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A Biography of George K. Bennett

by Kim Johnson
University of South Florida
May 2016

George Kettner Bennett was born in 1904. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1935, working under Clark L. Hull. He began working for The Psychological Corporation in 1936 as Director of the Test Division. He became president of The Psychological Corporation in 1947. During World War II, Bennett served as a member of the Applied Psychology Panel of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Bennett’s primary interests were in the area of testing. He published work regarding the construction and validation of selection tests, testing and privacy rights, and the best implementation of employment tests. He also researched measures testing scientific aptitude and the design of automatic communication devices.

While working at The Psychology Corporation, Bennett developed the Differential Aptitude Tests, which is a series of aptitude tests designed to measure a person’s ability to learn and achieve in different areas. He also developed the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test, an assessment tool for measuring a candidate’s ability to perceive and understand the relationship between physical forces and mechanical principles in applied situations. He also produced many other tests in such areas as hand-tool dexterity, productive thinking, and college readiness.

Bennett was an APA fellow, President of the New York State Psychological Association, Vice-Chairman of the Division of Anthropology and Psychology of the National Research Council. For two years he served as Secretary of Section D in the AAAP. In 1947, George Bennett was elected as the third president of what is now the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Bennet was the first and one of the few SIOP presidents who never worked in academia. In the later years of his career he focused much of his attention on the growth in the field of industrial psychology since the second World War, and the direction in which research and practice were going regarding industrial psychology. At his presidential address for Division 14 he discussed the growing interest in industrial psychology and stressed the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity for expansion. George Bennett died in 1975.

References

Benjamin, L.T., Jr. (October 1997). The Early Presidents of Division 14: 1945- 1954. The Industrial Psychologist. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/tip/backissues/tipoct97/BENJAM~1.aspx.

Bennett, G. K. (1948). A new era in business and industrial psychology. Personnel Psychology, 1, 473–477.