Kurt Lewin

1211 Words5 Pages
Kurt Lewin Kurt Lewin was a great innovater at his time in the field of Psychology. The theories he developed, the methods of reserch he used and the people he influenced all have had a profound impact on Psychology and even more specifically on Social Psychology. Lewin was born in 1890 in what is now Poland but at the time was the Prussian province of Posen, in the village of Moglino and was the second of four children (Greathouse). His parents owned a general store, and a farm on the outskirts of the village. When Lewin was fifteen his family moved away from the small village, the farm and their store and went to Berlin. It was in Germany was where Lewin began his formal education, but like most people he was unsure of what he really wanted to study at first. In 1909 Lewin began attending the University of Frieberg where he started to study medicine. This did not interest him so he transferred to the University of Munich where he tried to study Biology. Again Lewin decided that this was not for him so he transferred for the last time, this time to the University of Berlin where his study of Philosophy and Psychology began (Frostburg). Lewin was said to have "found many of (the school's) department's courses in the grand tradition of Wundtian psychology irreverant and dull (Greathouse)." He would eventually receive his Ph.D. in the "experimental study of associative learning" at the University of Berlin in 1916 (Jones). Lewin was married twice in his life, the first time in 1917 to a schoolteacher named Maria Landsberg with whom he had the first two of his four children, but in 1927 they divorced. In 1929 he remarried to Gertrud Weiss who he had his third and fourth child with (Frostburg). But before Lewin actually received his degree, he served in the German Army during World War I. While in the service Lewin rose from the rank of private to Lieutenant and was wounded in battle (Jones). These experiences may have had a significant effect on his later research on group psychology. After the war in 1921 Lewin began work at the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin, where he had the opportunity to work with Wolfgan... ... middle of paper ... ... to speak where ever he went. Students and colleagues working under at different times and at different institutions have said that they felt like the were "doing important work (Patnoe pg. 15)." and there is very little that can provide for a better working environment then honest pride in one's work. Kurt Lewin's work in Child Psychology, Group Psychology, Social Psychology, the psychology of prejudice and his new methods of testing and retesting theories through Action Research were all groundbreaking at the time and continue to have their impact on the field today. But, Lewin was not only a genius in terms of his work in Psychology, he also had a great ability to make the people that he was working with better at their own work. Many of his students and colleagues went on to be some of the most influential minds in psychology. The group he worked with at MIT at the end of his life was especially influential. A study in 1984 showed that "eight of the ten most cited social psychologists are direct descendants of this line of researchers (Patnoe pg.11)." It is fair to say that Kurt Lewin was the father of modern Social Psychology.
Open Document