The theoretical work of psychologists after World War II, especially in the areas of Third World development and revolution, complemented the institutional factors that were strengthening psychological research within the military and helped bring psychological perspectives to the attention of policy-makers. The notion, for example, that the roots of war were to be found in the psychological particulars of national character and the universal truth of frustration and aggression did not evaporate at the end of World War II. During the period between 1945 and 1960, psychological experts pursued questions about how to derail the development of militaristic aggressiveness, and, more ambitiously, how to construct an alternative psychology, oriented toward peaceful economic development and political stability. The fundamentals of the national character approach, although they sometimes
came in for sharp methodological criticisms, gained wide currency among foreign and military policy-makers in the period following the war
Formulated as an explicit alternative to the inadequate (because they were not primarily psychological) explanations of economists and other social scientists who stressed material factors and large-scale social forces transcending the individual person, some psychologists singled out personality as the ultimate key to manipulating economic and political developments in the newly emerging states of the Third World. As early as 1946, psychologist Carl Hovland offered the following general advice to the officers of the Rockefeller Foundation, who were exploring the possibility of funding projects on the "Psychological Principles Underlying Economic Behavior": "Now it is not anticipated that it will be possible within the near future to explain all economic phenomena on the basis of psychological laws now known. But it is the writer's opinion that it is high time that a start be made." Between World War II and the mid-1960s, psychologists tackled this area of theory. and research. Many eventually concluded that there was little point in assisting abstractions like "developing societies" by pouring vast public sums into a process whose economic mechanisms were baffling.
Personalities, on the other hand, were concrete entities. Not only did they "develop," but they were assumed to be reachable through conscious intervention into the family's childrearing practices. Mothers, because they functioned as personality factories, became favorite subjects of expert attention and logical objects of public policy. The inner landscape, that familiar geography on which so much military conflict transpired, also turned out to be the key to unlocking peaceful economic change in far-flung corners of the world.
Leonard Doob, an important figure in World War II psychology and one of the authors of Frustration and Aggression, spent a number of the postwar years conducting psychological studies in African and Caribbean societies and developing a theoretical argument that posited "civilization" (by which he meant Western-style industrial and cultural development) as an outgrowth of personality change. Civilization's presence or absence, in other words, had more to do with the conditions of psychological development and with the state of affairs "within people" than with such external, material realities as economic infrastructure, raw materials, population growth, or the character and extent of political institutions. "People acquire the central goal of seeking to be-
come more civilized," Doob argued, "when their traditional values no longer bring them satisfaction and/or when some experience gives them a favorable view of civilization."
Although Doob held tightly to the vision of an objective and non-judgmental behavioral science, insisting, for example, that "the process of becoming more civilized is neither praised nor condemned," his conclusions told a different story. His data characterized the people of "uncivilized" societies as rigid and lacking in empathy, whereas the psychological profile of civilized people included tolerance, reason, self-reflection, and a refreshing absence of dogma. Doob still endorsed the psychoanalytic premise that civilization required repression, but the resulting misery seemed to fall squarely on the shoulders of those individuals who were in the process of acculturation, striving for an urbanized, industrialized society. The psychological conflicts involved in "becoming more civilized" could, according to this way of thinking, function as the basis for nationalist or revolutionary ideologies since these ideologies offered psychologically necessary safety valves for the accumulation of hostile emotions by directing those emotions toward outsiders, frequently Westerners. If residents of the Third World could be systematically aided in navigating this treacherous route toward civilized personalities, Doob suggested, they would likely find that state psychologically satisfying when they finally arrived.
His research methods, which relied heavily on projective tests like the Rorschach, were indicative of general trends in the direction of postwar social scientific research. Personality measures were more and more frequently used by anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists engaged in fieldwork in the Third World because getting illiterate or semiliterate people to draw or respond to ink blots was a practical possibility. For the many who were influenced by varieties of psychoanalytic theory, of course, exploring the levels below consciousness was also a theoretical necessity. A whole generation of postwar social scientists was routinely schooled in the use of tests like the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), F Scale, Rorschach, and the Goodenough Drawing Test, in addition to more conventional intelligence-measuring techniques like the Stanford-Binet scale. One survey of cross-cultural research in the early 1960s concluded that "students of culture have looked to the psychologist—or at least to psychological concepts and methods—for the key to their revised scientific interest."
Probably the best-known example of postwar psychological theory pushed to the limits of its explanatory power in relation to international
economic development was the work of David McClelland. A personality psychologist originally interested in theories of motivation, McClelland's The Achieving Society (1961) aimed to illustrate that psychological determinism could be empirically sound and quantitatively rigorous when it came to explaining and predicting patterns of national economic development. McClelland, committed to methodological advance in psychology, also had in mind the practical translation of psychological theory into public policy. "The shortest way to achieve economic objectives," he wrote, "might turn out to be through changing people first. . . . The precise problem of most underdeveloped countries is that they do not have the character structure, especially the motivational structure, which would lead them to act in the ways required. The model is like a combustion engine without the gas to make it go."
Individual psychology, as it turned out, was "the gas," the precious fuel of economic progress. Much as Doob had focused on the individual personality as the entity that either moved or failed to move toward a state of civilization, McClelland theorized that the personal psychological resources of a given country largely determined whether or not it would be an "achieving society." Economic development was a product of a competitive, achievement-oriented type of personality whose main sources were internal and psychological. This achieving personality (or any other kind, for that matter) was manufactured within the family. Relationships between mothers and children (in the case of McClelland's research, it was exclusively mothers and sons ) were therefore directly implicated as likely obstacles to national economic growth and reforming motherhood emerged as possibly the clearest solution to national economic failure.
