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History of the Society

One of our main aims is to develop a comprehensive online history of the British Psychological Society, covering its professional, academic and institutional evolution over the years.

If you are interested in learning more about the Society's origins and development, a good starting point would be to to consult the following article

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On 24 October 1901 a group of 10 people met at University College, London to form a psychological society, which became the British Psychological Society in 1906:

Robert Armstrong-Jones was born at Ynyscynhaiarn, Caernarvonshire, the son of the Revd Thomas Jones, a Congregationalist minister. In 1873 he went to Grove Park School, Wrexham, and to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, obtaining in 1875 his London matriculation.

For six months he was apprenticed to Dr R. Roberts at Portmadoc and entered Bart’s in 1876. He became Prosector in Anatomy and won the Wix Essay Prize and the Hichens Prize after an examination in Butler’s Analogy of Religion.

He left Bart’s in 1880, having obtained his LSA. and London M.B. He spent the next two years, 1880-82, as Junior Medical Officer at the Royal Earlswood Institution.

In 1883 he obtained the London M.D. From 1882 to 1888 he was on the staff of Colney Hatch Asylum and in 1888 became Medical Superintendent of the Royal Earlswood Institution, where he stayed for six years. In 1885 he obtained his FRCS. In 1893 he became the First Medical Superintendent of the new London County Council Asylum at Claybury. Claybury was the first asylum under municipal control to receive private patients, under the Lunacy Act of 1890. Here he organised the teaching of mental nurses and instituted special courses for them the first asylum under the LCC to do so. In 1900 he obtained his membership of the Royal College of Physicians, and in 1907 his FRCP. In 1917 he resigned from Claybury and in that year also he was knighted.

In 1893 he was Secretary of the Psychology Section of the British Medical Association at Newcastle-on-Tyne. With Frederick Eustace Batten (1864-1918) he was joint secretary of the Psychology Section of the Second International Congress of School Hygiene, London, in 1907. In 1903 he was host to a meeting of the British Psychological Society at Claybury and read a paper on ‘Various types of insanity’.

During the 1914-18 War he was the first consulting physician in Mental Diseases to the London Command and later this included the Aldershot Command. In 1929 he was Henderson Trust Lecturer in the University of Edinburgh on "The Growth of the Mind" and also served on the Special Committee to Consider Spiritual Healing appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (1920). He was Lecturer in Mental Diseases at St Bartholomew’s and Westminster Hospitals and Gresham Professor of Physic, 1917-27.

He wrote Textbook of Mental and Sick Nursing (1907) and articles on insanity for Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine and for Allbutt’s System of Medicine.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Sophie Bryant was born on 15 February 1850, the daughter of Dr William Willock, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, mathematician and clergyman. In 1868 her father became Professor of Geometry at the University of London.

She never attended a school, having occasional governesses for French and German. At 16 she won the Arnott Scholarship to Bedford College, and was later placed alone in the first class at the Senior Cambridge Local Examination, obtaining distinction in mathematics.

This was six years after the University of Cambridge first opened its mathematics examination to girls.

In 1869 she married a Hampshire doctor, many years her senior. A year later she was widowed.

In 1875 Miss Frances Mary Buss offered her a part-time post to teach mathematics and German at the North London Collegiate School. Here she remained, becoming Head Mistress from 1895 to 1918.

In 1881 she obtained her BSc degree, first class, and first place in mental and moral science and second place in mathematics. In 1884 she obtained the London degree of DSc in physiology, logic and ethics, the first woman to do so. She was later an active member of Convocation and of the Senate of the University, served on the Council of the London Day Training College and as a manager of the Goldsmiths’ Training College. In 1904 the University of Dublin conferred on her the honorary degree of LittD. She had been active in the movement which created the National University of Ireland and in the Home Rule Movement, and had contributed to Celtic studies.

On 14 August 1922, aged 72, she disappeared on a lonely walk from Montanoyt to Chamonix. Twelve days later her body was found, with only minor injuries, on the lower slopes of Mont Blanc.

