Ewald Hering

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hering, Ewald


Born Aug. 5, 1834, in Alt-Gersdorf; died Jan. 26, 1918, in Leipzig. German physiologist.

Hering studied medicine in Leipzig (1853-58). He was a professor of physiology in Vienna, Prague, and Leipzig. His chief works were in the physiology of respiration, sense organs, and muscles. Hering proposed the hypothesis of light and color perception known as the “hypothesis of contrasting colors,” according to which light and color perception are the result of processes occurring in the retina of the eye, as well as in the visual centers of the brain. He distinguished four basic colors in the spectrum: red, yellow, green, and blue. According to him, a special color-sensitive substance in the eye corresponds to each pair of the basic colors. The combinations of assimilation and dissimilation of these substances produce the perception of one or another color. Hering gave an explanation for the phenomenon of contrast. In his speech “Memory as a Total Function of Organized Matter” (1870) he developed the notion of memory as a fundamental property of all living things, including the phenomena of organic reproduction and heredity. Hering based his views on psychophysical parallelism, according to which psychic and physical processes comprise two parallel lines of phenomena.


Die Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Vienna, 1878.
In Russian translation:
Prostranstvennoe chuvstvo i dvizhenie glaza. St. Petersburg, 1887.


Hillebrand, F. E. Hering. Berlin, 1918.


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