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Hooton Report on Grant Experiment Says 'Young Men, You Are Normal'

Findings Still Tentative for Normalcy at Harvard Study


As was pointed out in these columns several weeks ago, the Grant Study's contribution to the knowledge of man is continuous, for the Study is an institution, not a project. Early this month, a book by Earnest Aa Hooton, professor of Anthropology, will make the first major summing-up of Grant Study experiments.

"Young Man, You Are Normal," Professor Hooton calls his book; in it he describes the findings of the Grant Study of the Hygiene Department, which for the past six years has been making observations on the "normal" young man with funds from the Grant Foundation maintained by W. T. Grant, New York merchant. Professor Hooton did not participate in the study, and his account, which he has summarized for the press, is preliminary, non-technical, and written with the objectivity of an outsider look ing in.

The nature of the study, says Professor Hooton, is an investigation of the physiques, mentalities, temperaments, personality traits, and social backgrounds of "normal" Harvard undergraduates.

Two hundred and sixty-eight selected Harvard undergraduates were studied over a period of four academic years, though the work has been interrupted by the war. Some of the findings of the Study, as listed by Professor Hooton, show the following "usual but not invariable characteristics" of "normal" Harvard undergraduates:

1. Tendency to square, heavy-boned muscular builds: fewer skinny men than in total Harvard classes.

2. Medical histories show no particular susceptibilities or immunities. Health is about "average" for all Harvard College men.

3. Men studied come from all census regions of the United States about in proportion to their representation in the entire college. They come from families of all social and economic grades--poor and rich, cultured and uneducated. Nearly 70 per cent worked to help pay their way through college.

4. The group is highly intelligent: it stands at about the ninety-seventh percentile of the general population. It is not significantly more intelligent than the college at large, but steadier in tests.

5.Most common personality traits in this group are: "well-integrated," "pragmatic," "practical organizing," "sociable." However, personality trails greatly varied.

6. Nearly two-thirds of the "normal" men belong to no social club, and less than 20 per cent go in for such organized club activities as debating, dramatics, or journalism.

Working with these men through physical and psychological tests, and tracing back their family histories, the Grant Study arrived at conclusions published previously in the SERVICE NEWS which showed the personality differences between men of strong and weak physical masculinity.

Professor Hooton notes, finally, that the size of the Grant sample "is too small to permit the present findings to be regarded as anything more than suggestive and tentative. If the Study is continued and the series is enlarged, the result may well be an invaluable contribution to the knowledge of the whole man, the total human being.

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