Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Von Restorff, Hedwig

  • David J. MurrayEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_315

Basic Biographical Information

Hedwig von Restorff was born in Berlin on December 14, 1906. After an education focused on classical languages, she entered the University of Berlin at the age of 20 and studied philosophy, psychology, and the natural sciences; she obtained her Ph.D. under the supervision of Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler (1887–1967) in the year 1933, the year of her first publication, announcing her discovery of what is known to this day as the “von Restorff effect” or “isolation effect” (von Restorff 1933). In the words of one reviewer: “In 1933 von Restorff reported a series of studies the results of which may be summarized in the following statement: Isolating an item against a crowded or homogenous background facilitates the learning of that isolated item” (Wallace 1965, p. 410).

By the time the article appeared in the prestigious Gestalt journal Psychologische Forschung, Köhler had left Germany for the USA; he had unabashedly expressed his disapproval of the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Calkins, M. W. (1894). Association (part 1). Psychological Review, 1, 476–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ceraso, J. (1967). The interference theory of forgetting. Scientific American, 317, 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crannell, C. W. (1970). Wolfgang Köhler. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 6, 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crowder, R. G., & Neath, I. (1991). The microscope metaphor in human meaning. In W. E. Hockley & S. Lewandowski (Eds.), Relating theory and data: Essays on human memory in honour of Bennet B. Murdock (pp. 111–125). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Henle, M. (1978). One man against the Nazis – Wolfgang Köhler. The American Psychologist, 33, 939–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hunt, R. R. (1995). The subtlety of distinctiveness: what von Restorff really did. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2, 105–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Johnson, G. J. (1991). A distinctiveness model of serial learning. Psychological Review, 98, 204–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Köhler, W. (1929). Gestalt psychology. New York: Liveright.Google Scholar
  9. Köhler, W. (1947). Gestalt psychology (2nd printing). New York: Liveright (New American Library).Google Scholar
  10. Köhler, W. & Restorff, H. von (1995). An analysis of the processes in the trace field (trans: Dorsch, A.). Retrieved from http://www.uncg.edu/~huntrr/vonrestorff (Original work published 1933).
  11. Köhler, W., & von Restorff, H. (1937). II. Analyse von Vorgängen im Spurenfeld. Zur Theorie der Reproduktion [An analysis of the processes in the trace field: Towards a theory of retrieval]. Psychologische Forschung, 21, 56–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Martin, E. (1965). Transfer of verbal paired associates. Psychological Review, 72, 327–343.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Melton, A. W., & von Lackum, W. J. (1941). Retroactive and proactive inhibition in retention: Evidence for a two-factor theory of retroactive inhibition. The American Journal of Psychology, 54, 157–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mensink, G. J., & Raaijmakers, J. G. W. (1988). A model for interference and forgetting. Psychological Review, 95, 434–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Müller, G. E., & Pilzecker, A. (1900). Experimentelle Beiträge zur Lehre vom Gedächtniss [Experimental contributions to the study of memory]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, Ergänzungsband, 1, 1–300.Google Scholar
  16. Murdock, B. B., Jr. (1960). The distinctiveness of stimuli. Psychological Review, 67, 16–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Murray, D. J. (1995). Gestalt psychology and the cognitive revolution. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  18. Postman, L., & Underwood, B. J. (1973). Critical issues in interference theory. Memory & Cognition, 1, 19–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ranschburg, P. (1905). Über die Bedeutung der Ähnlichkeit beim Erlernen, Behalten und bei der Reproduktion [On the importance of similarity in learning, retention and retrieval]. Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, 5, 93–127.Google Scholar
  20. Schmidt, S. R. (1991). Can we have a distinctive theory of memory? Memory & Cognition, 11, 565–578.Google Scholar
  21. von Restorff, H. (1933). Über die Wirkung von Bereichsbildung im Spurenfeld [On the effects of the formation of a structure in the trace field]. Psychologische Forschung, 18, 299–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wallace, W. P. (1965). Review of the historical, empirical and theoretical status of the von Restorff phenomenon. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 410–424.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada