Hermann Ebbinghaus

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Ebbinghaus, Hermann


Born Jan. 24, 1850, in Barmen; died Feb. 26,1909, in Halle. German psychologist. Proponent of associationism.

Ebbinghaus was a professor at the University of Breslau from 1894 to 1905 and the University of Halle from 1905 to 1909. He founded, with A. Konig, the journal Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, which brought together psychologists who did not belong to the school of W. Wundt. Ebbinghaus initiated the experimental study of the higher mental functions, especially memory.

In his work Memory (1885), Ebbinghaus demonstrated that the process of memorization is influenced by the number of items to be memorized, the number of times the items are repeated, and the strength of the associations between the items, which is inversely proportional to the distance between them; his “forgetting curve” related forgetting to the passage of time. He developed a test to determine degrees of mental development. Ebbinghaus’ textbooks on psychology have been reprinted many times.


In Russian translation:
Osnovy psikhologii, vol. 1, fases. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1911–12.
Ocherkpsikhologii. St. Petersburg, 1911.