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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Wilhelm Wundt Quotes

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Wilhelm Wundt
(16 Aug 1832 - 31 Aug 1920)

German psychologist and physiologist who established the first laboratory for experimental psychology.


Science Quotes by Wilhelm Wundt (40 quotes)

>> Click for Wilhelm Wundt Quotes on | Mind | Physiology | Psychology |

...an idea is no more an even relatively constant thing than is a feeling or emotion or volitional process. There exist only changing and transient ideational processes; there are no permanent ideas that return again and disappear again.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
Science quotes on:  |  Constant (144)  |  Disappear (82)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Exist (444)  |  Feeling (252)  |  Idea (845)  |  More (2559)  |  Permanent (64)  |  Process (423)  |  Return (125)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Transient (12)

Child psychology and animal psychology are of relatively slight importance, as compared with the sciences which deal with the corresponding physiological problems of ontogeny and phylogeny.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Child (309)  |  Deal (188)  |  Importance (287)  |  Ontogeny (10)  |  Phylogeny (10)  |  Physiological (62)  |  Problem (679)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Science (3880)

Contractile movements arise, sometimes at the instigation of external stimuli but sometimes also in the absence of any apparent external influence.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Apparent (84)  |  Arise (158)  |  Influence (222)  |  Movement (155)  |  Stimulus (26)

Experimental psychology itself has, it is true, now and again suffered relapse into a metaphysical treatment of its problems.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Experimental (192)  |  Metaphysical (38)  |  Problem (679)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Relapse (5)  |  Treatment (130)

From the standpoint of observation, then, we must regard it as a highly probable hypothesis that the beginnings of the mental life date from as far back as the beginnings of life at large.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Back (391)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Large (394)  |  Life (1799)  |  Mental (177)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Must (1526)  |  Observation (560)  |  Regard (304)  |  Standpoint (28)

Hence, even in the domain of natural science the aid of the experimental method becomes indispensable whenever the problem set is the analysis of transient and impermanent phenomena, and not merely the observation of persistent and relatively constant objects.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Aid (97)  |  Analysis (234)  |  Become (815)  |  Constant (144)  |  Domain (69)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Merely (316)  |  Method (506)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Science (128)  |  Object (422)  |  Observation (560)  |  Persistent (18)  |  Problem (679)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Science (3880)  |  Set (394)  |  Transient (12)  |  Whenever (81)

Hence, wherever we meet with vital phenomena that present the two aspects, physical and psychical there naturally arises a question as to the relations in which these aspects stand to each other.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Arise (158)  |  Aspect (124)  |  Other (2236)  |  Physical (508)  |  Present (620)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Question (622)  |  Stand (274)  |  Two (937)  |  Vital (85)  |  Wherever (51)

Immediately after the separation of the formative materials into the two layers of the germ-primule, there appears in the ectoderm a groove, open above, at the bottom of which is a streak of darker tissue.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Embryo (28)  |  Germ (53)  |  Immediately (114)  |  Layer (40)  |  Material (353)  |  Open (274)  |  Separation (57)  |  Tissue (45)  |  Two (937)

In Aristotle the mind, regarded as the principle of life, divides into nutrition, sensation, and faculty of thought, corresponding to the inner most important stages in the succession of vital phenomena.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Aristotle (173)  |  Divide (76)  |  Inner (71)  |  Life (1799)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Most (1729)  |  Nutrition (23)  |  Principle (510)  |  Regard (304)  |  Sensation (57)  |  Stage (143)  |  Succession (77)  |  Thought (954)  |  Vital (85)

In the animal world, on the other hand, the process of evolution is characterised by the progressive discrimination of the animal and vegetative functions, and a consequent differentiation of these two great provinces into their separate departments.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Consequent (19)  |  Department (92)  |  Differentiation (25)  |  Discrimination (9)  |  Evolution (593)  |  Function (229)  |  Great (1575)  |  Other (2236)  |  Process (423)  |  Province (35)  |  Separate (143)  |  Two (937)  |  World (1778)

In the course of normal speaking the inhibitory function of the will is continuously directed to bringing the course of ideas and the articulatory movements into harmony with each other. If the expressive movement which which follows the idea is retarded through mechanical causes, as is the case in writing ... such anticipations make their appearance with particular ease.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Folk Psychology (1900)
Science quotes on:  |  Anticipation (18)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Cause (542)  |  Course (408)  |  Direct (225)  |  Expressive (6)  |  Follow (379)  |  Function (229)  |  Harmony (102)  |  Idea (845)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Movement (155)  |  Other (2236)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Speaking (119)  |  Through (849)  |  Will (2354)  |  Writing (189)

Many psychologists ... thought by turning their attention to their own consciousness to be able to explain what happened when we were thnking. Or they sought to attain the same end by asking another person a question, by means of which certain processes of thought would be excited, and then by questioning the person about the introspection he had made. It is obvious ... that nothing can be discovered in such experiments.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (74)  |  Attain (125)  |  Attention (191)  |  Certain (550)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Discover (553)  |  End (590)  |  Experiment (696)  |  Explain (322)  |  Happen (275)  |  Happened (88)  |  Introspection (5)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Obvious (126)  |  Person (363)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Question (622)  |  Thought (954)

