The Invasion from Mars

The Invasion from Mars

HADLEY CANTRIL
Hazel Gaudet
Herta Herzog
Copyright Date: 1940
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7ztk4f
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  • Book Info
    The Invasion from Mars
    Book Description:

    Hadley Cantril's study was launched immediately after the broadcast to give an account of people's reactions and an answer to the question, Why the panic? Originally published by Princeton University Press in 1940, the book explores the latent anxieties that lead to mass hysteria.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5283-3
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. PREFACE (1966)
    (pp. vi-viii)
    Hadley Cantril
  4. PREFACE (1940)
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER I ‟Incredible As It May Seem” THE BROADCAST
    (pp. 3-44)
    Howard Koch

    AT EIGHT P.M. eastern standard time on the evening of October 30, 1938, Orson Welles with an innocent little group of actors took his place before the microphone in a New York studio of the Columbia Broadcasting System. He carried with him Howard Koch’s freely adapted version of H. G. Wells’s imaginative novel,War of the Worlds. He also brought to the scene his unusual dramatic talent. With script and talent the actors hoped to entertain their listeners for an hour with an incredible, old-fashioned story appropriate for Hallowe’en.

    Much to their surprise the actors learned that the series of...

  6. CHAPTER II ‟It Was Something Terrible” THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE PANIC
    (pp. 47-64)

    LONG before the broadcast had ended, people all over the United States were praying, crying, fleeing frantically to escape death from the Martians. Some ran to rescue loved ones. Others telephoned farewells or warnings, hurried to inform neighbors, sought information from newspapers or radio stations, summoned ambulances and police cars. At least six million people heard the broadcast. At least a million of them were frightened or disturbed.¹

    For weeks after the broadcast, newspapers carried human-interest stories relating the shock and terror of local citizens. Men and women throughout the country could have described their feelings and reactions on that...

  7. CHAPTER III ‟It Didn’t Sound Like a Play” HOW THE STIMULUS WAS EXPERIENCED
    (pp. 67-84)

    NO OTHER broadcast has produced a panic comparable to the one which found several million American families all over the country gathered around their radios listening to reports of an invasion from Mars. These reports were brought to them over a national network from New York City, our greatest metropolis, where people should know what is going on. Both the form and the content of the broadcast seemed authentic. As one listener put it “I just naturally thought it was real. Why shouldn’t I?”

    Even this program did not affect more than a small minority of the listeners. If we...

  8. CHAPTER IV ‟We’d Better Do Something” DESCRIPTION OF REACTIONS
    (pp. 87-108)

    IN SPITE of the fact that many persons tuned in late to hear this very realistic broadcast, by no means all of them believed it was news. And not all of those who thought the invasion was upon them behaved the same way in the face of danger. Before we can understand the reasons for the varying behavior, the reactions must be arranged in some significant grouping. Otherwise no fruitful conceptualization is possible.

    Our ultimate aim in explaining the behavior is to understand the reasons for the panic. The validity of our understanding could only be tested if we were...

  9. CHAPTER V ‟I Figured” CRITICAL ABILITY
    (pp. 111-124)

    HERE was a broadcast which frightened some people but not others. What was it that made some people interpret the program correctly even though they tuned in late? Of all the possible psychological capacities and characteristics individuals possess, what ones would we expect from our data and our present knowledge to be most helpful in giving us a better understanding of this panic situation? We might choose frustration, repression, introversion, egocentrism or any one of dozens of conceptualizations we know are important to the psychologist. But since the panic arose essentially from an error in judgment, it seemed most likely...

  10. CHAPTER VI ‟I’m So Worried” CONDITIONS INHIBITING CRITICAL ABILITY
    (pp. 127-150)

    THE day after the Martian invasion explanations for the strange events were rampant. And, as usual, such explanations made by persons who were not frightened and who felt it their business to pronounce on such matters, attributed the panic to certain inherent characteristics of persons who got excited. Dorothy Thompson, columnist, blamed the “incredible stupidity” of the victims; a prominent psychologist said that no “intelligent” person would be taken in; another claimed that the disturbed people were all neurotic. Such glib generalizations are not only wrong but dangerous, both theoretically and socially. They attribute the explanation to a stimulus that...

  11. CHAPTER VII ‟Being in a Troublesome World” THE HISTORICAL SETTING
    (pp. 153-164)

    THE characteristic thoughts and judgments of any group of people are deeply rooted in the culture that surrounds them. The prevailing social conditions provide the context within which the individual must develop and make his adjustment. We naturally wonder if the social setting in the United States on October 30, 1938 was particularly conducive to the panicky behavior of people who happened to hear the broadcast. Are the times more out of joint now than they were in the golden ’nineties or in 1925? Were there fewer people able to orient themselves properly in 1938 than there might have been...

  12. CHAPTER VIII ‟My Background” THE INDIVIDUAL CASE
    (pp. 167-186)

    IN the preceding chapters we have studied the probable causal influence of many different factors. We have discussed the importance of critical ability, of personality characteristics influencing susceptibility to panic behavior, of the listening situation, and of the cultural context in which the broadcast occurred. We have never meant to imply that these different factors act independently. Only for methodological reasons must they be studied separately. We can carry our story one step nearer to completion if we see how these various influences are patterned in individual cases.

    Unfortunately it would be impracticable to present here the 135 case studies...

  13. CHAPTER IX ‟Jitters Have Come to Roost” WHY THE PANIC?
    (pp. 189-206)

    OUR task as investigators of the Martian invasion has been essentially to discover the causal factors for panic behavior. In our interpretation we have regarded as “causal” any psychological condition in the listener or the listening situation which engendered and sustained the belief that the broadcast was news. But not all social scientists or even all psychologists would agree that the particular type of explanation we have given for the behavior is “psychological” in the best sense. Strict behaviorists will note the absence of conditioning as an explanation; psychoanalysts will charge us with a lack of depth. Our only defense...

  14. APPENDIX A. MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION
    (pp. 207-210)
  15. APPENDIX B. INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
    (pp. 211-220)
  16. APPENDIX C. TABLES
    (pp. 221-222)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 223-224)