country. The second largest delegation came from the United States, 12%, followed by France, Germany, and the Netherlands, with 3.4% each (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 663). No members came from Russia or Hungary, both of which had been well represented at the 6th congress but which were undergoing severe difficulties in the 1920s after the war and the revolution in Russia. Piéron (1954, p. 463) noted that most German psychologists refused to attend but that Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka brought a warm spirit of reconciliation. Lord Curzon, chancellor of the University of Oxford and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, thanked congress President Charles Myers for holding the congress: “All such meetings draw closer the bonds between the minds and spirits of nations, and make for that peace which statesmen are endeavouring, however ineffectively, to secure” (VIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1924 , p. vi).

Congress President Dr Charles S. Myers was one of the founders in 1908 of the British Journal of Psychology and was its editor in 1913–24. He and his family subsidized the enlargement and improvement of the Cambridge University psychological laboratory in 1913, and he was appointed its (unpaid) director. In 1922, Myers left Cambridge for London to become director of the new National Institute for Industrial Psychology, whose purpose was “the application of psychology and physiology to industry and commerce.” The Institute reflected the importance that applied psychology had reached in Great Britain during the war and in the post-war period. The Secretary of the congress was Dr William Brown of Oxford. Brown was to become the first director of the Institute of Experimental Psychology at Oxford in 1936.


Charles S. Myers (1873–1946): President of the 7th International Congress of Psychology, Oxford, 1923.

Each of the five weekday mornings had a symposium, and each afternoon had a session of individual papers. Because the attendance was small, all sessions were plenary and there were no parallel sessions. The languages employed at the congress and in the proceedings volume were English, French, and German.

The first symposium, chaired by Professor Godfrey H. Thompson of the University of Newcastle, was on “The nature of general intelligence and ability.” In addition to Thompson, participants in the symposium were Dr Edouard Claparède of Geneva and Dr Louis L. Thurstone of the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration, Washington, DC. The place of this symposium at the start of the congress reflects the interest in measurement of intelligence that had grown during and after the war. Further evidence of this interest was the resolution passed by the members of the congress at the closing meeting to appoint an international committee on intelligence and intelligence tests, in order to review and distribute tests, to establish a clearing house for information, and if possible to publish a yearbook and handbooks on intelligence testing.




The third symposium was entitled “The conception of nervous and mental energy” and was organized by the eminent Oxford neurophysiologist Charles S. Sherrington. Cambridge neurophysiologist Edgar D. Adrian summarized research on the nerve impulse and asked whether psychologists would be able to develop an equally useful concept of “mental energy.” London neurologist Henry Head discussed concepts of vigilance.

In the fourth symposium, “The classification of the instincts,” Edinburgh psychology professor James Drever urged a behavioral, biological viewpoint, whereas London psychoanalyst Ernest Jones defended the Freudian view.

The final symposium, “The principles of vocational guidance,” had participants from England, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Along with the first symposium and several individual papers, it reflected the emphasis of the 7th congress on applications of psychology.

Individual papers by Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka of Germany and G. Révész of the Netherlands reported on research on Gestalt psychology, the first time this topic was discussed at an international congress of psychology. Classification of the topics of communications showed physiological psychology in the lead, followed by industrial and military psychology (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 149). The prominence of industrial and military psychology was understandable both because of the recency of the World War and also because of the interests of the President of the congress, Charles Myers, in this field.

As Montoro González (1982 , p. 151) summarized it, the 7th congress showed psychology steadily developing its own identity and becoming more and more independent from philosophy, on the one hand, and from physiology, on the other. The general tendency was for a functional psychology, more dynamic than structural, more psychobiological than psychophysical, more empirical than logical, and moving rapidly toward applications.

At the meeting of the International Committee, 24 new members were elected. With the continuing members, this brought the total to 105 (VIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1924 , p. xx). (See Appendix A.7 .) Sixteen of the members were from the USA, 14 from France, 10 each from Germany and Italy, and 9 each from Great Britain and the USSR (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 688).

