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Historical background of organizational psycholinguistics:


The article analyzes the ideas and materials of the Twelfth Congress of the German Society of Psychology held in Hamburg in 1931 that included topics close to organizational psycholinguistics. It is noted that until 1929 psychologists in Germany were interested in the use of experimental psychology techniques in pedagogy and psychopathology, genius studies, criminal psychology, zoo-psychology and comparative psychology, as well as of psychiatric methods in psychological research in general. At the Congress in Hamburg, among the important tasks mentioned there were use of experimental psychological methods in pedagogy, psychotechnics of determining professional suitability, the problem of language picture of the world and its impact on the psychology of native speakers of a particular language. For the first time, a program of scientific discussions for psychologists included language problems (“language day”) which could be considered as the first page in the history of psycholinguistics in Germany of the twentieth century, as well as the first meeting of psychology, language
and the problem of professional suitability in the space of scientific discussions in a completely psychological environment, if these three topics had become a unified topic worthy of including in the arsenal of organizational psycholinguistics.

At the “Language Day” sessions there was the researcher of amnesic aphasia K. Goldstein (1878-1965), the author of the philosophy of symbolic forms E. Cassirer (1874-1945), one of the founders of the theory of language fields G. Ipsen (1899-1984), a young NeoHumboldtian leader L. Weisgerber (1899-1985), etc.) who outlined the state of modern German philosophy of language and its parameters such as the role of language as a medium of knowledge, linguistic determinism of human personality and human imagination, the world of human concepts, as well as the construction of objective consciousness through language structures; the relationship of language and the human community. However, these arguments were not yet introduced into the orbit of homo operans, a working person, his/her professional personality with specific psychological qualities and attitudes. At the same time, the problems of psychology and professional personality are closely linked in the Congress materials: they embrace pedagogical work and its psychological basis, reorganization of teacher  training in academies and technical institutes in order to replace professional psychologists with them.

As a result of discussions on the role of psychology in teacher training, a pedagogical section of the German society of psychology
was established. In addition, tasks of psychological training of an employee and his/her employer were set, although these arguments did not yet contain a clear emphasis on the role of language, especially the language of profession as a source of conclusions on a person’s qualification or the basis for such. At the same time, arguments about the ability of psychotechnics to determine professional suitability allow us to understand that language issues were not ignored by the participants of these discussions, creating a background for important conclusions about the relationship of language, psychology and professional characteristics as a desiderate.

The reports of the Congress investigate into the conflicts arising in the process of applying psychological techniques in the practice of economic life, the problems of the relationship of personality and labor in terms of its suitability (Eignung), the use of psychotechnics to determine the professional suitability of a pilot and a parachutist, the study of the “life curve” based not only on statistics, but also on studied individuals’ own statements and self-esteem (in particular, J. W. von Goethe), what again can be seen as the first experiment of attracting language as a factor to the analysis of a person’s professional success. In general, the materials of the XII Congress of the German Society of Psychology allow us to imagine a palette of psychologists’ topics and research interests in the Weimar Republic. They were undoubtedly influenced by the political and economic situation in the country and addressed for this reason problems of professional personality and psychological methods of determining its suitability. Familiarity with the reports of the Congress uncovers a careful inclusion of language topics in the psychological discussions which became subsequently the basis for the formation of NeoHumboldtian psychology of language.

Keywords: experimental psychology, German Society of Psychology, the Weimar Republic, organizational psycholinguistics connecting the team members with each other. This approach has heuristic potential for the theory of organizational psycholinguistics.

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