McClelland's grand theory began modestly in the early 1950s with an effort to quantitatively isolate and measure individual motives, including the one that became a central factor in his later work on economic development: the need for achievement, or what he called "n Achievement." Firmly committed to the most exacting experimental methods as well as to the pursuit of psychoanalytic insights, McClelland developed ingenious techniques for taking "psychic X-rays" of a given society's unconscious inclinations. These included methodical content analyses of folk stories and children's stories from around the world (in order to discern patterns of cultural fantasy and aspiration—a kind of projective test for the entire society), direct tests for n Achievement (via studies of mothers and sons in Germany, Japan, India, and Brazil), and
observation of the actual behavior of business entrepreneurs—who were assumed to embody the achieving ideal—in the United States, Turkey, Italy, and Poland.
McClelland assumed a straightforward cause-and-effect relationship between mothers' early expectations of sons, the development of a (male) entrepreneurial class, and levels of national economic development. Although he claimed that his model was not bound to any particular economic philosophy, and would predict growth rates equally well in capitalist and socialist economies, his concept of achievement certainly assumed a fundamentally competitive and acquisitive economic drive.
His assumptions about gender merited no such self-conscious commentary. Basically, if mothers' inculcated enough n Achievement, the country would prosper; if they did not, it would remain impoverished or even slip backwards into underdevelopment. The fact that girls and women were central economic actors, especially in subsistence-based, agrarian societies, was entirely invisible in this model of development. Women were considered important, but for the values they instilled, as mothers, in their young sons. According to McClelland, the childrearing style that produced the highest levels of n Achievement balanced warmth against high expectations and exhibited just the right amount of pressure to achieve: not too much and not too little. To the extent that political or economic forces were relevant in producing national achievement levels, they operated largely on mothers and their child-rearing practices. "The family as the nucleus of the social structure is a little like the nucleus of the atom; it is harder to influence by external events than one might expect."
After comparing various national economic growth rates with measures of n Achievement in 1925 and 1950, as well as examining historical cases as divergent as Spain in the Middle Ages, the Protestant Reformation, pre-Inca Peru, and the nineteenth-century United States, McClelland found that surges in n Achievement levels were consistently followed by spurts of productive economic activity, confirming his theory that psychological change was the motor of economic history. "What people want," he concluded, "they somehow manage to get. . . . These results serve to direct our attention as social scientists away from an exclusive concern with the external events in history to the 'internal' psychological concerns that in the long run determine what happens in history." At last, patterns of economic development could
be reliably predicted on the basis of measurable psychological factors: "The psychologist has now developed tools for finding out what a generation wants, better than it knows itself, and before it has had a chance of showing by its actions what it is after."
The policy implications of such awesome knowledge were very clear to Doob and McClelland. First, U.S. foreign aid geared to economic development really ought to target psychological development since the latter was both a fundamental and a measurable cause of economic growth. This simplified the policy-making process by turning it away from such elusive factors as agricultural efficiency and turning it toward those indicators with a demonstrable, empirical relationship to n Achievement. Second, the goal of aid should be to nurture and produce emotionally mature entrepreneurial elites who would then lead their countries toward economic growth and success. In this translation of psychology into public policy, old-fashioned development programs could still be useful, if considered in the new light of their psychological consequences. Birth control programs were, for McClelland, just one example. "One must obviously reduce the number of some kinds of people more than others, yet practically all birth-control policies ignore this problem entirely. No matter how few, the 'wrong' kind of people will not produce rapid economic development, nor will the 'right' people, no matter how many, block economic development. 'Right' and 'wrong' mean here, of course, more or less suited in motives and values to the task of economic development." McClelland was more than willing to testify before Congress about the deficiencies of the country's development assistance policies, many of which, in his view, suffered from reliance on the erroneous motivational assumptions of economists. "Behavioral science knowledge about human motivation," in contrast, "could have very concrete practical implications for U.S. aid policy. . . ." He recommended that all government programs of foreign assistance be carefully scrutinized for evidence of their "psychological multiplier effect" and U.S. investments restructured in favor of those which had demonstrated the biggest payoff in developing the "right" kinds of personalities and discouraging the "wrong" ones.
For its part, Congress seriously explored the psychological aspects of international relationships on several occasions in the mid- and late 1960s, facilitated by J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.), chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Fulbright, who had been one of the youngest university presidents in the country (appointed to head
the University of Arkansas at age thirty-four) before his entrance into electoral politics, was known for founding the program of international scholarly exchange that bears his name and also for sponsoring high-profile hearings on Vietnam, beginning in 1966, which were considered instrumental in turning public opinion against the war. He opened a 1969 hearing on "Psychological Aspects of Foreign Policy" by stating, "It is believed by many that wars begin in the minds of men. As a politician, I am inclined to view it that the mysteries of political behavior have their origin in the mysteries of the human mind, and yet an examination of the human mind in order to understand our own political behavior has not heretofore appealed to either the public or to political leaders. It may be we are frightened by the possibilities that might be revealed by some self-examination." Fulbright's hearings delved into topics ranging from communism's psychological appeal to the role of unconscious projection and need for love in U.S. foreign policy; they were designed to air "unorthodox approaches." Expert testimony was offered by Jerome Frank, Margaret Mead, Karl Menninger, and Charles Osgood, among others, who took advantage of the opportunities Fulbright offered to champion the usefulness of their insights but did not hesitate to scold Congress for its inadequate appreciation of mental and behavioral expertise. "Perhaps what psychiatrists have learned about establishing communication with a frightened, angry, and suspicious person may have some relevance," pointed out Jerome Frank about "Psychological Difficulties in Giving and Receiving Aid." Other testimony and written reports addressed "The Effect of Natural Drives on Communism and the Changes in Communism," the "Effect of 'Face' on Rigidity of Chinese Communism," and "Is the United States Acting Rationally?"