Mariano Yela Granizo: biography of this Spanish psychologist and philosopher.
A summary of the life of Mariano Yela, one of the most relevant figures of Psychology in Spain.
Mariano Yela is considered one of the most representative figures of psychology in Spain during the 20th century for being one of its promoters in this country, not to mention the extensive professional career developed.
This prolific psychologist since he was a child always stood out for his academic results, which allowed him to get a scholarship to train in various universities and prestigious institutions, is widely recognized as one of the 'institutionalizing fathers' of experimental psychology in Spain.
Yela has been one of the precursor psychologists in Spain of scientific psychology; to the detriment of a more philosophical psychology that predominated previously.
Hard work, tenacity, rigorousness and optimistic living were the values transmitted by the actions of psychologist and professor Yela to his students and contemporary colleagues. Here we will review his life trajectory through a biography of Mariano Yela. a biography of Mariano Yelain summarized format.
Brief biography of Mariano Yela (1921-1994)
Mariano Yela Granizo was born on March 2, 1921 in a neighborhood of Madrid, in the bosom of a humble and hard-working family whose trade was the metallurgical craftsmanship.
When Yela was 13 years old, he had his first contact with psychology due to some tests carried out by all the students of the school in order to find children with high intellectual capacities. This aroused much interest in him, so much so that he read a book by Terman related to this subject.
In 1941, after having spent some very hard years during the Spanish Civil War, he finished his high school studies with outstanding grades, which led him to win the extraordinary prize of his class at the San Isidro Institute. that led him to win the extraordinary prize of his class at the San Isidro Institute.
After graduating with a degree in Philosophy and Letters: USA and Europe
It is 1945 the year in which Mariano Yela finishes his Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and Letters, obtaining again the extraordinary prize of the promotion. This allows him to be granted a scholarship to continue his academic training in the United States.. There he studied under the tutelage of Thomas V. Moore and then Thurstone. In addition, his years there allowed him to soak in the most avant-garde psychometry of Cronbach, Cattell, Gulliksen and many others.
After returning to Europe, he continued his training in other countries such as England and Scotland, where he worked with Burt and Thomson, experimental psychologists and, later on, he worked at the Laboratory of Perceptual Psychology, he worked at the Laboratory of Perceptual Psychology.He was awarded an international prize for his research.
His return to Spain and consolidation of his career as a researcher.
Yela returns to Spain with the aim of rebuilding psychology in this country, together with José Germain, Jose Luis Pinillos and Miguel Siguán, the other three great psychologists who had been in Spain for many years.the other three great psychologists who, together with Mariano Yela, form the cast of "fathers of modern psychology" in Spain. These psychologists and researchers had the complicated mission of incorporating scientific psychology into the university. This would mean the beginning of a new profession.
During his years of research and training in foreign countries, Yela learned to develop an innovative style of working in psychology, characterized by rigor. This rigor consisted in to investigate with propriety and accuracy the concrete scientific hypotheses related to various constructs of psychology, specifying as much as possible their verbal formulations.and to be as specific as possible in his verbal formulations. Not surprisingly, in 1952 he won another extraordinary prize for his doctoral thesis based on the Factorial Theory of Intelligence.
He worked as assistant professor of cosmology and psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid between 1953 and 1957, to later obtain the Chair of General Psychology in 1957.
Regarding his private life, Mariano Yela was married and had 5 children, two of whom followed in their father's footsteps studying for a degree in psychology and later developed their professional careers as psychologists and researchers.
His most outstanding works
Mariano Yela's most outstanding contributions to psychology, among many others, were the introduction in his country of the fundamentals and techniques of factor analysis, his widely known notes on psychometrics and statistics, and the creation and adaptation to Spanish of approximately 200 tests and his Theory of Intelligence..
He wrote fourteen books on psychology, including "Studies on Intelligence and Language", "Psychology of Aptitudes", "Tests, Education and Freedom", "The Technique of Factor Analysis" and "Introduction to the Theory of Tests". In addition, he collaborated in another forty books and also published about two hundred and fifty papers in national and international journals.
His extensive professional career has left an imprint in multiple areas of psychology, in addition to various epistemological reflections on methodological and conceptual problems of scientific psychology.. His great philosophical, scientific and literary background moved him to investigate the most notorious problems of psychology and philosophy.
His vision of psychology was always reasoned and neither dichotomized nor scholastic. He always tried to treat his studies with rigor, being impartial with respect to the different currents of psychology and philosophy, demonstrating this in his approach to the popular dichotomies of thought and the study of the human being (e.g., personalism-situationism, body-mind, cognitivism-behaviorism, genetics-environment, realism-constructivism, basic-applied research, etc.).
He rigorously extracted the relevant aspects of each position and tried to integrate them into a common framework, based on experimental psychology.
His career as an academic
A fundamental principle in his values as a researcher, transmitted to his students for generations, consisted in starting from a theoretical base that studied the different psychological phenomena in detail and, from there, to use a rigorous methodology that would strengthen, as far as possible, the positive verification of his complicities. His vision of studying the human being by all possible ways to a great extent, fostered the development of applied psychology in Spain..
Testimonies of some of his students tell that his style of explaining the theoretical lessons during his classes was unique and unequalled. He expressed himself with a hoarse tone, with slow gestures and, anecdotally, it was said that he was capable of taking off his vest without first taking off his jacket while giving his master class.
Achievements and contributions to the research world
The work developed by Yela throughout his life was extensive and of great depth, whether professionally as a psychologist, academically as a professor or institutionally as a precursor of the promotion of science in Spain and, therefore, in its universities.
We can highlight some of his work as precursor of the many organizations and institutions related to psychology in Spain..
- He is one of the members who founded in 1948 the Department of Experimental Psychology of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
- In 1952 he was one of the organizers of the Spanish Society of Psychology.
- He also belonged to the group of organizing members of the National Institute of Psychology and Psychotechnology.
- In 1952 he helped to promote the first training center in his country, the School of Psychology and Psychotechnics of the University of Madrid.
- Together with Jose Luis Pinillos, he was part of the creation of an organization that promoted the inclusion of a new specialty in Psychology for the Degree in Philosophy and Letters at the Complutense University of Madrid.
- In 1973, when psychology was incorporated into the Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, Mariano Yela was also present.
- He was also present in 1975, when the first 5-year university curriculum was created.
- In 1980, he was part of the psychology professionals who transformed the Psychology Section of Somosaguas into the first Spanish Faculty of Psychology.
- At Somosaguas he created the Department of Experimental Psychology, of which he became director.
- He also directed the Department of Methodology of Behavioral Sciences until he retired in 1987, the same year in which he was appointed Professor Emeritus of the Complutense University of Madrid.
In the field of work and organizational psychology, he was the organizer of psychology departments in many companies and in several administrations.. In addition, in 1955 he was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Sociedad de Estudios y Asesoramientos; today known as Técnicos Especialistas Asociados (TEA). Between the 50's and 70's he carried out numerous tasks in the area of human resources (HR), such as orientation, selection tests and personnel training, among others.
In the area of educational psychology and school guidance he also did some work and also published articles related to this field.
With respect to clinical psychology, although he had a lesser trajectory, he is recognized as one of the precursors in Europe of the one of the precursors in Europe of Carl Rogers' psychotherapy..
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)