The neuron doctrine in Wundt's Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie


Psychology Lab, Yamano College of Aesthetics, 530 Yarimizu, Hachiouji, Tokyo 192-0396, Japan
Tel. 0426-770111


Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), one of the founders of modern psychology, established the first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879 following his career as a physiologist. Although his idea of "physiological psychology" is now regarded as a synonym for experimental psychology, he made a great contribution by importing his physiological findings into the field of psychology. This is well shown in the textbook Grundzuege der Physiologischen Psychologie, for which the first edition appeared in 1873-74. While there were six editions of this book, only one, the fifth edition (1902-03), was partly translated into English by the American psychologist E. B. Titchener in 1904. These textbooks included fine microscopic pictures of various parts of the nervous system. However, Jacobson (1993) criticized Wundt's work in that he thought it ignored the important advances in neurosciences at that time. This might be true in regards to the neuron doctrine, which was developed in the last half of the 19th century. Wundt's views on nerves and neurons appeared in all six editions of Grundzuege and are listed in detail. It can be seen that, as he continued to revise the editions, the chapters of each succeeding edition became more weighted in psychological topics rather than neuroscientific ones.


Panel 5A   (Search Machine)
Wednesday, 15 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999