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Walter Dill Scott (May 1, 1869-1955) [1] was one of the first applied psychologists. He applied psychology to various business practices such as personnel selection and advertising.

Scott was born in rural Illinois near the town of Normal, IL. He lived on a farm until the age of 19 when he entered college. He wanted to become a missionary to China, but following his graduation, could not find a missionary position in China. He decided instead to go to Germany and study psychology with Wilhelm Wundt.

Soon after returning from Germany, while he was teaching at Northwestern University, he was approached by an advertising executive looking for ideas to make advertising more effective. He turned his attention to this area and composed the book The Theory and Practice of Advertising in 1903. In 1908, he published another book about that topic: "The Psychology of Advertising".

In 1917 Scott approached the army, offering to help them by applying psychological principles to personnel selection. Although some of his contacts were sceptical, they did decide to incorporate some of his methods and awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal.

Some of his personnel selection methods included tests to measure certain desirable characteristics and rating scales to rate applicants on necessary skills and attributes (appearnance, demeanor, neatness, judgement, accuracy).

Scott Hall at Northwestern University is named for Walter and his wife Anna Miller Scott.

Preceded by:
J.W. Baird
Walter Dill Scott elected APA President
Succeeded by:
Shepherd Ivory Franz

See also[]



  • Scott, W.D. (19??) Increasing Human Efficiency in Business, a contribution to the psychology of business. [Full text]

Book Chapters[]



External links[]

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