Jim Rebar
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An Update of Landy's (1997) Psychology Family Tree

Jeff Cucina and Fresia Jackson

Note. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Federal Government. 

An important aspect of the history of I-O psychology is our academic lineage.  Much of our field’s knowledge and training is transferred through teaching and academic mentorship.  Most SIOP members entered the field of I-O psychology by studying under another I-O psychologist during graduate school.  Nearly 20 years ago, Frank Landy(1997) published his final version of the I-O family tree (previous versions were published in 1991 and 1992).  Landy (1997) focused his tree on the lineage of SIOP past presidents and his tree traces their lineage all the way back to William Wundt who established the first laboratory for psychology and is known as the father of psychology.

There have been 21 new SIOP presidents since Landy’s (1997) last published tree.  At the suggestion of Paul Thayerand Past President Steve Kozlowski, we have updated Landy’s tree so that it now includes these additional 21presidents.  We added new presidents to the tree using information from personal communications, published biographies and obituaries, databases, and a lot of interlibrary loan requests for copies of dissertations.  The databases we used were PhdTree.org and ProQuest Dissertation Express.  Both of these databases report the advisors for most recent PhD graduates and PhDTree.org reports it for many major research figures.  Similar to Landy, when updating the tree, we focused on official dissertation chairs for each individual.  However, if there was an indication that another professor was more appropriate (e.g., if the major advisor was on leave at the time of the dissertation defense or passed away) we listed that individual on the tree instead. 

The trees are shown in Figure 1.  A PowerPoint version of the trees has been uploaded to the SIOP Virtual Museum (http://www.siop.org/Museum/IO_Family_Tree.aspx). We created the PowerPoint version so that you can download the tree and add yourself to it (if you so desire) and to make it easier for future SIOP Historians to update the tree as new presidents assume office.

Several new branches have been added to the tree since Landy’s (1997) last update.  For example, Morton McPhail’slineage leads to Theodore Newcombe who had two mentors, one of whom leads back to Wundt via new branch involving Kulpe (a student of Wundt).  James McKeen Cattell’s branch has been expanded and now takes up two panels.  Of the 21 new presidents, eight lie on Cattell’s tree; all eight trace their lineage through E.L. Thorndike (who incidentally is the first author’s great-great-grand advisor).  

A new subbranch has been added for William James whose descendants now include Fritz Drasgow and William Macey.  This subbranch also adds psychology luminaries John B. Watson (of Little Albert fame), John Dewey, Stanley Hall, and Robert Yerkes to the I-O family tree.

Landy (1997) noted that his trees showed “no clear ‘royal line’” for SIOP presidents (p. 28).  The same can be said for our updated trees.  However, C. J. Bartlett and Harold Burtt mentored more SIOP presidents, four each, than anyone else on the tree.  Their lines also include an additional three and two presidents, respectively.  Marvin Dunnette’s line also has a large number of presidents (a total of six).

Perhaps the most interesting lineage, and the most difficult for us to trace, is that of Michael Burke.  His advisor, Nambury Raju, received a master’s in I-O psychology from Purdue and then went on to receive a PhD in Mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) before taking a teaching position in the IIT Department of Psychology.  Raju’s master’s thesis advisor was Ernest McCormick, and we note that on the tree.  Raju’s dissertation advisor was Leon Bernstein, who received his PhD in either 1940 or 1941 in Mathematics from the State University of Vilnius in Lithuania.  It was a turbulent time for Vilnius as the traditionally Lithuanian city was invaded by the Soviets and turned back over to Lithuania in 1939. Just one year later, in 1940, it was annexed back by the Soviets only to be invaded by the Nazis in 1941.  The university suffered during these years; all students and faculty were dismissed in 1939 after Lithuania regained control from Polish administrators.  The Nazis restricted the universities activities and eventually turned it into a military base.  Many students and professors perished during these years; some of those who were living were forced to form underground universities to continue their studies1 According to one of his students (Claude Levesque personal communication April 12, 2016), Bernstein’s dissertation advisor was a law professor named Vaclovas Biržiška who held a law degree but not a PhD.  This is unique but not surprising given the circumstances.  Thus this branch of the tree ends with Biržiška. 

Nearly 2 decades, and 21 presidents, after the most recent SIOP family tree was assembled, the diversity of academic lineages remains unchanged.   We continue to find several lineages with varied specializations, from music to math, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of I-O psychology and its thought leaders.  That being said, rare powerhouse lineages that continue to influence the field were identified and recognized.  Through the new PowerPoint file, we hope it is easier for the family tree to be continually updated and maintained.  We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years have in store.  


Landy, F.J.  (1991).  The I-O family tree.  The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 29(2), 31-34.

Landy, F.J. (1992). Hugo Münsterberg: Victim or visionary? Journal of Applied Psychology77(6), 787-802.

Landy, F.J.  (1997).  The family tree.  The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 34(3), 28-36.

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