Psychologist at Large: An Autobiography and Selected Essays

By Edwin G. Boring | Go to book overview

Psychologist at Large
1960

Introduction

Every psychologist who was trained for the doctorate in E. B. Titchener's Psychological Laboratory at Cornell in the first two decades of this century knew—or at least believed—that the historical approach to the understanding of scientific fact is what differentiates the scholar in science from the mere experimenter. That conviction was a product of the magic of Titchener's infectious faith, and in 1912, when Titchener suddenly turned over the advanced systematic courses in psychology at Cornell to his very junior staff, we four youngsters—for that is what we were— proceeded in after-midnight endeavor to discover for ourselves psychology's facts, to prepare them for promulgation, and then to dig out the history of research that provided them with their present status in the body scientific.

Out of my participation in these lectures at Cornell and then the giving of them by myself at Clark and later at Harvard grew my book in 1929, A History of Experimental Psychology, which in a second edition is still alive after more than thirty years. In this volume I tried to go into such biographical detail as might connect the convictions of important men with those events in their lives which helped to form their personalities, but there

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Expanded, updated, and reoriented from the 1950 sketch in A History of Psychology in Autobiography, 1952, vol. IV, 27-52, by permission of the Clark University Press.

-3-

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