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Katz, David


KATZ, DAVID (1884–1953), German psychologist. Born in Kassel, Katz studied at various universities including Goettingen, where he worked under Georg Elias Mueller and taught until the outbreak of World War i, when he served in the army. In 1919 Katz was appointed to the newly established chair of psychology and pedagogy at the University of Rostock which, under his direction, became one of the leading centers for psychological research in Germany. In 1933 he was dismissed by the Nazis, and for four years he was supported as a refugee scientist in England, first in Manchester and then in London. In 1937 he was appointed to the chair of psychology and pedagogy in Stockholm, where he developed a productive psychological laboratory.

He was one of the pioneers in experimental phenomenology. As Katz presented it, it was an attempt to bring under experimental control all the phenomena of experience. He is best known for the distinction he made between surface colors and film colors, and his work on touch paralleled his work on color. His interests ranged widely and he is also remembered for his contributions to animal psychology, child psychology, the psychology of thinking, and psychological instrumentation. Among his many publications, the most important are Der Aufbau der Farbwelt (1930; The World of Colour, 1935), originally published in 1911 in: Zeitschrift fuer Psychologie und Physiologie, as "Die Erscheinungsweisen der Farben"; Der Aufbau des Tastwelt (1925); together with Rosa Katz, Gespraeche mit Kindern (1928; Conversations with Children, 1936); Animals and Men (1937, 19532); and Gestaltpsychologie (1944; Gestalt Psychology, 1950).


R.B. MacLeod, in: iess, 8 (1968), 352–4, includes bibliography; S. Kaznelson (ed.), Juden im deutschen Kulturbereich (19623), 286, 289; History of Psychology in Autobiography, 4 (1952), 189–211. add. bibliography: ndb, vol. 11 (1977), 332f.

[Robert B. MacLeod]

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