The Timecapsule section of the March issue of the APA’s Monitor on Psychology features an article on the involvement of psychologist Samuel Renshaw in the Second World War. Written by Nick Joyce(right), a graduate assistant at the Archives for the History of American Psychology (AHAP), the article details Renshaw’s efforts to improve aircraft and ship recognition among members of the American military. According to Joyce,
Renshaw taught officers to identify planes and vessels as a gestalt with a “perception of total form” in a fraction of a second. Data revealed that officers going through this training had dramatically improved recognition abilities. Upon completion of the program, officers could identify more types of planes and ships, with greater accuracy and with faster recognition times. The identification school’s graduates took the techniques to their commands and spread them. Over a million combined Navy and Army personnel learned Renshaw’s techniques.
The full article is available free online here.
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