U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

ARI's History

ARI’s research lineage traces its earliest beginnings to the advent of military psychology and a meeting of experimental psychologists who gathered at Harvard University in 1917 to discuss how psychology and the application of its scientific methods could support national defense. In August 1917, the Secretary of War established, with ten psychologists, the Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army. The committee’s work was marked by notable achievements in developing tools and procedures for scientific enhancements in personnel management; to include personnel selection and classification, and performance tests.

ARI's organizational lineage is traced to the establishment of the Committee on Selection and Classification of Military Personnel at the start of World War II. The Adjutant General of the U.S. Army requested that the National Research Council create the committee as an advisory group on matters of Soldier selection and classification. The original committee members included many prominent psychologists of the day, such as Walter V. Bingham, C. L. Shartle, and L.L. Thurstone. During the post World War II period, research focused on personnel testing and test development, and expanded behavioral science research in the areas of training, human engineering, social psychology, and physiological psychology.

Today, ARI's Science and Technology (S&T) research is focused on developing innovative measures and methods to improve and enhance the Soldier lifecycle, conducting scientific assessments and providing behavioral and social science advice to inform human resource policies, and developing fundamental theories and investigating new domain areas in behavioral and social sciences with high potential impact on Army issues.