For the next congress, both American psychologists and Dutch psychologists offered to play host. The American offer was accepted provisionally, but a small committee was established to determine whether the precarious financial situation in Europe made it feasible to hold a congress in the United States. This committee consisted of Edouard Claparède (Switzerland), Charles Myers (England), and Henri Piéron (France) (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 153). In February 1924, Dr Claparède, writing for the committee, invited the Dutch to organize the 8th congress, and they accepted to do so for September, 1926.

The 8th International Congress of Psychology, Groningen 1926

The 8th International Congress of Psychology took place at the University of Groningen, September 6–11 1926. Following the precedent of the 7th congress, the Organizing Committee of the 8th congress limited its invitations “to about 200 well-known psychologists and a few others.” Actually, 241 members were registered (VIIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1927 , pp. 57–67). The largest number of these, 71 (29%), came from the host country. Next in order of registration was Germany with 52; note the large increase from the German attendance of only 8 at the 7th congress in Oxford. Then followed Great Britain with 25, USA with 24, and France with 11 (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 664).

The President of the congress was Gerardus Heymans, who had been professor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Groningen since 1890. Vice-President was Enno Dirk Wiersma, professor of psychiatry at the University of Groningen. Secretary was F. Roels, professor at the University of Utrecht.


Gerardus Heymans (1857–1930): President of the 8th International Congress of Psychology, Groningen, 1926.

The languages used at the congress were English, French, and German. President Heymans gave his address in English but asked the indulgence of the congress members to use Dutch to thank the representatives of the national government, the province, the city and the university for their warm interest in the success of the congress.

The program included five symposia on the following topics: (1) The intensity of sensations. (2) The psychology of religion. (3) Understanding and explaining. (4) Form perception. (5) The psychology of primitive races. There were also about 60 individual papers.

The terminology and content of the symposium on the psychology of primitive races stands in marked contrast with contributions on cross-cultural psychology in more recent congresses of psychology. F.C. Bartlett of Cambridge University entitled his paper “The psychology of the lower races.”

Classification of the topics of the presentations shows that sensation and perception led with 29.8%, followed by general psychology with 17.5%, psychometrics with 9.5%, and physiological psychology with 7.1% (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 157).


Edouard Claparède (1873–1940): Named Permanent Secretary of the International Congress Committee in 1926; served until his death in 1940.

The International Committee for the first time appointed a Permanent Secretary, Dr Edouard Claparède of Geneva. It also appointed 11 new members, bringing the total to 110 (VIIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1927 , pp. 19–20). (See Appendix A.8 .) Sixteen of the members were from France, 15 from the USA, 13 from Germany, 11 each from Great Britain and Italy, and 9 from the USSR (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 691). It might be noted that members from the USSR were retained on the International Committee although no USSR citizen attended either the 7th or 8th congress. At its closing session, the congress resolved unanimously that the next session be held in America. The improved financial situation in Europe made this feasible.

The International Committee approved four languages for official use at the congresses: English, French, German, and Italian.

The 9th International Congress of Psychology, Yale 1929

The 9th International Congress of Psychology took place at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, September 1–7, 1929. Early in the program of the 9th congress, Edouard Claparède, Permanent Secretary of the International Committee, gave a brief account of past congresses in which he recalled the long history of disappointed hopes to meet in the United States before this congress fortunately came about. Claparède thanked the Carnegie Foundation for having aided psychologists from outside the United States to attend the congress (Claparède, 1930 , p. 34).

