Reflections on “Psychotechnics”

Measuring Lives in the Beginnings of Psychology in Brazil




History of Psychology, Psychotechnics, Henri Piéron, Roberto Mange, Cultural History


In this article, I discuss the genesis of psychotechnics in Brazil, from 1920 to 1950, starting from narratives about the history of psychology and analyzing, in a comparative way, three psychotechnics courses held in the city of São Paulo. Although these courses respond to local projects aimed at industry and education, our analysis reveals that they also express the materialization of a global project, built on statistical tools, standardized equipment and international circulation of texts and intellectuals. Measuring human activities was in the core of the public recognition of Psychology as a field of knowledge. The critical review of this history is important in order to understand how Psychology took part in building our current way of life. Moreover, understanding this movement within the field can help psychologists today in their work to reduce suffering, but also to change this rationalized state of things, responsible for the suffering production. Such changes imply refusing consolidated models for thinking and research in Psychology, in favor of more interdisciplinary and critical approaches.

Author Biography

Luciana Dadico, Department of Psychology, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso and Research Program in Cultural Studies, Universidade de São Paulo

Dr. Luciana Dadico is currently professor at the Department of Psychology of the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Brazil, teaching also at the Research Program in Cultural Studies of the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. She received her PhD in Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, after a period as visiting scholar at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Dadico developed postdoctoral studies at the Program in Critical Theory – University of California, Berkeley, under the guidance of the Emeritus Professor Martin E. Jay. She is bachelor both in Psychology and Philosophy. Along her career, she was awarded with many grants from Italian and Brazilian agencies for research. Her publications include themes and areas such as Critical Theory of Society, Social and Educational Psychology, Gender Studies, Cultural History, History of Psychology, Literature, Reading and Digital Humanities.




How to Cite

Dadico, L. (2021). Reflections on “Psychotechnics”: Measuring Lives in the Beginnings of Psychology in Brazil. International Review of Theoretical Psychologies, 1(2).



Subjectivities, acceleration and applied psychology