Psychologist Theorist: Wilhelm Wundt
This was the first laboratory dedicated to psychology, and its opening is usually thought of as the beginning of modern psychology. Indeed, Wundt is often regarded as the father of psychology. Wundt was important because he separated psychology from philosophy by analyzing the workings of the mind in a more structured way, with the emphasis being on objective measurement and control.
This was a two-volume work that stressed the relations between psychology and physiology. The book displayed how natural science could be incorporated into psychology. The book included an important theory that Wilhelm found and named the Tridimensional Theory of feeling. This new theory described some such feelings to be pleasant or unpleasant, tense or relaxed, and excited or depressed. He reasoned that a given feeling could also be combined with another or a combination of many other feelings. Another piece of writing that Wundt created was Vokerpsychologie (Folk Psychology). Vokerpsychologie made obvious his attempt to understand human's higher thought processes through such things as language, art, mythology, religion, custom, and law.
By his third year, his intense work ethic yielded his first publication (Boring 1950: 318). Nevertheless, doctoring was not Wundt’s vocation and he turned instead to physiology, which he studied for a semester under Johannes Müller (the “father of experimental physiology”) at Berlin (Boring 1950: 318). In 1856, at the age of 24, Wundt took his doctorate in medicine at Heidelberg, and habilitated as a Dozent in physiology. Two years later, the physicist, physiologist, and psychologist, Hermann von Helmholtz received the call to Heidelberg as a professor of physiology, a decisive moment for Wundt’s career, with Wundt working as Helmholtz’s assistant from 1858 until 1865.
Wundt’s students, 1921, “In memory of Wilhelm Wundt by his American students”, Psychological Review, 28(3): 153–88. Reprinted in Boring 1950: 344. Some very vivid and anecdotal reminiscences of Wundt by seventeen of his American students.
Boring, E.G., 1950 , A History of Experimental Psychology, 2nd ed., New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Blumenthal, A.L., 1975, “A Reappraisal of Wilhelm Wundt”, American Psychologist, 30(11): 1081–8. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.30.11.108