The American Organizing Committee did not maintain the limitation of invitations practised at the two previous congresses; on the contrary, they adopted measures to ensure a large attendance. One was to hold the congress jointly with the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), which then had about 1000 members. The APA agreed to cover the expenses of the congress and to publish its proceedings. More difficult was the problem of attracting participants from outside the United States. One measure taken was to reduce the registration fee to $5 for attendees from outside the United States, versus $10 for Americans. Amore important step was to pay the travel and lodging of some important European psychologists—including Bühler, Köhler, Michotte, and Mira—and arrange for them to give lectures at some American universities (Piéron, 1929 ; Woodworth & Boring, 1930 ). These measures were relatively successful with regard to American participation, but only moderately successful with regard to attracting others. There were 826 regular members registered; 722 Americans but only 104 “foreign members.” In addition, over 200 persons were registered who would have been counted as members at previous congresses—106 wives of members and 129 other guests—making a total registration of 1051. This was by far the largest international congress of psychology to date.


James McKeen Cattell (1860–1944): President of the 9th International Congress of Psychology, Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) 1929.

The President of the 9th congress was Professor James McKeen Cattell. This is ironic because conflicts over Cattell’s role were mainly responsible for the failure of American psychologists to organize an international congress in 1913. But by 1929 Cattell had outlived most of his rivals, and had become a major spokesman for psychological science. Cattell was the first American to obtain a doctorate with Wundt in 1886. At the University of Pennsylvania he occupied the world’s first chair in psychology in 1887. He was the first psychologist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, USA, in 1901.

The Vice-President of the congress was James R. Angell, a prominent functionalist psychologist, who at the time of the congress was rector of Yale University. The Secretary was Professor Edwin G. Boring of Harvard University; in the year of the congress he published the first edition of his History of Experimental Psychology.

Cattell devoted his presidential address to the history and present state of psychology in America, which of course derived from psychology in Europe and also from the progress of related sciences and technologies. Cattell noted that 1929 marked the 50th anniversary of Wundt’s founding the first formal laboratory of psychology in Leipzig and also the 40th anniversary of the 1st International Congress of Psychology. He recounted the rapid increase in professorships of psychology and laboratories of psychology in America, and also the founding in 1892 and rapid growth of the American Psychological Association, the first national society of psychology. Cattell extolled international congresses for advancing scientific research and for promoting international cooperation and goodwill. He welcomed psychologists from around the world “and with special pleasure psychologists from Soviet Russia.”

In the scientific program of the congress, two or three parallel sessions were held each morning. Each afternoon, there were informal symposia or round tables, 38 in all. The evenings saw formal addresses by major investigators including Ivan P. Pavlov, Wolfgang Köhler, Albert Michotte, Henri Piéron, Carl Spearman, and Edward L. Thorndike; Karl S. Lashley gave the presidential address of the APA. Altogether, 424 papers were presented, and many of them were published in the proceedings (Ninth International Congress of Psychology, 1930 ).

The topics treated covered a wide range. Psychometrics was the most frequent, with 16.7% of the reports. This reflected mainly the study of intelligence in school settings. In second place came physiological psychology, with 11.7%. The addresses of Pavlov and Lashley also reflected this emphasis on this topic. Third place was held by clinical psychology, with 10.6%, reflecting in part the influence of child guidance clinics (Montoro González, 1982 , pp. 166–167).

Most of the papers were in English, but French, German, and Italian were also used. In his address as Secretary-General of the International Committee, Claparède took up the question of use of different languages at the different congresses. Recalling that the International Committee had decided at the 8th congress that four languages be accepted officially—English, French, German, and Italian—Claparède said he looked forward to the day when Esperanto would be sufficiently widespread to be the general language at congresses. Meanwhile he advocated that each speaker be allowed to use whatever language he wished, thus making the choice of limiting his audience (Claparède, 1930 , p. 40).

The International Committee voted to add 28 persons to its membership, bringing the total to 122 (see Appendix A.9 ). The only woman member of the committee was Margaret F. Washburn, USA. Four of the new members were from the USSR and three of these were present at the 9th congress, including Ivan P. Pavlov.

