Skip to main content

Ebbinghaus, Hermann


German psychologist, pioneer in the experimental investigation of memory, b. Barmen, Jan. 24, 1850; d. Halle, Feb. 26, 1909. He took his doctorate at Bonn with a dissertation on the philosophy of the unconscious of E. von hartmann in 1873. Later, while studying privately, he chanced upon a copy of the Elemente der Psychophysik of G. T. Fechner and at once began to adapt Fechner's method to the measurement of learning and memory. He first used himself as a subject and 2,300 nonsense syllables of his own invention for material; later he verified his results and published them in Ueber das Gedächtnis (Leipzig 1885). At this time he was at Berlin where, as assistant professor, he founded a psychological laboratory in 1886. Ebbinghaus is memorable also for the construction of a completion test, the type destined for long use in intelligence testing. In 1890, with Arthur König, he founded the Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane (Leipzig). He wrote two highly successful books, a general text, Die Grundzüge der Psychologie (Leipzig 1902), and a shorter work, Abriss der Pscychologie (Leipzig 1908). His treatise on memory is considered by some as the original impetus for more research in psychology than any other single study.

Bibliography: e.g. boring, A History of Experimental Psychology (New York 1950). r. i. watson, The Great Psychologists (Philadelphia 1963).

[m. g. keckeissen]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ebbinghaus, Hermann." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 14 Aug. 2018 <>.

"Ebbinghaus, Hermann." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (August 14, 2018).

"Ebbinghaus, Hermann." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 14, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.