Now the word-symbols of conceptual ideas have passed so long from hand to hand in the service of the understanding, that they have gradually lost all such fanciful reference.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Gradually (102)  |  Idea (845)  |  Long (789)  |  Pass (238)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Service (110)  |  Symbol (94)  |  Understanding (514)  |  Word (622)

Now, there are a very large number of bodily movements, having their source in our nervous system, that do not possess the character of conscious actions.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Action (328)  |  Character (243)  |  Do (1908)  |  Large (394)  |  Movement (155)  |  Nerve (79)  |  Nervous System (34)  |  Number (701)  |  Possess (156)  |  System (537)

On the other hand, ethnic psychology must always come to the assistance of individual psychology, when the developmental forms of the complex mental processes are in question.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Assistance (21)  |  Complex (188)  |  Form (960)  |  Individual (404)  |  Mental (177)  |  Must (1526)  |  Other (2236)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Question (622)

Our mind is so fortunately equipped, that it brings us the most important bases for our thoughts without our having the least knowledge of this work of elaboration. Only the results of it become unconscious.
— Wilhelm Wundt
cit. L.L. Whyte The Unconscious Before Freud (1960)
Science quotes on:  |  Base (117)  |  Become (815)  |  Elaboration (11)  |  Equipped (17)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Most (1729)  |  Result (678)  |  Thought (954)  |  Work (1351)

Philosophical reflection could not leave the relation of mind and spirit in the obscurity which had satisfied the needs of the naive consciousness.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Naive (13)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Reflection (91)  |  Spirit (265)

Physiological psychology is, therefore, first of all psychology.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  First (1284)  |  Physiological (62)  |  Psychology (154)

Physiological psychology, on the other hand, is competent to investigate the relations that hold between the processes of the physical and those of the mental life.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Investigate (103)  |  Life (1799)  |  Mental (177)  |  Other (2236)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physiological (62)  |  Psychology (154)

Physiology and psychology cover, between them, the field of vital phenomena; they deal with the facts of life at large, and in particular with the facts of human life.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Deal (188)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Facts (553)  |  Field (365)  |  Human (1470)  |  Large (394)  |  Life (1799)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Vital (85)

Physiology is concerned with all those phenomena of life that present them selves to us in sense perception as bodily processes, and accordingly form part of that total environment which we name the external world.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Concern (228)  |  Environment (216)  |  Form (960)  |  Life (1799)  |  Name (333)  |  Perception (97)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Present (620)  |  Sense (770)  |  Total (94)  |  World (1778)

Physiology seeks to derive the processes in our own nervous system from general physical forces, without considering whether these processes are or are not accompanied by processes of consciousness.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Derive (65)  |  Force (488)  |  General (511)  |  Nervous System (34)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Seek (213)  |  System (537)

Physiology, in its analysis of the physiological functions of the sense organs, must use the results of subjective observation of sensations; and psychology, in its turn, needs to know the physiological aspects of sensory function, in order rightly to appreciate the psychological.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (234)  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Aspect (124)  |  Function (229)  |  Know (1519)  |  Must (1526)  |  Observation (560)  |  Order (632)  |  Organ (115)  |  Physiological (62)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Psychological (42)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Result (678)  |  Sensation (57)  |  Sense (770)  |  Sensory (16)  |  Subjective (19)  |  Turn (447)  |  Use (766)

Psychological introspection goes hand in hand with the methods of experimental physiology. If one wants to put the main emphasis on the characteristic of the method, our science, experimental psychology, is to be distinguished from the ordinary mental philosophy [Seelenlehre], based purely on introspection.
— Wilhelm Wundt
In Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie [Principles of Physiological Psychology] (1874), 2-3. Trans. K. Damiger, Constructing the Subject: Historical Origins of Psychological Research (1990), 206.
Science quotes on:  |  Characteristic (148)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Experiment (696)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Introspection (5)  |  Mental (177)  |  Method (506)  |  Methods (204)  |  Ordinary (160)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Psychological (42)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Purely (110)  |  Science (3880)  |  Want (497)

Psychology must not only strive to become a useful basis for the other mental sciences, but it must also turn again and again to the historical sciences, in order to obtain an understanding for the more highly developed metal processes.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
Science quotes on:  |  Basis (173)  |  Become (815)  |  Develop (268)  |  Historical (70)  |  Mental (177)  |  Metal (84)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Obtain (163)  |  Order (632)  |  Other (2236)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Science (3880)  |  Turn (447)  |  Understanding (514)  |  Useful (250)

Psychology, on the other hand, seeks to give account of the interconnexion of processes which are evinced by our own consciousness, or which we infer from such manifestations of the bodily life in other creatures as indicate the presence of a consciousness similar to our own.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Creature (233)  |  Indicate (61)  |  Life (1799)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Other (2236)  |  Presence (63)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Seek (213)

