Wilhelm Wundt was born in Neckarau, Baden in 1832 to Maximillian Wundt and Marie Frederike. He studied at the University of Heidelberg, where he graduated with a degree in medicine in 1856. In 1858 he became the assistant to Hermann Von Helmholtz, a physicist and physiologist[1]. He began writing important contributions in 1858, and began work on his book Contributions to the Theory of Sense of Perception[2] between the years of 1858-1862. He spent many years at the University of Heidelberg, both while studying and after graduation. He soon became a professor at the University, and offered the first course taught in Psychology, in which he emphasized the relationship between the brain and the mind.

In 1874 he published Principles of Physiological Psychology, considered to be the first textbook about Psychology.[3] In 1875, Wundt and his family moved to Liepzig, and in 1879 at the University of Liepzig he opened the first laboratory dedicated to Psychological studies. The laboratory was soon filled with graduate students studying topics assigned by Wundt himself. The lab attracted many more students than just those within Germany, with its main areas of interest being on reaction times, attention, and sensory perception- essentially analyzing consciousness, and measuring a person’s perception of the world and mind.[4] Wundt believed that the focus should be on consciousness, and analyzed the parts of the mind through introspection, (asking subjects to assess their own subjective experience). His science is termed Voluntarism (the process of organizing the mind)[5]. Wundt believed in reductionism, which is the belief that the mind can be reduced to its basic elements, and that these elements can be studied through introspection.

Wundt influenced many budding psychologists, including: Edward Titchener, G. Stanley Hall and Hugo Munsterberg. He continues to influence those within the field through his many writings, and his major contributions. Although introspection is not a scientifically reliable method of study, it does offer insights into the realm of the mind we would otherwise not have.

Important Publications:

  • Volkerpsychologie (10 Volumes from 1900-1920)
  • Einleitung in die Psychologie(Introduction to Psychology) (1911)
  • Erlebtes und Erkanntes(Experience and Realization) (1920)
  • Probleme der Völkerpsychologie(Problems of Social Psychology), (Wiegandt, Leipzig 1911).
  • Elemente der Völkerpsychologie(The Elements of Social Psychology) (1912)

 

 

[1]
            Wilhelm Wundt Psychology 1. Wilhelmwundt.com. Retrieved on 10 Dec 2015.
[2]
“Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, section on “Life and Times”.
[3]
Carlson, Neil and Heth, C. Donald (2010) Psychology the Science of Behaviour. Pearson Education Inc. ISBN 0205547869. p. 18
[4]
Schacter, D. L.; Gilbert, D. T. and Wegner, D. M. (2010). Psychology. 2nd Edition. Worth Publishers. ISBN 1429269677
[5]
McLeod, S. A. (2008). Wilhelm Wundt. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/wundt.html

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