Robert Woodworth


Educated at Amherst, Harvard and Columbia, Robert Woodworth is best known for his S-O-R paradigm. In contrast to the behaviorist’s S-R (stimulus-response) model, Woodworth’s “dynamic psychology” insisted that the organism plays an important part in the process (S-O-R).

Although interested in cause-effect relationships, Woodworth noted that consciousness and other aspects of the individual were important for an understanding of how and why people behave as they do. For Woodworth, any model of behavior must include mechanism (how things are done) and drive (why things are done).

During WWI, Woodworth applied his ideas to the development of the Personal Data Sheet. Essentially the first large scale personality inventory, the PDS was used to predict the emotional stability of soldiers in combat.


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