Kurt Lewin

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Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is "universally recognized as the founder of modern social psychology. He pioneered the use of theory, using experimentation to test hypothesis. He placed an everlasting significance on an entire discipline--group dynamics and action research."[1]

"Lewin was born in the village of Moglino in the Prussian province of Posen in 1890. He completed his requirements for a Ph.D. in 1914, at the outset of WWI. Two years later, in 1916, his degree from the University of Berlin was conferred. Lewin immigrated to the United States in 1933, where he became a citizen in 1940."[2]

"While at the University of Berlin, Lewin 'found many of the department's courses in the grand tradition of Wundtian psychology irrelevant and dull' (Hothersall, 1995, p.239). His thinking was changing to emphasize social psychological problems. He is well known for his term life space and work on group dynamics, as well as t-groups."[3]

"Lewin's commitment to applying psychology to the problems of society led to the development of the MIT Research Center for Group Dynamics. 'He wanted to reach beyond the mere description of group life and to investigate the conditions and forces which bring about change or resist it' (Marrow, 1969, p.178). Lewin believed in the field approach. For change to take place, the total situation has to be taken into account. If isolated facts are used, a misrepresented picture could develop."[4]

"Lewin authored over 80 articles and eight books on a wide range of issues in psychology. Although no prestigious university offered him an appointment, and the American Psychological Association never selected him for any assignment or appointed him to any committee of any significance, his everlasting presence has left him in the ranks of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner."[5]

Biographical information taken from Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) compiled by Julie Greathouse.

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947)

"If you want truly to understand something, try to change it"

"Kert Lewin was an American psychologist, Born in Germany. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1914. He taught at the University of Berlin before coming to the United States in 1932. He was professor (1935-44) of child psychology at the University of Iowa and director (from 1944) of the research center for group dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Influenced by Gestalt psychology, he was concerned with problems of motivation of individuals and of groups as determined by the context of a given situation. His work opened up a new realm of psychological investigation. His writings include A Dynamic Theory of Personality (tr. 1935), Principles of Topological Psychology (1936), The Conceptual Representation and Measurement of Psychological Forces (1938), and Resolving Social Conflicts (1947)."[6]

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