Although some members of the International Congress Committee attended congresses and committee meetings regularly, many people who had been appointed to the committee did not attend International Congresses of Psychology. Therefore the committee adopted the following policy:

It was voted that members of the International Committee
who have been absent from three consecutive Congresses be
automatically relieved as members of the Committee unless
re-elected.

This new provision was first put into effect with the appointment of the International Committee at the 10th congress in 1932, and it led to a sharp reduction in the number of members of the next committees (see Appendix A.10 ). The congress voted to accept the invitation to meet in Copenhagen in 1932; thanks were expressed for other invitations from Gothenburg and Poland (Ninth International Congress of Psychology, 1930 , pp. 6–7).

The 10th International Congress of Psychology, Copenhagen 1932

The 10th congress took place August 22–27, 1932, at the University of Copenhagen with the King of Denmark as patron. The eminent psychologist Harald Höffding had been designated to be President of the congress, but he died the year before the congress, so the Chair of the Organizing Committee, Professor Edgar Rubin, became President of the congress. Rubin was director of the Laboratory of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen and a well-known investigator of perception.

The records of the 10th congress are less readily available than those of the other International Congresses of Psychology, so relatively little has been written about it. In fact, Montoro González, in his detailed description of the first 16 congresses, states that the usual proceedings do not exist for this congress, so it is not possible to see the list of members, the members of the International Committee, and so on (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 174). Actually, the proceedings were published, but with more than the usual delay and in two parts instead of the usual single volume. One part was a 53-page paper-bound report, which gives the formal proceedings and lists of members of the International Committee and Organizing Committee, the members of the congress, and the papers submitted for presentation (Tenth International Congress of Psychology, 1935 ). The report notes that the national committee regretted having to send out the following letter a year after the congress took place:

During the Congress we requested the members to send in
copies of their lectures or synopses thereof, as we thought we
had every reason to believe that the finances of the Congress
would permit of the publication of a report containing this
material. Partly due to the general depression we have,
however, met with unexpected difficulties, and … we have
now seen ourselves reluctantly compelled to return the
manuscripts without having been able to make use of them
(Tenth International Congress of Psychology, 1935 , pp.
14–15).

Twenty-six of the papers and addresses delivered at the congress were, however, gathered together as the first number of the journal Acta Psychologica (Papers read at the X International Congress of Psychology at Copenhagen, 1932 [1935] ).

The report of the congress listed 288 active members registered, 74 accompanying ladies, and 106 passive members, but this somewhat overstated the actual attendance. The numbers stated those registered for the congress, but several of these did not attend. Of the 150 members listed as submitting papers, 26 (17%) were noted as “absent,” and at least as large a percentage of the total list of members probably did not attend. Thus, the congress report noted that the entire Brazilian delegation “was prevented from attending” (Tenth International Congress of Psychology, 1935 , p. 11), although the list of active members of the congress included 11 from Brazil. The largest number of listed active members came from the United States (71), followed by the delegations of Germany (43), Denmark (35), Great Britain (24), and Sweden (14).

The Danish Organizing Committee received financial support from the Danish government and major breweries, among others. The University of Copenhagen placed its Festival Hall and lecture halls at the disposal of the congress. The municipality of Copenhagen invited the congress members to a reception at the town hall, and there was a closing banquet on the final evening. After the close of the congress, some of the members went on a circular tour of German and Austrian institutes arranged by Professor David Katz on behalf of the Deutsche Geselleschaft für Psychologie.

