21 Facts About Hermann Ebbinghaus


Hermann Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory, and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and the spacing effect.


Hermann Ebbinghaus was the first person to describe the learning curve.


Hermann Ebbinghaus was the father of the neo-Kantian philosopher Julius Ebbinghaus.


In 1902, Hermann Ebbinghaus published his next piece of writing entitled Die Grundzuge der Psychologie.


Hermann Ebbinghaus's last published work, Abriss der Psychologie was published six years later, in 1908.


Shortly after this publication, on 26 February 1909, Hermann Ebbinghaus died from pneumonia at the age of 59.


Hermann Ebbinghaus was determined to show that higher mental processes could actually be studied using experimentation, which was in opposition to the popularly held thought of the time.

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The most important one was that Hermann Ebbinghaus was the only subject in his study.


Hermann Ebbinghaus made several findings that are still relevant and supported to this day.


The learning curve described by Hermann Ebbinghaus refers to how fast one learns information.


Hermann Ebbinghaus had documented the serial position effect, which describes how the position of an item affects recall.


Hermann Ebbinghaus described the difference between involuntary and voluntary memory, the former occurring "with apparent spontaneity and without any act of the will" and the latter being brought "into consciousness by an exertion of the will".


Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered sentence completion exercises, which he developed in studying the abilities of schoolchildren.


Hermann Ebbinghaus influenced Charlotte Buhler, who studied language meaning and society.


Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered an optical illusion now known as the Hermann Ebbinghaus illusion, based on relative size perception.


Hermann Ebbinghaus arranged his paper on memory into four sections: the introduction, the methods, the results, and the discussion.


Shortly after Hermann Ebbinghaus left Berlin in 1893, Dilthey published a paper extolling the virtues of descriptive psychology, and condemning experimental psychology as boring, claiming that the mind was too complex, and that introspection was the desired method of studying the mind.


Many had seen Dilthey's work as an outright attack on experimental psychology, Hermann Ebbinghaus included, and he responded to Dilthey with a personal letter and a long scathing public article.


Charlotte Buhler echoed his words some forty years later, stating that people like Hermann Ebbinghaus "buried the old psychology in the 1890s".


Hermann Ebbinghaus explained his scathing review by saying that he could not believe that Dilthey was advocating the status quo of structuralists like Wilhelm Wundt and Titchener and attempting to stifle psychology's progress.


The one influence that has always been cited as having inspired Hermann Ebbinghaus was Gustav Fechner's two-volume Elemente der Psychophysik.