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Recovery and industrial fatigue

The historical development of I/O psychology was paralleled in the US, the UK,[8] Australia, Germany, the Netherlands,[9] and eastern European countries such as Romania.[10] The roots of I/O psychology trace back nearly to the beginning of psychology as a science, when Wilhelm Wundt founded one of the first psychological laboratories in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany. In the mid 1880s, Wundt trained two psychologists, Hugo Münsterberg and James McKeen Cattell, who had a major influence on the emergence of I/O psychology.[11]

Instead of viewing performance differences as human “errors”, Cattell was one of the first to recognize the importance of differences among individuals as a way of better understanding work behavior. Walter Dill Scott, who was a contemporary of Cattell, was elected President of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1919, was arguably the most prominent I/O psychologist of his time. Scott, along with Walter Van Dyke Bingham, worked at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, developing methods for selecting and training sales personnel.[12]

The “industrial” side of I/O psychology originated in research on individual differences, assessment, and the prediction of work performance. Industrial psychology crystallized during World War I, in response to the need to rapidly assign new troops to duty. Scott and Bingham volunteered to help with the testing and placement of more than a million army recruits. In 1917, together with other prominent psychologists, they adapted a well-known intelligence test the Stanford–Binet, which was designed for testing one individual at a time, to make it suitable for group testing. The new test was called the Army Alpha.[citation needed]

After the War, the growing industrial base in the US was a source of momentum for what was then called industrial psychology.[citation needed] Private industry set out to emulate the successful testing of army personnel.[citation needed] Mental ability testing soon became commonplace in the work setting.