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A Source Book in the History of Psychology

A Source Book in the History of Psychology

Edited by Richard J. Herrnstein and Edwin G. Boring

ISBN 9780674824102

Publication date: 01/01/1965

This is a source book unique in its scope, clarity, and general interest. Its 116 excerpts range in time from Epicurus (ca. 300 B.C.) to the turn of the twentieth century and sometimes, when continuity requires, a little beyond (as to K. S. Lashley, 1929). It includes excerpts from Kepler (1604) on the inverted retinal image, Descartes (1650) on the soul's interaction with the machine of the body, Newton (1675) on the seven colors of the spectrum, Locke (1700) on association of ideas, Whytt (1751) on the spinal reflex, Weber (1834) on Weber's law, Darwin (1859) on evolution, Sechenov (1863) on reflexology, Hughlings Jackson (1884) on nervous dissolution, William James (1890) on associationism, Thorndike, Pavlov, Wertheimer, Watson, and 70 other great figures in the history of psychology.

Arranged by topic rather than in the usual strict chronological order, each of the first fourteen chapters traces the development of one important subject in experimental and quantitative psychology. The final chapter discusses the history of thinking about the nature of psychology itself. The editors provide an introduction to each chapter and each excerpt, indicating the significance of the content to follow and establishing historical continuity.


  • More than a quarter of the articles are translated into English for the first time. A fine, well-balanced contribution to the history of psychology.

    —Scientific American


  • Richard J. Herrnstein was Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
  • Edwin G. Boring was Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 658 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Press