Dr Bryant wrote several books and articles on educational topics. Bernard Shaw, an intimate friend of her youth, wrote: ‘…she had a literary style that outdid George Eliot’s, but fiction was not in her line.’ She collaborated with J. McKeen Cattell on ‘Mental association investigated by experiment’, Mind, 14, 249-50 (1889). Three years earlier she had written on ‘Experiments in testing the character of school children’, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 15, 338-49 (1886). She took part in the first experiments on digit span, which were reported by J. Jacobs in Mind, 12, 75-9 (1886). She shared in the early application of the correlation coefficient to biological material. Using W.F.R. Weldon’s data from measurements of shrimps, she wrote ‘An example in "correlation of averages" for four variables’, Philosophical Magazine Series 5, 36, 372-77 (1893). Dr Bryant was a member of the first committee of five members of the [British] Psychological Society.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

W.R. Boyce Gibson, son of the Revd William Gibson, Wesleyan minister, was born in Paris and lived there till he entered Kingswood School, Bath, in 1882.

In 1887 he won an open scholarship to Queen’s College, Oxford. Here he had Jeremy Bentham’s old rooms.

He studied mathematics 1888-1893, with a view to astronomy. He took a second class and proxime accessit for the Taylorian Scholarship.

For a brief period he was mathematics master at Clifton College, and then from 1893 to 1895 was in France and Germany.

In Jena he studied with Eucken and Liebmann, and in Paris worked with Emile Boutrollx. For the latter he wrote a treatise on ‘La géométrie de Descartes au point de vue de sa méthode’. This was later published in abridged form in Revue Métaphysique et Morale.

In 1895-97 he studied in Glasgow under Adamson and Henry Jones. During the next decade he was lecturer in logic, psychology and ethics at Hackney, Regent’s Park, Westfield and New Colleges, London. During 1910-11 he was lecturer in philosophy, University of Liverpool, and in 1912 succeeded Henry Laurie, Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, Australia, remaining in the chair until 1934. It was in this department at Melbourne that the university teaching of psychology began in Victoria. Under Professor Laurie it was a minor branch, in one year, of mental philosophy.* Later it became a sub-department and after the Second World War a chair was established with the appointment of Professor O.A. Oeser.

Boyce Gibson’s writings include articles and books on philosophy, psychology, ethics and logic and the relations between them. He also did a considerable amount of translation from the German (e.g. Husserl’s Ideas).

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

* Latham. J.G. (1957). Psychology sixty years ago in Melbourne. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 31, 33-34.

Frank Noel Hales was born at Saumur in the Loire Valley. His father, Benjamin Hales, owned a mill In France, probably at Sable.

He was educated in France until the age of 14, and then in Germany and in London. During the early 1900s the family lived in Surrey.

He matriculated to Cambridge in 1897, was admitted as a pensioner at Trinity College in June 1897, an exhibitor in 1898 and a scholar in 1900.

He graduated BA in 1900, having obtained a first class in the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1899. His examiners included James Ward (1843-1925), Carveth Read (1848-1931) and G.F. Stout (1860-1944).

He was awarded the Allen Scholarship in 1902. At this period the scholarship was awarded in alternate years for literary and scientific subjects. At the second scientific meeting of the [British] Psychological Society, 3 May 1902, he, read a paper on ‘A contribution to the analysis of the process of comparison’. James Ward and W.H.R. Rivers were the other two speakers. At the meeting of 6 December 1902, he read a paper on ‘The fluctuation of the dream image’.

He published in the first volume of the British Journal of Psychology, 205-39 (1904-5), ‘Materials for the psycho-genetic theory of comparison’. This was partly based on a questionnaire which he sent to France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

He was a good linguist and, prior to 1905, was invited to accompany members of the Rothschild family on a tour of Europe and to tutor one of the sons. In 1907 he migrated to Canada, lived in Montreal and later, after attempting to carry on work as a psychologist, became a successful fruit farmer In British Columbia, where he died on 14 October 1952.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

William McDougall was born at Chadderton, Lancashire. At 14 he was sent to Weimar and attended the Realgymnasium for a year.

A year later he began a four-year course at Owens College, Manchester, obtaining a BSc wIth first class honours. He specialised in geology in the final year.

