Weiss, Albert Paul

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WEISS, ALBERT PAUL (1879–1931), psychologist and social philosopher, Weiss, who was born in Steingrund, Germany, went to the U.S. as a child. He spent most of his teaching and research career at Ohio State University. He was one of an important group in the U.S. who demanded an objective and natural science approach to all behavior, including human. Weiss held a reductionist view that psychology is a sector of biology, and biology ultimately a sector of physics, but he also especially emphasized the key role of social factors in determining human behavior. Terms such as "biosocial behavior" and "social status" were used by Weiss to describe the human being as a social reactor in a social context without compromising his belief in the physical nature of man, as well as of man's environment. Thus, even in his treatment of human learning and processes of behavior modification, Weiss dwelt more on social variables than on neurophysiological ones. Weiss sought to realize a mission for scientific psychology in practical human affairs, the goal being to achieve greater human welfare in a stable, rational, and peaceful society under the guidance of "behavioristic ethics." Weiss' major works include: A Theoretical Basis of Human Behavior (1925); and "Feeling and Emotion as Forms of Behavior," in: 1st International Symposium on Feelings and Emotions, 1927 (Wittenberg, 1928).

[William N. Schoenfeld]

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Weiss, Albert Paul

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