William McDougall

(1871—1938) psychologist

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British social psychologist teaching at Cambridge and Oxford. He was recruited by Alfred Haddon to serve on the anthropological expedition to the Torres Straits. He moved to the United States in 1920, teaching at Harvard (at the invitation of William James) until 1928 and then moving to Duke University. He published An Introduction to Social Psychology (1908) and Theories of Action (1919) before producing his most famous work on The Group Mind (1920). This was no metaphysical idea but was a recognition of what Durkheim referred to as collective representations and was much influenced by the folk psychology of Wilhelm Wundt. It stressed the importance of the cultural construction of personality and the need to study national character. McDougall was interested in Freudian ideas, which he sought to integrate with instinctual responses in his own theory of emotions (see also Psychoanalysis and Social Psychology, 1936).

Subjects: Philosophy.

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