Among the invited speakers at general sessions of the congress and their topics were Edouard Claparède, Geneva, “La psychologie fonctionelle” (Functional psychology); Augustino Gemelli, Milan, “Nuove richerche sulla strutturazione della parole e della frase” (New research on the structure of words and phrases); Arnold Gesell, Yale, “The growth of infant behavior patterns studied by cinematography”; Walter Hunter, Clark University, “Voluntary activity from the standpoint of behaviorism”; Arthur Kronfeld, Berlin, “Die Bedeutung Soren Kierkegaards für die Psychologie der Person” (The meaning of Soren Kierkegaard for the psychology of the person); Charles S. Myers, London, “Recent evidence of the value of vocational guidance”; Ivan P. Pavlov, Leningrad, “Das dynamische Stereotyp der Grosshirnhemisphären” (The dynamic stereotype of the cerebral hemispheres); Henri Piéron, Paris, “L’intégration du temps dans la notion du seuil et le problème des mécanismes d’excitation sensorielles” (The integration of time in the concept of threshold and the problem of mechanisms of sensory excitation); Carl E. Seashore, University of Iowa, “The psychology of the vibrato in music and speech”; and William Stern, Hamburg, “Raum und Zeit als personale Dimensionen” (Space and time as personal dimensions). In addition to these papers, the program lists about 140 individual papers. English, French, German, and Italian were the official languages.

Claparède, as Chair of the section on terminology, proposed a resolution to the International Committee, which passed it unanimously, for increased efforts to standardize psychological terminology within and among languages. This effort was continued at the 11th congress.

The International Committee decided to elect an Advisory Committee (Executive Committee) in addition to its Permanent Secretary, Edouard Claparède, who had been appointed at the 8th congress in 1926. This was to consist of the present congress President and the incoming President, together with the Permanent Secretary and five members to be elected by the International Committee at its closing meeting during the congress. The members elected to the Advisory Committee were Herbert S. Langfeld (USA), Charles S. Myers (UK), Henri Piéron (France), and Mario Ponzo (Rome). Edgar Rubin (Denmark) and Emilio Mira (Spain) were members as current and incoming congress Presidents, respectively. Herbert S. Langfeld (USA) was elected Associate Secretary. The records do not indicate why the International Committee decided to appoint the Advisory Committee, but this proved to be a wise decision to help the committee confront problems that were to arise in the latter part of the 1930s.

The list of members of the International Committee was revised in accordance with the resolution adopted at the 1929 congress to drop members who had been absent from three successive congresses. This action, coupled with the election of 7 new members, brought the committee to a total of 84 members (Appendix A.10 ), whereas the membership had been over 100 for the previous 4 terms. With further eliminations and new appointments, it was to remain around 80 at the next 2 congresses (see Appendix A ).

The International Committee received several invitations to hold the 11th congress—in Germany, Spain, Japan, the USA, and Austria. It chose Spain as the site of the congress in 1936. The invitation to hold a congress in Japan was the first for a site outside of Europe or North America; a congress was finally held in Japan in 1972.

The Spanish Civil War causes the congress planned for Madrid in 1936 to be shifted to Paris in 1937

The International Committee had decided at the 10th congress to hold the 11th congress in Madrid in September 1936. Santiago Ramon y Cajal, famous neuroanatomist and Nobel Prize laureate, was designated as honorary President; he had been a long-time member of the International Committee and had attended some of the early congresses. Emilio Mira was designated to be President and José Germain as Secretary-General. A productive planning meeting took place in 1935, attended by the Spanish Organizing Committee and some members of the international Executive Committee (Michotte, 1938 , p. 520). Then politics and warfare intervened.

In the Spanish elections of February 1936, the Popular Front (left coalition) won. Then in the summer of 1936, generals led a revolt against the government and the Spanish Civil War broke out. The Spanish Organizing Committee informed the International Committee of the necessity to hold the congress outside of Spain. The Permanent Secretary of the International Committee consulted the members of its Executive Committee, which had been created at the 10th congress in Copenhagen. At that time, the ideological office of the Nazi party was attempting to bring the 11th congress to Germany (Geuter, 1984 , pp. 128–129). It had learned that France was trying to secure the congress but preferred to have the congress represent German rather than Western psychology. The executive board of the German Psychological Society supported the proposal to bring the congress to Germany. The Executive Committee decided to request Professor Henri Piéron, one of its members, to arrange for the organization of the 11th congress in Paris in July 1937, and this was done.

