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I had to
be careful, not to convey this to the other professors of the department, you know, to the
point where it became a problem for them.
So while I was at Columbia, my problem was to get the PhD. And I did a dissertation that
was pure social psychology, on social factors affecting recall, memory, you know. This was
a curious compromise between my social concerns and their view of scholarship, and it was
accepted and was evaluated as sufficient to have my elected into Sigma Xi.
But as soon as I got the PhD, I got involved in social action, and certainly the research
that Mamie and I did on racial preferences of Negro children was a good, solid bit of
social research, except it also had very clear social change implications.
The work with Gunnar Myrdal reinforced this, you know: My incorrigible need to meld
disciplined training in social sciences and social psychology with the problems of social
change, social justice, etc.
Well, given this inescapable fact about myself, and given my awareness that this was
risky -- I mean, the fact that psychology, as a science and as a discipline, has kind of a
built-in inferiority complex, and psychologists, up to the very present, I think (although
it's changing somewhat) tend to bend over backwards in eqating social irrelevance with
scientific purity, and where the whole area of applied psychology was sort of kept, and
particularly when I was younger, applied psychologists -- including even industrial
psychologists, who were making money being the handmaiden
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