He entered St John’s College, Cambridge in May 1890 and obtained a first class in both parts of the Natural Sciences Tripos, having studied physiology, anatomy and anthropology for part II.

He obtained his BA. in 1894, MB, BChir and MA in 1897, and in November 1897 a fellowship at St John’s College, Cambridge.

He then went to a house appointment at St Thomas’s Hospital, and in 1898. at the invitation of A.C. Haddon (1855-1940), went as a member of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits (1898-99). Later he left the main party and spent a period with Dr Charles Hose in Borneo, and then shared with him the authorship of Pagan Tribes of Borneo (1912).

Back in Cambridge, he attended lectures by Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) and James Ward (1843-1925). On the latter’s advice, he went for a year (1900) to G.E. Muller (1850-1934) in Göttingen, working mainly on colour vision. He then returned to England and was appointed to a post in Sully’s department at University College London, where he taught experimental psychology from 1900 to 1906. Dr May Smith said: ‘During this time he used to hold informal discussions in his laboratory and gathered there a small group of people interested in psychology. This group formed the nucleus of the British Psychological Society.’ He lived at Haslemere, Surrey, setting up a laboratory and working for four years with experiments on vision.

From 1904 to 1920 he was Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy at Oxford, and for the first two years combined the post with his University College work. In 1912 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. His certificate of a candidate for election is in the handwriting of C. S. Sherrington.

In 1920 he went as Professor of Psychology to Harvard University, succeeding Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916), and in 1927 he moved to Duke University where he remained till his death.

McDougall made his first purely psychological contribution in three papers ‘A contribution towards an improvement in psychological method’ in Mind, 7, 15-33, 159-78, 364-87, 1898. In 1905 he published Physiological Psychology and in 1908Social Psychology. Between 1921 and 1938 he published 13 books.

McDougall was a member of the first committee of five of the [British] Psychological Society and an original member of the Medical Section; he was also Treasurer of the Society for two separate periods. In 1934 he was elected an Honorary Member of the British Psychological Society.

A list of McDougall’s writings is published in the Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, 3, 39-62 (1939-41).

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Sir Frederick Walter Mott was born at Brighton.

He graduated in 1881 from University College Medical School with MB, BS, first class, and as university scholar and gold medallist in forensic medicine.

Among his contemporaries were W.D. Halliburton (1860-1931), V. Horsley (1852-1916), Sidney Martin and Leonard Hill. He also spent a period mixing with foreign postgraduate medical workers, studying pathology in Vienna.

In 1883 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physiology at Liverpool, and left this post in 1884 to lecture on physiology at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School. In 1886 he obtained his MD and MRCP. In 1890 he became Assistant Physician to Charing Cross Hospital and in 1894 full Physician, and began lecturing first on general pathology and then on neurology.

In 1893 he published his first independent noteworthy research on the spinal cord of the monkey and the immediate and remote effects of hemisection, Philosohical Transactions B, Vol. 183. This had been preceded by work with E.A. Sharpey-Schafer, with Victor Horsley, with Leonard Hill, with W.D. Halliburton and later with C.S. Sherrington on cortical localisation in the gibbon.

In 1895 he was appointed Pathologist to the Central Laboratory of the London County Council Asylum at Claybury, though he retained connection with Charing Cross, and began his special studies of the pathology of the nervous system in relation to the psychoses, especially general paralysis. Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) had proclaimed its syphilitic origin, but this view was at that time accepted by a minority of psychiatrists. In his ‘The aetiology and pathology of general paralysis’ Mott, by analysing a vast amount of clinical and anatomical evidence, irrefutably demonstrated, in the days before Wassermann, the link with syphilis. The paper was published in the Archives of Neurology, Vol. 1 (1900), which he founded. In 1896 he was elected an FRS.

His inquiries into the bacteriology of hospital dysentery and tuberculosis led to reforms in hygiene in mental hospitals and enormous reduction of mortality from these diseases. His Croonian Lectures in 1900, Degeneration of the Neurone, are a record of one of the first attempts to seek for the products of nervous disintegration in the living body. During the 1914-18 war, he was consultant neurologist to the Fourth London General Hospital, King’s College, and to the Maudsley Hospital, which was attached to it. He published a book and several papers on ‘shell shock’. He devoted the Lettsomian Lectures of 1916 to ‘The effect of high explosives on the nervous system’ and the Chadwick Lecture m 1917 to ‘Mental hygiene in shell shock during and after the war’.