The 11th International Congress of Psychology, Paris 1937

Although organized in haste because of the shift from Madrid to Paris, the 11th congress attracted a reasonably good attendance—586 members were registered from 36 countries. Montoro González (1982 , p. 184) suggested that part of the reason for the success of the congress, which took place on July 25–31, 1937, was that it again coincided with a World’s Fair and it also overlapped with meetings of related groups, including the International Neurological Meeting, the 2nd International Congress of Mental Hygiene, the International Congress of Primary Education, the second International Congress of Esthetics, and the International Congress of Child Psychiatry. It was at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair that the public first saw Picasso’s painting Guernica, protesting the bombing of that city in the Spanish Civil War.

The President of the congress, Professor Henri Piéron, was the director of the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology at the Sorbonne and editor of l’Année psychologique; he had served on the International Committee since 1909. The Honorary President was Pierre Janet, well known psychiatrist and long-time member of the International Psychology Committee. As he mentioned in his presidential address (Piéron, 1938 , p. 507), Piéron had been planning to propose a congress in Paris in 1939 to commemorate several events: the 50th anniversary of the 1st International Congress of Psychology; the centenary of the birth of pioneer French psychologist Théodule A. Ribot, acting President of the 1st International Congress of Psychology and President of the 4th International Congress of Psychology, and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology. The registration fee for the congress was 100 francs, ten times the amount for the first congress in 1889, an indication of the inflation in Europe during the half century that separated the two congresses.


Henri Piéron (1881–1964): President of the 11th International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1937. Later became first President of the International Union of Scientific Psychology (IUSP), 1951–1954.

Piéron gave credit for the efficient organization of the congress to the Secretary-General, Professor Ignace Meyerson. Instead of the extensive program planned for the congress at Madrid, the French organizers decided on a more focused congress on the overall theme “Du movement à la conduite” (From movement to conduct). Under this theme, five symposia were organized: (1) Morphology of movement. (2) The law of effect in learning and its interpretation. (3) The acquisition of habits. (4) Motor and mental development in children. (5) Animal behavior and human conduct. In addition to the symposia, there were major lectures by such well-known investigators as Pierre Janet, Edgar Adrian, William McDougall, Jean Piaget, Karl Bühler, and Edouard Claparède. There were also nine round tables. The first of these, on psychological terminology, was chaired by Claparède; it continued the effort to regularize psychological terminology that was undertaken at the 6th congress and which the 10th congress had recommended be continued. Finally, there were 115 individual papers. Classification of the topics of the presentations showed sensation and perception in the lead with 15%, followed closely by physiological psychology with 13.4%; psychometrics was the subject of 10.2% of the papers (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 188).

The languages of the congress were English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. For the opening session, simultaneous translations from French to English and German, and from English to French and German, was available through earphones. All communications were to be sent to the secretariat in advance of the congress; they were printed and given out to the members on their arrival.


The congress opened with a reception at the Foreign Ministry, the Quai d’Orsay, and the proceedings volume included several photographs of congress members there. The opening ceremonies included a speech by a representative of the foreign minister, and the French government was active in recognizing the congress. The President of the Republic received a delegation of congress members at his office in the Elysée Palace. The government named Professor James McKeen Cattell, who had presided over the 9th congress in Yale, Commander of the Legion of Honor. Official delegations to the congress included representatives of many scientific organizations, including the French Académie des Sciences, the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences USA, and representatives of 20 universities from around the world.

