Narziss Ach

Ach, Narziss


Born Oct. 29, 1871, in Ermershausen; died July 25, 1946, in Munich. German psychologist, representative of the Würzburg School. Professor at Berlin, Königsberg, and Göttingen.

In opposition to views widespread at that time which regarded thought processes as controlled by the laws of association, Ach set forth the idea of “determining tendencies.” In accordance with this theory, thought is determined by the set, produced by the problem which the individual is trying to solve. This idea facilitated the development of the investigation of thought as problem solving; it had an influence on D. N. Uznadze’s development of the theory of set. Ach created a methodology for the experimental formation of concepts. Subjects being tested were given a certain complex of characteristics, such as size, form, and color, each of which was designated by a nonsense syllable, and research was done to determine how these designations began to perform the function of concepts. This methodology was perfected later on by L. S. Vygotskii.


Über die Willenstatigkeit und das Denken. Göttingen, 1905.
Über die Begriffsbildung. Bamberg, 1921.
Über die Determinationspsychologie. London, 1933.
Analyse des Willens. Berlin, 1935.


Krognus, A. A. “Viurtsburgskaia shkola eksperimental’nogo is-sledovaniia myshleniia i ee znachenie.” In the collection Novye idei v filosofii, collection 16. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Iaroshevskii, M. G. Istoriia psikhologii. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 12.