Industrial Psychology & Typographical Errors Redux

Paul MuchinskyA few days ago I posted an item about the possibility that the first published use of the phrase “industrial psychology” was a typographical error. The claim was attributed to “Muchinsky, 1997,” but I could not find the original source myself. So I wrote directly to Paul Muchinsky (U. North Carolina, Greensboro). He has kindly written back to tell me that his story of William Lowe Bryan’s typo dates back to the first edition of his textbook, Psychology Applied to Work. In the course of attempting to track down the first use of the phrase “industrial psychology,” Muchinsky found Bryan’s APA presidential address (1903, published 1904 in Psychological Review), in which Bryan appeared to quote the phrase from his own famous article on the learning of telegraphy (Bryan & Harter, 1899, Psychological Review). When Muchinsky examined that article, however, he found that the phrase Bryan & Harter had used in 1899 was “individual psychology” rather than “industrial psychology.” He concluded that the use of “industrial” in the 1903 address was a typographical error on Bryan’s part (although it is hard to come up with another plausible explanation without getting conspiratorial).

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

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