Claparède, Édouard

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Claparède, Édouard


Born Mar. 24, 1873 in Geneva; died there Sept. 29, 1940. Swiss psychologist.

Claparède was appointed a professor at the University of Geneva in 1908. In 1912 he helped found the J.-J. Rousseau Institute in Geneva, which became an international center for experimental research in child psychology, and in 1920 he organized the International Association of Psychotechnics. Recognizing the shortcomings of associationism in psychology, Claparède, following W. Wundt, T. Ribot, and W. James, developed the theory of the active role of consciousness. He was an exponent of “functional psychology,” a biological science that considers mental phenomena from the standpoint of their function in the life process, their place in the “ensemble of behavior.” For this reason, the concept of interest was central to his views. According to Claparède, mental functions, including intellect and will, develop in order to satisfy certain needs of the organism, and conscious actions arise when an obstacle to the smooth functioning of instinctive mechanisms is encountered. His idea that there are qualitatively different levels in the ontogeny of the process of generalization exerted a considerable influence on developmental psychology, particularly on J. Piaget. Claparède’s theory of play also became widely known.


L’Association des idées. Paris, 1903.
L’Éducation fonctionelle. Paris, 1931.
Psychologie de l’enfant et pédagogie expérimentale, vol. 1: Le Développement mental. Paris, 1946.
In Russian translation: Psikhologiia rebenka i eksperimental’naia pedagogika. St. Petersburg, 1911.
Professional’naia orientatsiia, ee problemy i metody. Moscow, 1925.
Kak opredeliat’ umstvennye sposobnosti shkol’nikov. Leningrad, 1927.


Édouard Claparède. Geneva, 1941.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.