The International Committee named new members to replace members who had died since the last congress and dropped four members because they had not attended the last three congresses. This brought the International Committee to 84 members, as shown in Appendix A.11 ; they represented 21 different countries. The largest number, 24 (29%) came from the USA; the next largest came from Great Britain, 12 (14%), followed by France, 10 (12%), and Germany, 7 (8%); Italy and the USSR each had 4 (Montoro González, 1982 , p. 688). Four members of the International Committee were women: Hélène Antipoff (Brazil), Charlotte Bühler (Austria), Beatrice Edgell (UK), and Margaret F. Washburn (USA). Professor William Stern had resigned from the Executive Committee, under pressure from German authorities, but he remained on the International Committee. Stern was replaced on the Executive Committee by Professor Otto Klemm, who was favored by the German government (Geuter, 1984 , p. 129). At the meeting of the International Committee in Paris, Klemm presented an invitation to hold the next congress in Leipzig, but then deferred to the invitation of Karl Bühler to hold the congress in Vienna. Klemm explained that an invitation for Vienna had already been made at the 9th congress and therefore had priority, and also that no congress of psychology had yet taken place in Austria. It was decided unanimously to accept the invitation to hold the next congress in Vienna in 1940, under the presidency of Professor Karl Bühler.

World War II causes postponement of the 12th congress

The 12th congress was scheduled for Vienna in 1940, after maneuvering to bring the previous congress to Germany. Some of the behind-the-scenes political attempts by Germany to influence the site of the congresses in the period 1936–1940 are recounted by Geuter (1984) , and we review them briefly here. When at the 1937 Paris congress Otto Klemm withdrew his invitation to hold the 12th congress in Leipzig in favor of Vienna, this was more than a polite gesture. Klemm was acting on instructions from the German government to withdraw in favor of Austria or Italy, if it appeared that Germany would not receive a majority vote (Geuter, 1984 , p. 130). Also, Klemm had spoken with Karl Bühler, the head of the Austrian delegation, who assured him that if Klemm supported Vienna for the 12th congress, then Bühler would support Germany as the site of the 13th congress.

Then, in March 1938 Germany occupied Austria. Karl Bühler, the designated President of the next congress, was immediately imprisoned and released only in the autumn. Several psychological organizations reacted with resolutions against holding the 1940 congress in Austria; these included the American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society. At its meeting in September 1938 the Council of the APA considered resolutions adopted by several American groups against holding the congress in Vienna and drafted the following resolution which was adopted by the Association:

Be it resolved, That the American Psychological Association
request the Committee in charge of arrangements for the
Twelfth International Congress of Psychology to terminate, if
it has not already done so, the tentative plan to hold this
congress in Vienna in 1940; and that it request the
Committee to arrange for the Congress in some country
where the progress of psychology as a branch of science is
not hindered by a government hostile to the tradition of free
and unimpeded scholarship (Olson, 1939 , p. 129).

The international Executive Committee was faced with the difficult problem of finding a new site for the 12th congress. If Vienna was now impossible, the standing invitation from Leipzig would have to be considered again, but there was a consensus that Germany was no longer a possible site. Belgium, Poland, Romania, the UK (Edinburgh), and Sweden were considered as alternatives. Italian psychologists proposed that the meeting take place in Rome in 1942, at the time when a World’s Fair was scheduled there. Michotte declined for Belgium, and the executive committee narrowed the choice to Edinburgh or Stockholm. They called for a mail vote by members of the International Committee.

This choice had political aspects. The well-known perception psychologist David Katz had been expelled from his professorship at the State University of Mecklenburg when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and had gone to Sweden where he became the leading professor of psychology at the University of Stockholm. The council of the British Psychological Society urged the choice of Edinburgh, suggesting that choosing Stockholm would be a violent rebuff to Germany (Geuter, 1984 , p. 134). Forty-three members of the International Committee cast ballots. Six did not make a choice, 19 voted for Edinburgh, and 18 for Stockholm. Claparède then asked James Drever to organize a congress in Edinburgh in 1940, but the outbreak of World War II in 1939 resulted in postponing the 12th congress, which was finally held in 1948. At that congress, Stockholm was chosen as the site of the 13th congress in 1951, with David Katz as President.

The next chapter takes up the 12th and 13th congresses and the formal founding of the International Union of Scientific Psychology, as it was originally named.

References

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