Théodule-Armand Ribot

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ribot, Théodule-Armand


Born Dec. 18, 1839, in Guingamp; died Dec. 9, 1916, in Paris. French psychologist and founder of the experimental school of French psychology.

Ribot became a professor at the Sorbonne in 1885. In 1888 he was named a professor at the Collège de France, where in 1889 he became director of the first psychology laboratory in France. He founded and edited Revue philosophique, the first psychology journal in France, and served as chairman of the First International Congress of Psychology, held in Paris in 1889.

Ribot publicly opposed the spiritualism of V. Cousin and the eclectic school, the school that dominated French philosophy and psychology in the mid-19th century. He critically analyzed the basic trends in the psychology of his time: English psychology with its associationism (Modern English Psychology, 1870; Russian translation, 1881) and German psychology with its atomism (Modern German Psychology, 1879; Russian translation, 1895). On the basis of his analysis, he attempted to formulate a program for a new experimental psychology that would study higher mental processes and personality as a whole. Unlike W. Wundt, Ribot had in mind first and foremost the psychopathological “experiment”: “Disease is a most subtle experiment, performed by nature herself under precisely determined circumstances and by methods that human art does not have at its disposal” (Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia, fases. 1-2, 1966, p. 49). This largely determined the character of the entire tradition in French psychology deriving from Ribot, represented by P. Janet, G. Dumas, C. Blondel, H. Wallon, A. Ombredane, G. Poyer, D. Lagache, and J. Favez-Boutonier. Ribot became especially famous for his motor theory of voluntary attention and imagination and his works on the psychology of the senses; these works exerted a notable influence on W. MacDougall and other British psychologists.


La Vie inconsciente et les mouvements. Paris, 1914.
In Russian translation:
Nasledstvennost’ dushevnykh svoistv. St. Petersburg, 1884.
Pamiat’ v ee normal’nom i boleznennom sostoianiiakh. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Volia v ee normal’nom i boleznennom sostoianiiakh. St. Petersburg, 1916.
Bolezni lichnosti. St. Petersburg, 1895.
Kharakter. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Psikhologiia vnimaniia, 3rd ed. St. Petersburg, 1897.
Evoliutsiia obshchikh idei. Moscow, 1898.
Filosofiia Shopengauera. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Affektivnaia pamiat’. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Opyt issledovaniia tvorcheskogo voobrazheniia. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Psikhologiia chuvstv. St. Petersburg, 1898.
Logika chuvstv. St. Petersburg, 1905.
O strastiakh. Odessa, 1912.


Tutundzhian, O. M. “T. Ribo.” Voprosy psikhologii, 1961, no. 2.
Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia. Edited and compiled by P. Fraisse and J. Piaget, fases. 1–2. Moscow, 1966. Pages 46–56.
Dugas, L. La Philosophie Th. Ribot. Paris, 1924.


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