Walter Dill Scott
1 de mayo de 1869 - 23 de septiembre de 1955
Psychologist & Former Professor of Advertising and Psychology, Northwestern University; Founder & Former President, The Scott Company.
Walter Scott was a pioneer in the field of advertising education and one of the first scholars to apply psychology to the art of creating advertisements.
Scott first became involved in advertising as a professor of psychology at Northwestern University. In 1909 his interests in the methodologies of and meaning behind advertising led him to become the world's first professor in the field. Throughout his academic career, Scott wrote many books and articles on the subject of psychology in advertising. His most famous are the Psychology of Advertising, Theory of Advertising and the Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice. These texts soon became classics in the world of advertising education. He was also the founder and first president of the Association of University Professors of Advertising. His academic career reached its peak when he became the president of Northwestern University in 1920.
Scott's integration of science into the world of advertising stands as one of his greatest contributions to the industry. As early as 1901 he preached the importance of applying psychological theories to advertising to achieve a better understanding of the art while simultaneously improving its effectiveness. In 1912 he founded and presided over the Scott Company, a consulting firm that used psychological methods to solve practical business problems. From 1919 to 1920 he was the director of the division of psychology and anthropology of the National Research Journal and also served as the president of the American Psychological Association. Regarding the significance of Scott's application of psychology to advertising, E.K. Strong said, "Scott was an applied psychologist, interested in solving practical problems rather than developing psychological theory. He may properly be called the father of applied psychology for no one else applied psychology to such a variety of business problems as he did and at so early a date.
Walter Dill Scott (1869-1955) was one of the first applied psychologists. He applied psychology to various business practices such as personnel selection and advertising.
Scott was born in Cooksville, Illinois near the town of Normal, Illinois. He lived on a farm until the age of 19 when he entered Illinois State Normal University. 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. While there, he received his Doctor of Philosophy in psychology and education in 1900 from Leipzig University.
In 1900 he was appointed instructor of psychology and education and director of the psychological laboratory at Northwestern University. In 1905, Dr. Scott was made professor of psychology and head of the department of psychology. In 1909, he was appointed professor of advertising in the School of Commerce at Northwestern University and in 1912, professor of applied psychology in the School of Commerce.
Soon after returning from Germany, while he was teaching at Northwestern University, we 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 Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice 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 skeptical, 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 (appearance, demeanor, neatness, judgment, accuracy).
During 1919-1920, he was president of the American Psychological Association. In 1920, he was elected president of Northwestern University and served until 1939. In 1933, he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor by the French Government for his contributions to education and the Goethe Plaque by the German Government "in recognition of Northwestern University's impressive celebration of Goethe's anniversary".
Scott Hall at Northwestern University is named for Walter and his wife Anna Miller Scott.
He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Phi Omega.