Summary of The Activities of the Psychology Division



This CIA declassified document was recovered from the internet archive. It was declassified in 2004. This document goes over the various activities and plans being engaged upon to carry out Psychological Warfare – both at home and abroad.


“On the accompanying orientation chart the populace with its complex social structure and psychology is indicated by a center circle. The conditions that affect the morale of a group are indicated on the left. The appraisal of the military, economic, social and political conditions is not the central interest of the social psychologist except insofar as they affect individuals directly. The effect of these conditions on the populace results in certain expressions of the people as indicated by the 17 types of items at the right of the chart. These expressions define the national morale of a people and it is the main job of the social psychologist to collect and evaluate facts about them on strategic foreign countries. …”



“Special psychological problems. We are conducting and plan to do further work on a number of special psychological problems dealing with certain characteristics of foreign peoples. These questions are as follows: 1. The social situations that produce panic in different peoples and the form that panic takes. One such study is under way. 2. The appeals to which persons in important social groups respond as revealed by a systematic study of contemporary popular literature, speeches, leaders’ characteristics, music, aesthetic content, etc. 3. The social sensitivies and modes of releasing them as revealed by characteristics of humor, fads, etc. 4. Common modes of solving conflicts and frustrations as revealed by neurotic and psychopathic patterns. 5. Unique social sentiments in strong emotional situations, such as birth, marriage, death. 6. The characteristics of rumor-spreading. One study in collaboration with Mr. Potter, the OFF, and the Office of Education is now being planned. ”


Document details

DATE: January 24, 1942


NAMES mentioned:

  • Mr. Tryon – Robert Choate Tryon, Psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley; part of planning for the Psychology Division in 1941; later in R&A Branch. The R&A (Research and Analysis) Branch was initially led in 1942 by Dr. James Phinney Baxter III (President of Williams College) and then later by Harvard historian Dr. William Langer in 1943. Tryon also began work as a “behaviour geneticist” in 1942 while working for the OSS. He experimented on rats to see if skill in maze-solving could be passed on to offspring. {Ref} – Introduction to Psychology
*See Alternate History of Dianetics – Roaring 40’s second part for more on Tryon and Geoffrey GorerBritish born, “anthropological researcher” of Yale’s Institute of Human Relations,  and Time magazine in 1944 documented that he was doing secret research in Washington for the British Government.
*See Time Magazine, August 07, 1944 – Science: Why are Japs, Japs?
  • Dr. James Phinney Baxter III (President of Williams College) and current head of R&A branch.
  • Professor Gordon Allport of Harvard – established a committee which is to direct the work of a number of
    psychologists in various universities on some of these problems.
  • Mr. Potter – Analysis of Rumors in collaboration with the OFF and the Office of Education.
    • *OFF = Office of Facts and Figures (U.S. government)
  • Mr. Young of the CID – Calendar of confirmed events assumed to affect Morale.  (CID= army Criminal Investigation Division)
  • Dr. Langer – sent a copy of report.


Robert Choate Tryon



James Phinney Baxter III

Professor Gordon AllportJames Phinney Baxter III - OSS R and A head 1942


William L. Langer



Document Images and PDF files


For those who don’t know – OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and when that is done on images, it makes it so you can search the images for certain words or phrases that you are looking for.

Here is an OCR’d PDF file of all the pages of this document.

Summary of the activities of the Psychology Division


Following are the individual images of the document, for those who prefer to look at them that way.

(click to enlarge)


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