Dr. Moore’s Impact Part 1 – “Moore” than a Small Effect

Dear Readers:

We are living in some very extraordinary times.

Luckily, technology has given us the ability at Hearts in the Highlands to continue to post the types of articles we hope highlight for you the unique qualities of our neighborhood. We know that your attention is focused on the health and welfare of you and your families, trying to maintain appropriate social distancing, and adhering to other recommendations from the health community.

This month, we are sharing with you Part I of an article about Dr. Bruce Moore who chose to live in the Highlands. Some of you many recognize the name (as in the Moore Building on the Penn State campus) while others will be learning of him for the first time. Dr Moore was, indeed, an extraordinary scholar and a significant member of the Penn State and State College communities.

Perhaps what might make this piece most compelling is that it is the product of an undergraduate student at Penn State (Kristen Zak) who, as part of an internship with the History Department, started on her research in January 2020, but found herself after the spring break having to complete her final semester at Penn State from her home in South Central Pennsylvania. It is a credit to Kristen and her supervisor in the History Department that she was able to complete her assignment “at a distance” despite having some connectivity issues related to downloading documents that she needed to do her work. We hope you find Part I of interest. Part II will follow at a later date.
We on the Editorial Board hope all our readers stay safe, and that you have figured out how to stay at home and remain engaged. If we have been able to provide you with a slight modicum of distraction from your usual routines, then we will have succeeded.

Hearts in the Highlands Editorial Board

Dr. Moore’s Impact Part I: “Moore” than a Small Effect

by Kristen N. Zak

Dr. Bruce V. Moore’s Highlands residence at 517 Hetzel Street still stands, just like his impact on the Penn State University is still noticeable.

Figure 1 Dr. Bruce V. Moore and wife Dr. Winona Moore volunteering at Meals on Wheels in the Nittany Mall; 
Centre Daily Times, 1974.

Dr. Moore was born in 1891 in Indiana. His childhood and education brought him to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned his doctorate in 1921 in industrial-organizational psychology (I/O psychology) at Carnegie Institute of Technology, now called Carnegie Mellon University. Moore was the first academic to receive a doctorate in this newly specialized area of psychology. Penn State hired Dr. Moore in 1921 as a member of its psychology faculty, and he worked there until his retirement in 1952. In 1972, the current psychology building, the Moore Building, was built, dedicated, and named after him. After spending time in Washington, D.C. and Miami after his retirement from Penn State, he returned and settled in the Highlands neighborhood in 1962. He remained active in the Penn State and State College communities until his death in 1977.

As a psychology professor in the College of Education-Education and Psychology Department at Penn State, Dr. Moore quickly gained recognition for his hard work and was promoted to the head of the psychology faculty in 1928. Dr. Moore also played a leading role in opening an on-campus psychological clinic in 1931, which was first directed by Dr. Robert G. Bernreuter, the future Vice President of Student Affairs. This impacted both students at Penn State and community members in the State College region, as the clinic that started out only serving students, in time, was also made available to State College residents. The clinic still stands in the Moore Building on the north side of Penn State’s University Park campus, and it is still open to both students and community members. In 1945, Dr. Moore convinced the College of Education to split the Education and Psychology Department in two distinct units, with one department’s focus on education and the other on psychology. Dr. Moore then transferred his role from head of psychology faculty in the Education and Psychology Department to head of the Psychology Department at Penn State.

Figure 2 Bruce V. Moore;
Centre Daily Times. “Building to Honor Bruce V. Moore”. 6 Nov. 1972.

In 1941, Dr. Moore was asked by the Department of Engineering to teach a course combining engineering and psychology, as Dr. Moore had worked with engineering companies as part of his research for his dissertation while at Carnegie Institute of Technology. During this time period, he studied two groups: the Penn State graduate students taking his course, “Engineering Defense”; and students who were not interested in attending college but were enrolled in a 10-week intensive introductory engineering course in summer school. He used his colleague’s personality test, the so called “Bernreuter Personality Inventory,” to analyze individuals’ traits of stability, self-sufficiency, and dominance. Dr. Moore found between the two groups that the group of students not enrolled in college had similar abilities to the college students studied, and most of the students found their work and training interests matched the personality inventory results. He also discovered in this study that there were at least two types of engineering aptitude: one type dealing primarily with the mathematical aspect, and one type primarily with the handling physical equipment. This study, along with related material and research covered in Dr. Moore’s dissertation, helped to guide engineers in choosing their particular focus in the engineering profession (i.e. design engineers, sales engineers).

Dr. Bernreuter, Dr. Moore’s colleague at Penn State, also played a significant role in the development and maturation of Penn State’s Psychology Department. Bernreuter was recommended for Penn State’s psychological clinic director position by Stanford University psychology professor Dr. E. K. Strong, who served on Dr. Moore’s doctoral dissertation committee. An integral part of Bernreuter’s dissertation at Stanford University was the previously noted “Bernreuter Personality Inventory”, which, again, Dr. Moore used in his 1941 study on Penn State graduate engineers. While Bernreuter was at Penn State, he became the Head of the Division of Counseling and the Vice President of Student Affairs before retiring from the University in 1966. This position complemented his interests in the close study of human behaviors, particularly in college students.

