Géza Révész

Hungarian psychologist and musicologist (1878-1955)

Géza Révész (Dec. 9 1878 - Aug. 19, 1955) was a Hungarian-Dutch psychologist, and Professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Amsterdam, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of European psychology.

Géza Révész


  • A theory of haptics is expounded which the author feels will establish "a foundation for the Haptics of form and the psychology of the blind." He differentiates between "Haptics of an essentially optical character" and "pure or autonomous Haptics" such as is experienced by those blind from early childhood. The weaknesses of certain psychological theories such as Gestalt, are discussed in terms of Révész's haptic theory. Part II of the book analyzes the aesthetics of haptic form and the art of the blind. The work of blind sculptors is presented and is analyzed.
    • Géza Révész (1950)., Psychology and art of the blind. Oxford, England: Longmans. Abstract.
  • For professional musicians, musicologists, and serious students, knowledge of the psychology of music is extremely valuable but sometimes hard to come by. In this practical and authoritative study which pulls together information from musicology, physics, physiology, psychology, and aesthetics the distinguished Hungarian psychologist Geza Revesz (1878 1955) offers a comprehensive view of the subject, including an overview of his own extensive, often revolutionary research in both music psychology and acoustics.
    • Géza Révész, Introduction to the psychology of music. Courier Corporation, 1954. Abstract

The Origins and Prehistory of Language, 1956


Geza Revesz, The Origins and Prehistory of Language, London 1956.

  • Ebbinghaus: Language is a system of conventional signs that can be voluntarily produced at any time.
Croce: Language is articulated, limited sound organized for the purpose of expression.
Dittrich: Language is the totality of expressive abilities of individual human beings and animals capable of being understood by at least one other individual.
Eisler: Language is any expression of experiences by a creature with a soul.
B. Erdmann: Language is not a kind of communication of ideas but a kind of thinking: stated or formulated thinking. Language is a tool, and in fact a tool or organ of thinking that is unique to us as human beings.
Forbes: Language is an ordered sequence of words by which a speaker expresses his thoughts with the intention of making them known to a hearer.
J. Harris : Words are the symbols of ideas both general and particular: of the general, primarily, essentially and immediately; of the particular, only secondarily, accidentally and mediately.
Hegel: Language is the act of theoretical intelligence in its true sense, for it is its outward expression.
Jespersen: Language is human activity which has the aim of communicating ideas and emotions.
Jodl: Verbal language is the ability of man to fashion, by means of combined tones and sounds based on a limited numbers of elements, the total stock of his perceptions and conceptions in this natural tone material in such a way that this psychological process is clear and comprehensible to others to its least detail.
Kainz : Language is a structure of signs, with the help of which the representation of ideas and facts may be effected, so that things that are not present, even things that are completely imperceptible to the senses, may be represented.
De Laguna: Speech is the great medium through which human co-operation is brought about.
Marty: Language is any intentional utterance of sounds as a sign of a psychic state.
Pillsbury-Meader: Language is a means or instrument for the communication of thought, including ideas and emotions.
De Saussure: Language is a system of signs expressive of ideas.
Schuchardt. The essence of language lies in communication.
Sapir: Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols.
  • Footnote at pp. 126-127; As cited in: Adam Schaff (1962). Introduction to semantics, p. 313-314

Quotes about Géza Révész

  • Three of the pioneers of European psychology, who became linked in friendship at the beginning of the century at G. E. Muller's Laboratory have died the last two years: David Katz..., Gustav Kafka... and now Géza Révész... Revesz had to leave his native Hungary, at the time of Horthy's coup de force in 1919, and, having become a Dutch citizen and professor at the University of Amsterdam, he too founded a Psychological Institute — probably the largest in Europe, with its forty rooms and an auditorium — which, just before his death, he had left on becoming emeritus.
    • Henry Piéron. "Géza Révész: 1878-1955." The American Journal of Psychology Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1956), pp. 139-141
  • Révész's work encompassed varied fields. His early interest centered on visual perception, and later he concerned himself with the psychological aspects of music. He carried out tests on the sense of touch, and identified those elements of tactile perception that are not shared by the optic and acoustic senses. This research brought him in contact with blind persons, and Revesz, in part moved by sympathy, conducted studies on the personal life of the blind. He also devoted himself to understanding the basic differences between humans and animals, in which connection he produced his study on the origins of languages.
    • American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. "Revesz, Geza," at jewishvirtuallibrary.org, 2016.