Some say that everything that is called a psychical law is nothing but the psychological reflex of physical combinations, which is made up of sensations joined to certain central cerebral processes... It is contradicted by the fact of consciousness itself, which cannot possibly be derived from any physical qualities of material molecules or atoms.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (358)  |  Call (769)  |  Central (80)  |  Certain (550)  |  Combination (144)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Contradict (41)  |  Everything (476)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Law (895)  |  Material (353)  |  Molecule (174)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Physical (508)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Psychological (42)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Reflex (14)  |  Say (984)  |  Sensation (57)

The animal kingdom exhibits a series of mental developments which may be regarded as antecedents to the mental development of man, for the mental life of animals shows itself to be throughout, in its elements and in the general laws governing the combination of the elements, the same as the mental life of man.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Outline of Psychology (1902)
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Animal Kingdom (20)  |  Combination (144)  |  Development (424)  |  Element (310)  |  General (511)  |  Governing (20)  |  Kingdom (78)  |  Law (895)  |  Life (1799)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mental (177)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Regard (304)  |  Series (149)  |  Show (346)  |  Throughout (98)

The attitude of physiological psychology to sensations and feelings, considered as psychical elements, is, naturally, the attitude of psychology at large.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Attitude (82)  |  Consider (416)  |  Element (310)  |  Feeling (252)  |  Feelings (52)  |  Large (394)  |  Physiological (62)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Sensation (57)

The distinguishing characteristics of mind are of a subjective sort; we know them only from the contents of our own consciousness.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Characteristic (148)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Know (1519)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Subjective (19)

The endeavour to observe oneself must inevitably introduce changes into the course of mental events,—changes which could not have occurred without it, and whose usual consequence is that the very process which was to have been observed disappears from consciousness.
— Wilhelm Wundt
In Principles of Physiological Psychology (1873, 1904), Vol. 1, 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (595)  |  Consciousness (123)  |  Consequence (207)  |  Course (408)  |  Disappear (82)  |  Endeavor (67)  |  Endeavour (63)  |  Event (216)  |  Introduce (63)  |  Mental (177)  |  Must (1526)  |  Observation (560)  |  Observe (168)  |  Observed (149)  |  Oneself (33)  |  Process (423)

The general statement that the mental faculties are class concepts, belonging to descriptive psychology, relieves us of the necessity of discussing them and their significance at the present stage of our inquiry.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Belonging (37)  |  Class (164)  |  Concept (221)  |  Descriptive (17)  |  General (511)  |  Inquiry (79)  |  Mental (177)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Present (620)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Significance (113)  |  Stage (143)  |  Statement (142)

The materialistic point of view in psychology can claim, at best, only the value of an heuristic hypothesis.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Best (459)  |  Claim (146)  |  Heuristic (5)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Point (580)  |  Point Of View (82)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Value (368)  |  View (488)

The old metaphysical prejudice that man 'always thinks' has not yet entirely disappeared. I am myself inclined to hold that man really thinks very little and very seldom.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Disappear (82)  |  Inclined (41)  |  Little (708)  |  Man (2249)  |  Metaphysical (38)  |  Myself (212)  |  Old (480)  |  Prejudice (88)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Seldom (65)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thought (954)

The results of ethnic psychology constitute, at the same time, our chief source of information regarding the general psychology of the complex mental processes.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Chief (97)  |  Complex (188)  |  Constitute (97)  |  General (511)  |  Information (166)  |  Mental (177)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Result (678)  |  Time (1877)

The task of physiological psychology remains the same in the analysis of ideas that it was in the investigation of sensations: to act as mediator between the neighbouring sciences of physiology and psychology.
— Wilhelm Wundt
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There are other sources of psychological knowledge, which become accessible at the very point where the experimental method fails us.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Principles of Physiological Psychology (1904)
Science quotes on:  |  Accessible (25)  |  Become (815)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Fail (185)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Method (506)  |  Other (2236)  |  Point (580)  |  Psychological (42)  |  Psychology (154)

Thus ordered thinking arises out of the ordered course of nature in which man finds himself, and this thinking is from the beginning nothing more than the subjective reproduction of the regularity according to the law of natural phenomena. On the other hand, this reproduction is only possible by means of the will that controls the concatenation of ideas.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
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We know, from ordinary life, that we are not able to direct our attention perfectly steadily and uniformly to one and the same object... At times the attention turns towards the object most intensely, and at times the energy flags.
— Wilhelm Wundt
An Introduction to Psychology (1912)
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We speak of virtue, honour, reason; but our thought does not translate any one of these concepts into a substance.
— Wilhelm Wundt
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (221)  |  Honour (56)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Reason (744)  |  Speak (232)  |  Substance (248)  |  Thought (954)  |  Translate (19)  |  Virtue (109)


See also:
  • 16 Aug - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Wundt's birth.
  • Wilhelm Wundt in History: The Making of a Scientific Psychology, by David K. Robinson. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
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