Who is Edward Lee Thorndike?

Who is Edward Lee Thorndike?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Edward Lee ThoEdward Lee “Ted” Thorndike is an American psychologist known as the father of educational psychology.

He has conducted studies in the field of comparative psychology.

He put forward the proposition that “The bond established between sensory stimuli and activators forms the basis of learning” and explained this with the theory of coupling. With this theory, he brought a scientific approach to educational psychology. Thorndike also contributed to the solution of industrial problems by developing tests and exams related to employees. He was president of the American Psychiatric Association.

Born on August 31, 1874, in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Thorndike died on August 9, 1949, in Montrose, New York. He was the son of a priest. He studied linguistics at Wesleyan University, which he entered in 1891. He was deeply influenced by William James’s book The Principles of Psychology, which he read at the time, and entered Harvard University in 1895, when he graduated from the university, and started his specialization studies in psychology with William James. During the two years he spent there, he conducted numerous experiments on learning on animals. He earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1897 with the thesis that he demonstrated that caged cats learn to escape through trial and error when it comes to a reward. His thesis, which he published as a book under the title of Animal Intelligence (“Animal Intelligence”) in 1898, became a classic work on experimental method, comparative animal psychology and learning theory.

In 1899, Thorndike began teaching psychology at Columbia University, where he would train hundreds of teachers over the years, becoming professor of educational psychology in 1904. He served on the Staff Classification Committee of the US Army in 1917-1918 and conducted studies to measure the mental abilities of military personnel. In 1921, he was appointed director of the Institute for Educational Research at Teachers College. Thorndike, who was one of the first to apply psychology to mathematics, algebra, reading, writing, foreign language teaching and learning, participated in the discussions about what should be done for schools to teach more effectively, and his views were widely accepted. Despite his retirement in 1940, he continued his scientific studies until his death. Thorndike, who received honorary titles from various US and European universities and scientific societies throughout his life, was a member of the American National Academy of Sciences.

Also please see:

– Thorndike’s theory of learning

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook Who is rndike?