Woodworth, Robert

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Woodworth, Robert


Born Aug. 17, 1869, near Boston; died July 4, 1962, in New York. American psychologist and one of the founders of functional psychology in the USA. Professor at Columbia University from 1909 to 1942.

At the beginning of the 20th century Woodworth was one of the first to establish that thinking is not exclusively the association of sense images but, rather, has its own nonsensory content. Subsequently he introduced a concept that he called dynamic psychology, whose main tasks he considered to be the study of why and how various forms of mental activity originate and are realized. Rejecting the basic “stimulus-response” framework of behaviorism, Wood-worth proposed to include in it an intermediate link—the organism and its situation sets. He developed a doctrine of motivation and its role in the processes of motor and intellectual activity. In the dynamics of behavior Woodworth distinguished two basic components—drives and mechanisms. This distinction has become firmly established in present-day psychology.


Dynamic Psychology. New York, 1918.
Dynamics of Behavior. New York, 1958.
Contemporary Schools of Psychology. London, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia. Moscow, 1950.


Iaroshevskii, M. G. Istoriia psikhologii. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 12.
Fraisse, P., and J. Piaget [comp.]. Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia: Sb. st., part 1. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 1. (Translated from French.)


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