Moreno, Jacob L.

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MORENO, JACOB L. (1892–1974), U.S. social scientist. Born in Bucharest, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1927. He taught at New York University from 1952 to 1960 and was the founder of the Sociometric Institute and the Theater for Psychodrama. He edited the International Journal of Sociometry, Group Psychiatry, and Group Psychotherapy and Sociodrama. Moreno initiated the sociometric method in the social sciences. Sociometry assumes that societies have, besides a formal structure, an informal and emotionally based depth-structure of human relations, connecting the individual with other individuals. These relations can be made evident by appropriate methods. Among the techniques Moreno introduced for this purpose were the sociometric test, the sociogram, the interaction diagram, the locogram, and the sociomatrix. These techniques lead to group-therapeutic approaches, especially in "psycho-drama" and "sociodrama." In these, the conventional doctor-patient relationship is replaced by acting in which the participants purge themselves through reliving and acting out their experience. These methods have been applied in a variety of situations, especially in schools, industries, and armies.

Major publications of Moreno, apart from a great many papers and monographs, are Das Stegreiftheater (1924; The Theater of Spontaneity, tr. by the author, 1947); Who Shall Survive? (1934, rev. ed. 1953); Sociometry, Experimental Method and the Science of Society (1951); The First Psychodramatic Family (1964); and Discovery of Spontaneous Man (1965).

[Werner J. Cahnman]