Military Psychology

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Military Psychology


the branch of psychology that studies psychological problems arising in the training of military personnel and the waging of war. It was begun as a separate discipline in the early 20th century in connection with the mass study of the personnel composition of the army with a view to its selection, training, and placement. The theoretical concepts of military psychology in different coun-tries are determined by their dependence on prevailing ideology and philosophical and psychological views. However, some problems are common to military psychology in all countries.

After World War II (1939-45), research in military psychology increased sharply, especially in the USA, where it is conducted by military organizations under the direction of appropriate administrations under the staffs of the air-force, navy, and ground forces, as well as by contract with various psychological institutes and specialized corporations. A tendency toward coordinating and unifying research on military psychology is noticeable within the NATO bloc.

Among the problems researched by military psychology are the study of the functioning of the sense organs under specific conditions (for example, in an airplane or submarine, under conditions of extreme fatigue, and at night) and the search for a means of increasing the effectiveness of perception. Military psychology also tries to work out psychological principles for military training, and it analyzes management of combat materiel and orientation in space. It seeks to establish psychological criteria for the selection of personnel for combat arms and special assignments, and it does research on the distinctive thought processes of officers of all ranks. Military psychology studies the relations between commanders and subordinates and interrelations in small groups (the crews of tanks, airplanes, and submarines). It develops methods of propaganda and counterpropaganda under the conditions of psychological warfare, and it prepares data for the automated command of troops. In research on military psychology, a special place belongs to the study of the effect of stress on human psychological processes, actions, and behavior.


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