Jacob L Moreno

Moreno, Jacob L


Born May 20, 1892, in Bucharest, Rumania. Social psychologist and psychiatrist. Founder of sociometry.

Moreno graduated from the University of Vienna, where he studied philosophy and medicine. He worked in psychiatric clinics and institutes in Austria and, since 1927, the USA. Moreno was the founder (1936) and physician in charge (until 1968) of the Beacon Hill Sanatorium (now the Moreno Sanatorium), founder of the journals Sociometry (1937) and International Journal of Sociometry (1956) and of the Sociometric and Psychodramatic Institute (1940; now the Moreno Institute), and a professor at New York University (1951–66).

Trained in psychoanalysis and Gestalt psychology, Moreno studied the psychological interrelationships of people in small groups. He proceeded from the proposition that, in addition to the macrostructure of society, which is studied by sociologists, there exists an internal, informal microstructure formed from the interaction of individual inclinations, attractions, and repulsions, for the investigation of which he proposed a sociometric test. Its results are represented graphically by the sociogram, which visually presents the relationships in a group. According to Moreno, when the external, formal structure of the group does not correspond to the internal one, neuroses and conflicts arise. In order to diagnose and treat these neuroses and conflicts, Moreno proposed the sociodrama and the psychodrama, which received wide currency in social psychology and psychiatry.

The use of sociometric methods leads to practical results: increased productivity, mitigation of conflicts, and treatment of neuroses. However, in his theoretical constructs, Moreno absolutizes the role of psychological relations and wrongfully applies conclusions obtained from small, socially homogeneous groups to society at large. Moreno’s claims to curing the defects of capitalism are Utopian because he ignores the objective nature of antagonisms in capitalist society.


Sociometry and the Cultural Order. [New York] 1943.
Sociodrama: A Method for the Analysis of Social Conflict. New York [1944].
Who Shall Survive?, 2nd ed. Beacon (N. Y.), 1953.
Sociometry and the Science of Man. New York, 1956.
Sociometry Reader. New York, 1960.
Psychodrama, 3 vols. New York, 1959–69.
In Russian translation:
Sotsiometriia: Eksperimental’nyi metod i nauka ob obshchestve. Moscow, 1958.