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He earned his doctorate from Harvard College in 1932, a friend and classmate of B.F. Skinner. He worked at Worcester State Hospital and Clark University before becoming the chief psychologist at the Western State Psychiatric Institute.
Rosenzweig became well known after publishing a paper discussing 'common factors' underlying competing approaches to psychotherapy. He argued that all models of therapy could be equally successful, due to competent therapists sharing common factors that aided their patients. His premise became known as the Dodo Bird Verdict or Dodo Bird Hypothesis — a reference to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, in which a dodo bird declares at the end of a race designed to dry everyone off: "Everybody has won and all must have prizes."
Rosenzweig's study of aggression lead to the development of the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study, a test of latent hostility; The Rosenweig Picture Frustration Study is usually considered a semi-projective technique and involves an examinee responding verbally to a semi-ambiguous picture scenario. Each of the three forms (child, adolescent, and adult) consists of 24 comic strip pictures that portray a situation that might induce frustration. The overall purpose of the study is to assess how the examinee responds to frustration and frustrating situations. The test assumes that the way that the examinee responds to each frustrating situation depicts how they behave in the face of frustration. The worth of this test is based on how aggression is conceptualized into three types. The first direction of aggression can be extragressive meaning that it is turned onto the environment. The second direction is intraggressive meaning that it is turned by the examinee onto the self. The final direction is imaggressive which means that it is evaded in an attempt to gloss over the frustration. In terms of reliability and validity, the P-F Study interscorer reliability is in the range of .80 to .85. The rest-retest reliability is fair to marginal. the test became popular in Europe and was featured in Stanley Kubrick's movie A Clockwork Orange.
A collection of Rosenzweig's papers has been maintained in the Archives of the History of American Psychology, at the University of Akron. This comprises a collection of papers from 1929 to 2003, in five series:
- Foundation for Idiodynamics Personality Theory, and Creativity in Literature
- Everding, Gerry (August 26, 2004), "(Obituary) Saul Rosenzweig, 97, professor emeritus in Arts & Sciences", Newsroom (Washington University in St. Louis), retrieved 20 November 2010 Primary source for information on this page as found at 20.11.10
- . (2007), Outline of Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study, Violence Institute of New Jersey, retrieved 20 November 2010
- Gregory, Robert. Psychological Testing. Boston: Pearson, 2007.
- Bloom, Mark (November 2007), Finding Aid for Saul Rosenzweig (PDF), Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, retrieved 20 November 2010
- Duncan, B (2002), "The Founder of Common Factors: A conversation with Saul Rosenzweig" (PDF), Journal of Psychotherapy Integration 12: 10–31, retrieved 20 November 2010