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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.467
PDF | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2016.4.04

Jüri Allik

According to a dominant view, Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) was the founder of modern psychiatry, but his contribution to the history of experimental psychology was insignificant. This interpretation contradicts Kraepelin’s own view during his stay in Tartu (1886–1891) because at that time he was more interested in psychology than in his not very satisfying clinical work. He also considered his research on the work curve to be his chief scientific contribution, not the distinction between schizophrenia and affective psychoses which is still valid in the modern classifications of mental disorders. In this paper, I analyse Kraepelin and his students’ contribution to four fields of psychology: pharmacopsychology, individual differences, sleep studies, and the work curve. In each of these four areas, Kraepelin and his students made important and pioneering contributions which, although initially recognized by contemporaries, were later gradually forgotten by more recent generation of researchers. I argue that the lack of recognition of Kraepelin’s psychological studies is unjustified because he, together with many of his associates, created these four branches of psychology, very much as Hermann Ebbinghaus created the experimental study of memory and Oswald Külpe created the experimental study of thinking.


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