Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Thorndike, Edward

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_376

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Basic Biographical Information

THORNDIKE, EDWARD LEE (August 31, 1874–August 9, 1949) might be regarded as the “father” of American learning psychology (Craighead and Nemeroff 2001) and published around 500 books and articles during his 55-year career (Plucker 2003). Thorndike taught that psychology should not focus on mental elements or conscious experience but should study behavior and his research and theories of learning or association propelled learning theory into a very important place in American psychology.

Thorndike was born in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, married Elizabeth Moulton on August 29, 1900, and had five children including Robert Lee Thorndike.

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in 1895 and then graduated from Harvard University, obtaining his Master’s degree in 1897 where he studied under William James and he began his animal research. In 1898, under James M. Cattell, Thorndike obtained his PhD at...

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  1. Craighead, W. E., & Nemeroff, C. B. (Eds.). (2001). Thorndike’s laws of learning. In The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science (Vol. 4, pp. 1692–1694). New York: John Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  2. Craighead, W. E., & Nemeroff, C. B. (Eds.). (2001). Thorndike, Edward Lee (1874–1949). In The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science (Vol. 4, p. 1692). New York, NY: John Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  3. Plucker, J. A. (Ed.). (2003). Human intelligence: Historical influences, current controversies, teaching resources. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://www.indiana.edu/~intell
  4. Woolfolk, A. (2004). Behavioral views of learning. In P. A. Smith (Ed.), Educational Psychology (p. 203). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, IncGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pace UniversityPlainviewUSA