Wilhelm Wundt

German physician, physiologist, philosopher and professor (1832-1920)

Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt (16 August 1832 – 31 August 1920) was a German physician, physiologist, philosopher, and professor, known today as one of the founding figures of modern psychology.

Wilhelm Wundt, 1902



Principles of Physiological Psychology, 1904


Wilhelm Wundt. Principles of Physiological Psychology Translated by Edward B. Titchener 1904. Republished 1969.

  • The results of ethnic psychology constitute... our chief source of information regarding the general psychology of the complex mental processes.
    • p. 5
  • In Aristotle the mind, regarded as the principle of life, divides into nutrition, sensation, and faculty of thought, corresponding to the inner most important stages in the succession of vital phenomena.
    • p. 22
  • From the standpoint of observation, then, we must regard it as a highly probable hypothesis that the beginnings of the mental life date from as far back as the beginnings of life at large.
    • p. 31

An Introduction to Psychology (1912)


An Introduction to Psychology, 1912; 1924.

  • The whole task of psychology can therefore be summed up in these two problems : (1) What are the elements of consciousness ? (2) What combinations do these elements undergo and what laws govern these combinations ?
  • If we take an unprejudiced view of the processes of consciousness, free from all the so-called association rules and theories, we see at once that an idea is no more an even relatively constant thing than is a feeling or emotion or volitional process. There exist only changing and transient ideational processes ; there are no permanent ideas that return again and disappear again.
    • p. 122

Quotes about Wilhelm Wundt

  • Throughout the nineteenth century, apart from the division in theoretical sciences and arts, classifiers attempted to divide the sciences into two groups. Already they had before them the examples of Francis Bacon (speculative and descriptive) and Hobbes (quantitative and qualitative). For Coleridge, the sciences were either pure (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Mathematics, Metaphysics) or mixed. Arthur Schopenhauer’s similar groups were called pure and empirical, Wilhelm Wundt in 1887 called them formal and empirical, Globot mathematical and theoretical, and the St. Louis Congress of Arts and Sciences (1904) normative and physical. Karl Pearson made similar division of the sciences into abstract and concrete
    • Brian Vickery (1958) Classification and indexing in science. p. 154.
  • Imagery played a central role in theories of the mind for centuries. For example, the British Associationists conceptualizes thought itself as sequences of images. And, Wilhelm Wundt, the founder of scientific psychology, emphasized the analysis of images. However, the central role of imagery in theories of mental activity was undermined when Kulpe, in 1904, pointed out that some thoughts are not accompanied by imagery (e.g., one is not aware of the processes that allow one to decide which of two objects is heavier).
    • Robert Andrew Wilson, ‎Frank C. Keil (2001), The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. p. 387
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Psychologists Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) •William James (1842–1910) •Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) •Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) •Alfred Adler (1870–1937) •Edward Thorndike (1874–1949) •Carl Jung (1875–1961) •John B. Watson (1878–1958) •Clark L. Hull (1884–1952) •Kurt Lewin (1890–1947) •Jean Piaget (1896–1980) •Gordon Allport (1897–1967) •J. P. Guilford (1897–1987) •Carl Rogers (1902–1987) •Erik Erikson (1902–1994) •B. F. Skinner (1904–1990) •Donald O. Hebb (1904–1985) •Ernest Hilgard (1904–2001) •Harry Harlow (1905–1981) •Viktor Frankl (1905–1997) •Raymond Cattell (1905–1998) •Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) •Neal E. Miller (1909–2002) •Jerome Bruner (1915–2016) •Donald T. Campbell (1916–1996) •Hans Eysenck (1916–1997) •Herbert A. Simon (1916–2001) •David McClelland (1917–1998) •Leon Festinger (1919–1989) •George A. Miller (1920–2012) •Richard Lazarus (1922–2002) •Stanley Schachter (1922–1997) •Robert Zajonc (1923–2008) •Albert Bandura (1925–2021) •Roger Brown (1925–1997) •Endel Tulving (b. 1927) •Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987) •Ulric Neisser (1928–2012) •Jerome Kagan (1929–2021) •Walter Mischel (1930–2018) •Elliot Aronson (b. 1932) •Daniel Kahneman (b. 1934) •Paul Ekman (b. 1934) •Michael Posner (b. 1936) •Amos Tversky (1937–1996) •Bruce McEwen (1938–2020) •Larry Squire (b. 1941) •Richard E. Nisbett (b. 1941) •Martin Seligman (b. 1942) •Ed Diener (1946–2021) •Shelley E. Taylor (b. 1946) •John Anderson (b. 1947) •Ronald C. Kessler (b. 1947) •Joseph E. LeDoux (b. 1949) •Richard Davidson (b. 1951) •Susan Fiske (b. 1952) •Roy Baumeister (b. 1953)