Murray, H.A. What should psychologists do about psychoanalysis? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1940.

At college a bud of interest was nipped by Professor Munsterberg's approach. In the middle of his second lecture I began looking for the nearest exit. There was more bread (and fewer stones) in biology and chemistry, and afterwards in medicine. During my fourth year at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, while waiting for calls to deliver babies in Hell's Kitchen, I completed a modest study of 25 of my classmates, in which 40 anthropometric measures were correlated with 30 traits. Here I had the symphony of the endocrines in mind. Later, as an intern in a hospital, I spent more time than was considered proper for a surgeon, inquisitively seeking psychogenic factors in my patients. Whatever I succeeded in doing for some of them--the dope-fiend, the sword-swallower, the prostitute, the gangster--was more than repaid when, after leaving the hospital, they took me through their haunts in the underworld. This was psychology in the rough, but at least it prepared me for the similarity between downtown doings and uptown dreams.

During these years I was reading all that was recommended to me by a scholarly neurologist who swore by Herbert Spencer and the mechanistic rationalism of the French. My guide, being very much of a gentleman, warned me against Freud: "Freudian doctrines are, to my mind, nothing but a vomit of stercoracious verbiage. I regard them as the greatest psychologic phallusy of the age." I was ready, in less picturesque language, to agree with him after one attempt to follow Freud's vagaries of arbitrary speculation in The Interpretation of Dreams.

Then psychology was put aside, and did not come up again until I began to wonder, after several years of research in bio-chemistry and physiology, why some of the men with whom I was associated at the Rockefeller Institute clung so tenaciously to diametrically opposing views about the simplest phenomena. In the hope of shedding light on conceptual preferences as functions of personality, I sent out a long questionnaire to fifty creative thinkers (mostly scientists); and still puzzled, I took courses in philosophy with Professor Morris Cohen and late at Cambridge University with Professor Broad. But it was Jung's book Psychological Types, which, by providing a partial answer to my question, started me off in earnest toward psychology. There were, besides this, another book, a woman, some German music and several other fructifying impulses that made me feel and think at once, instead of separately (pp. 152-153).

Murray Resources

Design of MedallionHarrison, Pat. (2000). Who was Henry A. Murray? Radcliffe Quarterly, Fall 2000.

Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in personality: A clinical and experimental study of fifty men of college age. New York: Oxford University Press.

Robinson, F. G. (1992). Love's story told: A life of Henry A. Murray. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.