Edward Thorndike Psychology

Satisfactory Essays
Edward L. Thorndike (1874-1949)
Charles Vattimo
PSY 101 Wed
January 22, 2014
William Post

Edward L. Thorndike (1874-1949)
Edward Lee Thorndike was born in Massachusetts on August 31, 1874. He earned his education and degrees at Wesleyan University, Harvard, and Columbia University. In his lifetime, Thorndike had multiple honors and awards bestowed upon him for his contributions to science. Remarkably, while he has majorly influenced educational methods in the United States, Thorndike’s choice to follow a career in psychology drove from the opportunities presented more than his desires.
At Wesleyan University, Edward Thorndike’s junior year psychology course was merely a requirement for completing his degree and claimed it offered no spark of inspiration. The desire to pursue psychology came later through required readings from chapters in William James’ book Principles of Psychology. After graduation from Wesleyan University, an opportunity presented itself to Thorndike to work under James at Harvard for his graduate degree. He continued his education under the supervision of James McKeen Catell at Columbia University and in 1898 completed his Ph.D..
Thorndike’s time in college and career did not pass without noticeable contribution or recognition. Galef (1998) wrote, “Thorndike's methods are so widely used in the behavioral sciences today that it is difficult to imagine that they once needed a champion” (p. 1129). During Thorndike’s time in Harvard, he developed theories from observing behaviors exhibited by animals. Thorndike found the animals used in his puzzle box tests demonstrated less insight than repeating accidental events in realizing ways to exit. This trial and error learning written in Thorndike’s dissertatio...

... middle of paper ... include, for example, history, anthropology, economics, linguistics, and the fine arts, and connect them with biochemistry and biophysics?” (p. 270). This inquiry further illustrates the scope of Thorndike’s impact.
Galef, B. (1998). Edward Thorndike: Revolutionary psychologist, ambiguous biologist. American Psychologist, 53(10), 1128-1134. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.53.10.1128
Gates, A. (1949). Edward L. Thorndike: 1874-1949. Psychological Review, 56(5), 241-243. doi:10.1037/h0062782
Prakash, J. (n.d.). Brief notes on the Thorndike’s Laws of Learning. Retrieved from Preserve Articles:
Thorndike, E., & Murchison, C. (1936). Edward Lee Thorndike. In C. Murchison (Ed.), A history of psychology in autobiography volume III (pp. 263-270). Clark University Press. doi:10.1037/11247-011