Psychological Research

, Volume 42, Issue 1–2, pp 109–122 | Cite as

Wundt's psychological experiment in the light of his philosophy of science

  • Kurt Danziger


Wundt initiated the first systematic psychological research programme. This achievement occurred at the same time as his elaboration of a philosophy of science which was anti-inductivist and stressed the priority of explanatory motives. Specifically psychological explanations depended on concepts of psychological causality as manifested in apperceptive or volitional processes. The major differences between the Wundtian and other models of psychological experimentation can be understood in the light of this general approach. Thus experimenters and subjects had to be enlightened collaborators and the role of introspection was more significant in an explanatory than in a purely observational context. Wundt's special requirements for the psychological experiment led him to reject other early models as exemplified by the hypnotic experiment in which the experimenter-subject relationship was closer to what was to become the norm in the twentieth century.


Research Programme Twentieth Century Special Requirement Psychological Research Early Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beaunis HE (1885) L'experimentation en psychologie par le somnambulisme provoqué. Rev Phil 20:1–36, 113–135Google Scholar
  2. Binet A, Féré C (1901) The psychology of reasoning: Based on experimental researches in hypnotism. London: Kegan Paul (French original 1886)Google Scholar
  3. Danziger K (1979a) The positivist repudiation of Wundt. J Hist Behav Sci 15:205–230Google Scholar
  4. Danziger K (1979b) The social origins of modern psychology. In: Buss AR (ed) Psychology in social context. New York: IrvingtonGoogle Scholar
  5. Danziger K (1980a) Wundt and the two traditions of psychology. In: Rieber RW (ed) Wilhelm Wundt and the making of a scientific psychology. New York: Plenum PressGoogle Scholar
  6. Danziger K (1980b, in press) The history of introspection reconsidered. J Hist Behav Sci 16Google Scholar
  7. Danziger K (1980c) On the threshold of the new psychology: Situating Wundt and James. In: Bringmann WG, Tweney RD (eds) Wundt studies. Göttingen and Toronto: CJ HogrefeGoogle Scholar
  8. Hall GS (1883) Reaction-time and attention in the hypnotic state. Mind 8:170–182Google Scholar
  9. Koyré A (1968) Metaphysics and measurement: Essays in scientific revolution. London: Chapman and HallGoogle Scholar
  10. Mackenzie BD, Mackenzie SL (1974) The case for a revised systematic approach to the history of psychology. J Hist Behav Sci 10:324–347Google Scholar
  11. Mischel T (1970) Wundt and the conceptual foundations of psychology. Philos Phenomenol Res 31:1–26Google Scholar
  12. Petersen P (1925) Wilhelm Wundt und seine Zeit. Stuttgart: FrommannGoogle Scholar
  13. Wundt W (1863) Vorlesungen über die Menschen- und Thierseele. Leipzig: VossGoogle Scholar
  14. Wundt W (1866) Die physikalischen Axiome und ihre Beziehung zum Causalprincip. Erlangen: EnkeGoogle Scholar
  15. Wundt W (1874) Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie. Leipzig: EngelmannGoogle Scholar
  16. Wundt W (1880) Logik: Eine Untersuchung der Principien der Erkenntniss. 1. Band: Erkenntnislehre. Stuttgart: EnkeGoogle Scholar
  17. Wundt W (1882) Die Aufgaben der experimentellen Psychologie. Unsere Zeit, 1882. (Reprinted in Wundt W (1906) Essays, 2nd edn. Leipzig: Engelmann)Google Scholar
  18. Wundt W (1883) Logik: Eine Untersuchung der Principien der Erkenntnis. 2. Band: Methodenlehre. Stuttgart: EnkeGoogle Scholar
  19. Wundt W (1888a) Über Ziele und Wege der Völkerpsychologie. Philos Stud 4:1–27Google Scholar
  20. Wundt W (1888b) Selbstbeobachtung und innere Wahrnehmung. Philos Stud 4:292–309Google Scholar
  21. Wundt W (1892) Zur Frage des Bewusstseinsumfangs. Philos Stud 7:222–231Google Scholar
  22. Wundt W (1893) Hypnotismus und Suggestion. Philos Stud 8:1–85Google Scholar
  23. Wundt W (1894a) Über psychische Kausalität und das Princip des psychophysischen Parallelismus. Philos Stud 10:1–124Google Scholar
  24. Wundt (1894b) Zur Beurteilung der zusammengesetzten Reactionen. Philos Stud 10:485–498Google Scholar
  25. Wundt W (1897) Outlines of psychology. Leipzig: EngelmannGoogle Scholar
  26. Wundt W (1900a) Bemerkungen zur Theorie der Gefühle. Philos Stud 15:149–182Google Scholar
  27. Wundt W (1900b) Völkerpsychologie. 1. Band. Leipzig: EngelmannGoogle Scholar
  28. Wundt W (1903) Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie. 3. Band, 5th edn. Leipzig: EngelmannGoogle Scholar
  29. Wundt W (1906) Logik. 1. Band, 3rd edn. Stuttgart: EnkeGoogle Scholar
  30. Wundt W (1907a) Logik. 2. Band, 3rd edn. Stuttgart: EnkeGoogle Scholar
  31. Wundt W (1907b) Über Ausfrageexperimente und über die Methoden zur Psychologie des Denkens. Psychol Stud 3:301–360Google Scholar
  32. Wundt W (1908) Logik. 3. Band, 3rd edn. Stuttgart: EnkeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Danziger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityDownsviewCanada

Personalised recommendations