Ninth Edition CoverGraziano & Raulin
Research Methods (9th edition)

Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) was a German psychologist, who began to conduct experiments in human learning and memory not long after Wundt started his laboratory. 

Wundt had developed laboratory research in the study of consciousness, but had asserted that the higher mental processes (thinking, memory) could not be studied experimentally. Ebbinghaus, however, went right ahead and did just that. 

Fluent in German, English, and French, and with knowledge of Latin and Greek (Schultz & Schultz, 2008), Ebbinghaus was well prepared for his experiments in learning, using language syllables as stimuli. Because he wanted his verbal stimuli to be neutral, without any prior associations, Ebbinghaus invented what have become know as the nonsense syllable. The use of such stimuli became a mainstay of virtually all of the early research in thinking, and provided the means for a wealth of experimentation over many years. Strongly influenced by Fechner’s psychophysics, he applied careful measurement and mathematics to the study of higher mental processes. 

Ebbinghaus’ research in learning has been enormously influential in stimulating much of experimental psychology, and he is credited with creating the objective experimental study of higher mental processes.

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