|Albert Hadley Cantril, Jr.|
16 June 1906|
Hyrum, Utah, U.S.
|Died||28 May 1969(aged 62)|
|Mavis L. Cantril|
Cantril made "major contributions in psychology of propaganda; public opinion research; applications of psychology and psychological research to national policy, international understanding, and communication; developmental psychology; psychology of social movements; measurement and scaling; humanistic psychology; the psychology of perception; and, basic to all of them, the analysis of human behavior from the transactional point of view." His influence is felt in education, law, philosophy, politics and psychiatry.
"Hadley Cantril, Princeton psychologist, is representative of most quantitative scholars of social influence who, while holding their political commitments close to the vest, nevertheless saw themselves clearly in the ranks of reformers loosely attached to the progressive movement.... Focus on social process and a psychological view of people put the academic scientists of society in a frame of mind to assume the polis languished chiefly because of inaction on the part of enlightened administrators.":74
Cantril was born in Hyrum, Utah in 1906 and first studied at Dartmouth College, graduating Bachelor of Science in 1928. He did graduate study in Munich and Berlin, then studied at Harvard graduating with Doctor of Philosophy in psychology in 1931. He was hired as an instructor by Dartmouth and joined the Princeton University faculty in 1936. The next year he became president of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis and one of the founding editors of Public Opinion Quarterly. Later be became chairman of the Princeton University Department of Psychology.
In 1940 he served as a consultant to the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.
Cantril's later psychological work included collaboration with Adelbert Ames, Jr. developing a transactional method for studying human perception, as well as other research in humanistic psychology.:389-90
Though trained as a psychologist, Cantril's most important work concerned the then-new topic of public opinion research. Influenced initially by the success of George Gallup and Elmo Roper during the 1936 presidential election, Cantril sought to apply their systematic polling technique to academic social psychology.:388 While Cantril was department chairman he became a presidential advisor:
Cantril's small-scale program at Princeton became more extensive in September 1940 when Nelson Rockefeller, FDR's Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, asked the Princeton psychologist to "set up mechanisms which would gauge public opinion in Latin America." In cooperation with Gallup, and with funds from the Office of Emergency Management, Cantril established an ostensibly independent research organization, American Social Surveys. He recruited his friend Leonard Doob, and another researcher Lloyd Free, to analyse Nazi propaganda coming into Latin America. Through Rockefeller's office, the results of Cantril's program were brought to the attention of FDR. The president asked Cantril to monitor public sentiment on avoiding war verses aiding Britain. Cantril duely kept tabs on views about aiding England and on the public's willingness to change U.S. neutrality laws in favor of Britain.
In 1942 Cantril conducted a small-sample survey of Vichy officials in Morocco, prior to Operation Torch, that revealed the intensity of the anti-British sentiment of the French forces there. This information influenced the disposition of forces during the operation, with American troops landing near Casablanca and mixed forces at Oran and Algiers.:389
In 1955 he and Lloyd Free founded the Institute for International Social Research (IISR). The IISR was often asked by United States government agencies to conduct small-sample public opinion polls in foreign countries. Notably, Cantril and Free conducted a poll of Cuba during 1960 demonstrating great support for Fidel Castro, which was overlooked during the presidential transition between Eisenhower and Kennedy and read only after the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco.
Cantril's most-cited work is The Pattern of Human Concerns, notable for the development of the self-anchoring scale (also known as "Cantril's Ladder"). Cantril and Free also first discovered the paradox that American voters tend to oppose "big government" in general while supporting many specific liberal social programs.
and a special consultant for the Office of the Coordinator of Inter- American Affairs
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