Figure 3 Dr. Robert G. Bernreuter;
Penn State Alumni Association

There is documentary evidence (most notably a 1979 Bernreuter oral interview) that Dr. Moore likely lent a hand to Dr. Bernreuter while at Penn State, as both shared interests in college students, their welfare, and their future prospects. During the time both worked at Penn State, Penn State’s incoming freshmen were evaluated based on personality to determine which career paths they were suited for. Penn State instituted a psychological program, with the help of graduate psychology students, for the freshmen to articulate their feelings on career choices, and this program operated during the regular fall-spring academic terms and also during summer sessions. The use of psychological and personality tests for incoming Penn State students lasted until the 1990s. Considering Bernreuter’s positions – the Director of the psychological clinic, Head of the Division of Counseling, and the Vice President of Student Affairs – and Dr. Moore’s position as the head of the Psychology Department, they almost certainly worked together, perhaps both formally and informally, on utilizing personality tests for incoming Penn State undergraduate students.

Outside of his Penn State and psychology work, Dr. Moore led a very active lifestyle. In his spare time, he enjoyed hunting and bowling. He also liked staying involved in the community, including participating in Meals on Wheels. Dr. Moore married Elsie Kohler, with whom he had one daughter. Sadly, Kohler passed away in 1967. Dr. Moore remarried in July 1969 to Dr. Winona Morgan, who had earned doctorate in childhood development, taught for a number of years at the Pennsylvania State University, and retired from Penn State around the same time as her marriage to Dr. Moore. Dr. Bruce V. Moore and Dr. Winona Moore resided at 517 Hetzel Street. She continued to live there even after Dr. Bruce Moore’s death in 1977. Dr. Moore’s obituary was written by previously mentioned colleague, Dr. Robert Bernreuter.

Dr. Moore dedicated his life to his career and interests in psychology. By starting Penn State’s on-campus psychological clinic and hiring Dr. Robert Bernreuter to develop and lead it, not only did he give students a safe place to discuss their career and personal issues, but, when it was made available to the community, the psychological clinic also provided State College residents, including Highlands residents, the first mental health facility in the State College area. His contributions, with varying degrees of help and aid from Dr. Bernreuter and his studies on Penn State students, fueled the development of personality tests. It is noteworthy that the increasing and increasingly sophisticated use of personality tests helped shape both Penn State’s academic psychology department and also University admissions practices. Dr. Bernreuter noted that, during Dr. Moore’s time at Penn State, Dr. Moore became a spokesperson between faculty and administration when important issues would arise. Even in his last ten years living in the Highlands neighborhood, Dr. Moore was still impacting the community by working with the psychology development and helping graduate psychology students and psychology faculty whenever he could.

His legacy lives on, like his Highlands residence on Hetzel Street, within Penn State’s Psychology Department and the Moore Building to this day.

Kristen N. Zak is a Penn State senior double majoring in History and Music Performance and graduating in May 2020. Other than playing for Penn State Orchestras and Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, she finds great interest in the United States Civil War, legal history, and local history. She hopes to attend graduate school for history and education and become a university history professor. If you wish to contact her, she can be reached via the following email address: zakkristenn@gmail.com.


Pennsylvania State University Collection of Biographical Vertical Files, 1892-Present, Special Collections, Pennsylvania State University Park, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bruce V. Moore.

“Building to Honor Bruce V. Moore.” Centre Daily Times. 6 Nov. 1972.
The Department of Public Information. “Questionnaire for Faculty Members at the Pennsylvania State College”. 20 Mar. 1948.
“In Remembrance”. 29 Nov. 1969. [Remembrance of Elsie Kohler Moore].
“Miss Morgan, Bruce V. Moore Exchange Vows”. Centre Daily Times. 2 Jul. 1969.
Moore, Bruce V. “Analysis of Results of Tests Administered to Men in Engineering Defense Teaching Courses”. Dec. 1941.
Moore, Bruce V. “Vita”. 1977.
Pennsylvania State University Collection of Biographical Vertical Files, 1892-Present, Special Collections, Pennsylvania State University Park, Pennsylvania. Dr. Robert G. Bernreuter.

“After 35 Years of Service: Robert G. Bernreuter to Retire on Sept. 30”. Centre Daily Times. 9 Sept. 1966.

“Bernreuter New Advisory Head.” Centre Daily Times. 28 March, 1958.
“R.G. Bernreuter, 93, Psychology Teacher”. New York Times. 20 June 1995.
Pennsylvania State University Oral History Project Recordings, Transcripts, and Other Materials, 1974-2010, Special Collections, Pennsylvania State University Park, Pennsylvania

“Interview with Robert Bernreuter – At his home, May 16, 1979”. 16 May 1979.

Scholarly Articles/Other Sources

Farr, James. “Interview”. Interview by Kristen N. Zak. 17 Mar. 2020, phone call.
Farr, James L. and Paul E. Tesluk. “Bruce V. Moore: First President of Division 14.” Journal of Applied Psychology 82, No. 4 (1997): 478-485.
Penn State College of Education. “History of School Psychology at Penn State.” Accessed March 17, 2020. History of School Psychology at Penn State — Penn State College of Education (psu.edu)

For Pictures/Figures

“Building to Honor Bruce V. Moore.” Centre Daily Times. 6 Nov. 1972. [Figure 2] Centre Daily Times. 1974. [Figure 1] Penn State Alumni Association. N.d. [Figure 3]