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Book Review of Personality, Its Study and Hygiene by Winifred V. Richmond
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Book Review of Personality, Its Study and Hygiene by Winifred V. Richmond
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In this ungraded review for Davis's Religious Development of Personality course, King discusses
his positive reactions to the theories of Sigmund Freud and John Watson.1 He notes that
"this is the first time that I was able to read the psychologies of Freud and John Watson
with a degree of objectivity" and admits that "I have been somewhat converted to many of
their theories." Davis remarked: "This is an excellent review. It is exactly the type I desire.
It shows a basic understanding of the volume and your reactions to it. The questions you
raise concerning personality development can be asked about any area of psychological
inquiry. Have you ever explored the field of `learning'?"

Personality, Its Study and Hygiene, by Winifred V. Richmond, New York, Farrar & Rinehart, 1937
After reading about two hundred pages of Gardner Murphy's definitive work on personality, I
turned to this work by Winifred Richmond with the sole purpose of clarifying some of the complex ideas
and terminology found in the former work.2 After reading a few pages of Richmond's work I became so
enamored of it that I read the whole book. I guess I had certain predilections for Richmond's book
because of the simplified manner in which it was presented. Richmond has the rare ability of taking the
basic theories of psychological research and presented them in a manner readable to the laymen.3 The
work by Gardner Murphy, although elaborate and probably the most authoritative work in the field of
personality, is written for the expert not the laymen. I was somewhat attracted by his chapter on "Heredity
and Individual Growth," but other than that I was often lost behind the dim fog of psychological obscurities.
(Am I just dumb)4
One of the greatest influences that Richmond's book made on me was the deeper insight it gave
me into psychological theories that I heretofore scorned. Richmond does a marvelous job in presenting the
variour theories of personality development, and although he never sets forth his personal theory, he is
quite convincing. For an instance, this is the first time that I was able to read the psychologies of Freud
and John Watson with a degree of objectivity. I had read Joshua Liebman's Peace of Mind,5 and even he
was unable to convince me that there was any truth in Freud.6 But now I am convinced. It is probably true
to say that the basic facts of Freud and Watson are correct, notwithstanding the fact that their bais had
conditioned what they observed. I am now willing to admit that they discovered new continents and new
areas that had for centuries been overlooked. No one can observe human personality objectively without
admitting the truth of many Freudian and Watsonian theories. (Most of us read them with a religious bias
as I did in years gone by). I could point out many examples, too numerous to cite in this brief review, of
personality traits which are quite in accord with Freudian and Watsonian analysis. This is not to imply that
my reading of this book has caused me to accept all of Freud and all of Watson. (I am to much of a
religionist for that) I think that much in Freud and Watson which seems to be facts will turn out on
examination to be interpretations. Moreover, I am perfectly willing to admit that Freud and Watson didn't
go far enough. For an instance, Watson comes to some amazing facts in describing the patterns of
behavior of a human organism, but to say that this is describing the person himself is to me a one sided
generalization.7 Man transcends his behavior, if for no other reason than the [strikeout illegible] fact that
he knows what he is doing. No matter how completely men succeed in describing all of the patterns of
change in the human nervous system, there will remain completely untouched another process which may
be called mind or consciousness or the self, and which can be observed only by introspection. This Watson
would not accept and similar generalizations can be found in Freud.
From the above discussion one is likely to get the impression that Richmond only adduced the
theories of Freud and Watson in personality development. This is by no means the case, but it so happens
that my previous disdain for Freud and Watson causes me to spend more time on them. (especially since I
have been somewhat converted to many of their theories) Jung and AdlerAlfred Adler (1870-1937) began
the school of individual psychology. Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) developed what he called analytic
psychology (Zusne, Names in the History of Psychology, pp. 282-283, 320-321). were given quite a bit
of attention in Richmond's book, but it so happens that I have always has certain predilections for their
theories over against those of Freud and Watson, for this reason I have not said much about them.
As I came to the end of Richmond's book many questions pertaining to the validity of
psychological analysis arose in my mind. What theory of personality development is correct? Can
psychology be an objective science? These questions inevitably arise because of the diverse theories of
personality development. There are at least four different schools of modern psychology with totally
different approaches to the problem of personality development, and even some psychologists within the
same school differ among themselves. For an instance, Adler, Jung and Freud have totally different
approaches to psychoanalysis, albeit they are within the same school. May we not conclude that we have
a long way to go in this whole area of the psychological analysis of personality development.

THD. MLKP-MBU: Box 115, folder 30.

1. John Broadus Watson (1878-1958) began a new school of psychology, behaviorism, with his 1913
article entitled "Psychology as a Behaviorist Views It." For Watson, psychology was an experimental,
objective science with behavior prediction and control as its goal (Leonard Zusne, Names in the History
of Psychology: A Biographical Sourcebook [New York: Hemisphere, 1975], pp. 334-336).

2. Gardner Murphy, Personality: A Biosocial Approach to Origins and Structure (New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1947).

3. Davis wrote in the margin, "Very interesting comment."

4. Davis answered, "I think not."

5. Joshua Loth Liebman, Peace of Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1946).

6. Davis remarked, "That's something."

7. Davis wrote, "I agree."

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