Who is Hermann Ebbinghaus?June 25, 2021
Ebbinghaus was born in Barmen, Germany, in 1850. At the age of 17 he entered the University of Bonn, where he developed his interest in philosophy. He reluctantly interrupted his education in 1870. He was enlisted in the Prussian army during the Franco-Prussian war. He continued his education a year later and received his diploma in 1873.
Ebbinghaus wrote a thesis on the unconscious during his education. Influenced by Gustav Fachner’s pioneering works, in which he adapted the experimental method to studies on sensations and perceptions, he became the first scientist to show that higher mental processes could be the subject of experimental studies by applying the same method to memory research.
To illustrate the insignificance of the effect of meaning on memory, he found nonsense syllables (zat, wob, fij) made up of the consonant-vowel-consonant triad that could be pronounced but were not a true word. He described the results of his careful and thorough experiments, in which he used himself as a subject, in his book Über das Gedachtnis (1885) On Memory.
He found the “Forgetting Curve” and showed that the sum of what was learned was directly proportional to the learning time. In 1897 he explained his theory of the perception of light and colors and introduced a new method of measuring intelligence.
Hermann Ebbinghaus died in 1909 in the city of Halle.
Hermann Ebbinghaus and Psychology
Ebbinghaus, as a self-employed and well-known psychologist, has done important work on mental processes. Ebbinghaus was also the first psychologist to experimentally study learning and memory.