Who is Carl Hovland?

Who is Carl Hovland?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Carl Hovland KiCarl Hovland was an American psychologist who lived from June 12, 1912 to April 16, 1961.

Hovland, who pioneered studies on social communication and attitude and belief change, became a faculty member at Yale University in 1936 after completing his doctorate.

He previously conducted experimental psychology studies on conditioned response and human learning, and between 1942-1945, when he worked at the US Department of War, he conducted research on the extent to which educational films and propaganda news programs affect the audience, especially the audience’s resistance to effective communication and the methods of breaking this resistance. The results of these studies formed the basis of the compilation Experiments on Mass Communication (1949).

II. Returning to Yale after World War II, Hovland served as the head of the psychology department at this school (1945-51), and was also appointed to the Sterling Chair there as psychology professor.

He focused his studies on attitude and communication on two elements that play an important role in effective communication to achieve the desired result. These are the social prestige of the message sender and the order of presentation of the views that make up the message.

The results of these studies were included in Communication and Persuasion (1953; ed. 1961,1. with L. Janiş and H. H. Kelley; Communication and Persuasion) and in various monographs published later. As a result of these researches, Hovland turned to work with the aim of analyzing symbolic processes and simulating human thinking processes through computer.

Carl Hovland

II. During World War II, Hovland, who worked in the intelligence and education department of the Ministry of War, directed research for four years between 1942-1945 aimed at examining the social and psychological factors affecting the morale of soldiers in the event of war.

He focused his studies on the motivational effect of training and training programs on soldiers. He became famous for his work investigating the effects of unilateral or different interpretations of a news or event on soldiers.

Contrary to what the Nazi propaganda experts suggested, he revealed that presenting different viewpoints together facilitated communication and made it more effective.

In the last years of his life, he focused on the analysis of symbolic processes as a result of his research on verbal concepts and decision-making mechanisms.

Hovland, who pioneered the development of a new field of research such as the imitation of human thinking processes in the computer system, argued that it would be beneficial to use the developments in mathematics and computer technology to develop the human sciences.

Hovland, who gave successful examples that researches with different orientations can complement each other in social sciences, influenced the development of many psychologists with his working method that enabled the active participation of his students.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Is it my Open Education Philosophy Textbook?