Edward Bradford Titchener
November 1, 1867—
March 8, 1927
· Born in Chichester a town in southern England.
· Lost his father at an early age.
· Earned scholarships to Malvern and earned many academic prizes while attending.
· Earned scholarships to Oxford, where he began his studies in philosophy and classic literature.
· Attracted to Herbert Spencer and Darwinian biology and animal psychology while at Oxford.
· Studied an extra year at Oxford in science with
experimental physiologist Burdon Sanderson.
· Studied at Lipzig under Wundt receiving his PhD in 1892.
· Briefly lectured at Oxford as extension lecturer in biology.
· Took position at Cornell in 1892 as Psychology Professor
and developed his laboratory.
· Married Sophie K. Bedlow in 1894, who assisted him in his
laboratory and provided drawings for his books.
· Became a full professor at Cornell in 1895 at age 28.
· Turned down a position considered to be the best in
America at Harvard in 1917.
· Oswald Kulpe wrote Grundriss der Psychologie (Outline of
Psychology) with Titchener’s help in planning.
· Frank Angell founder of laboratories at Cornell and
· Early work included 10 papers published in Nature on
· Translations of Wundt’s Grudzuge der physiologischen
Psychologie third, fourth, and fifth editions along with
other Wundt work between 1894 and 1902.
· Translated Kulpe’s Grudriss in 1895.
· Published his own Outlines of Psychology in 1896.
· Published his Primer of Psychology in 1898.
· Published four volumes of his Experimental Psychology
between 1901 and 1905 used to train psychology
students for over a generation in America.
· Published A Text-Book of Psychology in 1910 which is
still examined when discussing his system.
· Was Editor of Studies from the Department of Psychology
of Cornell University (1894-1927).
· American Editor of Mind (1894-1917)
· Became co-editor of the American Journal of
Psychology in 1895-1925.
· Published over 200 articles and books over 35 years.
· Established an association of experimental Psychology
called the Experimentalists (1904) which is still in
existence today as the Society of Experimental Psychologists.
· Was an influence in American Psychology bringing a strict
empirical, Wundtian approach to experimental
· Created a system of Structural Psychology later termed
Structuralism a study of the elemental structures of
Consciousness based on introspection.
· Trained 56 doctoral students of which over a third were
Women, many rising as prominent Psychologists.
· Among these students:
o Margaret Floy Washburn—who published the first book on Animal Psychology and was APA president in 1921.
o E.G. Boring—a noted historian of psychology and APA president in 1928.
o Joy Paul Guilford—one of Titchener’s last students a psychometrician, was APA president in 1950 and won the APA Distinguished Science Contribution Award in 1964.
· Tried to achieve Psychology as a Science dealing with
normal, human, adult minds based on descriptive
· Attempted to eliminate stimulus error in the experience of
· Sought to reduce experience to its basic elements.
· Initiated change in his system abandoning the elemental approach
and considering a phenomenological approach to the study of
consciousness in 1923.
· The exclusion of women from the Experimentalists and the claim that he was a misogynist.
· The rejection of imageless thought by Titchener which was found during an experiment by Oswald Kulpe in Wurzburg led to the revision of his system upon which the element of images was removed.
· A matter of reaction time differences with James Mark
Baldwin between trained observers and untrained
observers led to isolation when Titchener avoided the Psychological Review Publications.
Evans, R. B., (1991). E. B. Titchener on scientific psychology and technology. In G.A.
Kimble, M. Wertheimer, & C. White (Eds.), Portraits of pioneers in psychology
(pp. 88-103). :Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Inc.
Benjamin, L. T., (1993). Edward Bradford Titchener’s experimentalists. In M. Lange,
(Ed.), A history of psychology in letters (pp. 93-106). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown
Plucker, J., (1998). Edward Bradford Titchener. Retrieved February 25, 2003, from
Thorne, B. M., & Henley, T. B., (2001). Connections in the history and systems of
psychology. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.