Edward Thorndike

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Edward L. Thorndike
Born Edward Lee Thorndike
August 31, 1874(1874-08-31)
Williamsburg, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died August 9, 1949(1949-08-09) (aged 74)
Montrose, New York
Nationality American
Education Roxbury Latin, Wesleyan, Harvard, Columbia
Occupation Psychologist
Employer Teachers College, Columbia University
Known for Father of modern educational psychology
Title Professor
Religion Atheist [1]
Spouse Elizabeth Moulton (married August 29, 1900)

Ted Thorndike (Edward Lee Thorndike, August 31, 1874 – August 9, 1949) was an American psychologist who spent nearly his entire career at Teachers College, Columbia University. He worked on ethology and the learning process. This led to the theory of connectionism, and helped lay the scientific foundation for modern educational psychology.[1]

Thorndike also worked on industrial problems, such as employee exams and testing. He was a member of the board of the Psychological Corporation, and served as president of the American Psychological Association in 1912.[2][3]

Thorndike's law[change | edit source]

The law of effect basically states that “responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation”.[4]

Books[change | edit source]

Thorndike's textbooks were widely used in psychology courses for teacher training in the first part of the twentieth century.

  • 1903 Educational psychology. Lemcke & Buechner, New York. Revised and enlarged 1910, Teachers College, Columbia University. New York.
  • 1921 The teacher's word book. 1932 A teacher's word book of the twenty thousand words found most frequently and widely in general reading for children and young people. 1944 (with J.E. Lorge) The teacher's word book of 30,000 Words.
  • 1927 The measurement of intelligence. Teachers College, Columbia University. New York.
  • 1932 The fundamentals of learning. Teachers College, Columbia University. New York.

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Karier, Clarence J. (1986). Scientists of the mind: intellectual founders of modern psychology. University of Illinois Press.
  2. Saettler, L. Paul 2004, Evolution of American educational technology. IAP. ISBN 1593111398
  3. Zimmerman, Barry J.; Schunk, Dale H. (2003), Educational Psychology: A Century of Contributions, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, ISBN 0805836829
  4. Hergenhahn B.R. & Olson, Matthew H. 2005. An Introduction to the theories of learning. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-81-317-2056-1