In 1923 he became Honorary Director of the Joint Board of Research for Mental Diseases, City and University of Birmingham, and Lecturer in Morbid Psychology at Birmingham University 1923-26.

In 1925 he gave the Harveian Oration and in 1926 a second Chadwick Lecture on ‘Heredity in relation to mental diseases and mental deficiency’. He played an important role in the establishment of the Maudsley Hospital, influencing the London County Council to establish well-equipped clinical laboratories in each of the mental hospitals that were to be constructed in close connection with and to some extent under the supervision of the central laboratory at the Maudsley. He was also one of the chief agents in establishing postgraduate training in psychiatry (the DPM) at the University of London.

He addressed the British Psychological Society on several occasions, beginning with ‘Bilateral cortical lesion, causing deafness and aphasia’ at the meeting held at Claybury in 1903.

A bibliography is published in Contributions to Psychiatry, Neurology and Sociology, dedicated to the late Sir Frederick Mott (London: H.K. Lewis, 1929).

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

W.H.R. Rivers, son of the Revd Henry Frederick Rivers of St Faith’s, Maidstone, was educated at Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, Kent, 1877-80.

In 1882 he went to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and, in 1886, he graduated MB of the University of London.

He went as ship’s surgeon to Japan and America in 1887, and returned to be Medical Officer at Chichester Hospital 1888. In 1889 he went to Bart’s under Dr Gee as House Physician.

In March 1890 he took a resident post at the National Hospital, Queen Square, worked with Hughlings Jackson (1835-1911), and Victor Horsley (1852-1916), and there met Henry Head (1861-1940), who had just returned from his studies With Ewald Hering (1834-1918) in Prague.

He resigned in 1891 and spent the summer in Jena attending lectures by Eucken, Ziehen and Binswanger, returning in 1892 to become clinical assistant at the Bethlem Hospital and to lecture in experimental psychology at University College London at the invitation, in 1893, of Professor James Sully.

In 1893 he was invited to Cambridge by Professor Michael Foster (1836-1907) to lecture on the physiology of the senses and in 1897 was appointed University Lecturer in the Physiology of the Senses and Experimental Psychology. In 1907 this lectureship was supressed and replaced by two separate lectureships; one in the physiology of the senses, occupied by Rivers till 1916, the other in experimental psychology, which C.S. Myers held from 1907 to 1921.

In 1893, prior to taking up the Cambridge appointment, he went to Heidelberg and worked with Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926). In 1896 they published a joint article on fatigue and recovery.

In 1898 he was a member of the Torres Straits Expedition, being the first to be invited by A.C. Haddon (1855-1940). His work at University College was carried on by E.T. Dixon (1862-1935). Rivers collected social data and was in charge of experimental psychology, especially investigating vision. In 1900 he wrote the chapter on vision in E.A. Schafer’s A Textbook of Physiology Vol. 2 (pp.1026-1148). In 1902 he was in India engaged on field work, which was published as The Todas (1906). In an article by Rivers on The Todas in the British Journal of Psychology (December 1905) the standard deviation was first used in the journal.

In 1905 with Head and Sherren, he published the first account of their experimental nerve severing: Brain, 28, 99-115. In 1908 he was in Melanesia chiefly in Western Samoa. In this year he was elected an FRS, and in 1915 was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society ‘on the ground of his important contributions to Ethnography and Ethnology’. In 1913 he visited the USA and prepared for the Smithsonian Institution a ‘Report on Anthropological Research outside America’.

In March 1915 he returned from a second trip to Melanesia, and in July 1915 he was appointed to the Red Cross Military Hospital at Maghull, Lancashire. In 1916 he went to Craiglockhart Hospital for Officers, Edinburgh, and in 1917 became Consultant Psychologist to the Royal Flying Corps. He returned in 1919 to Cambridge, to his fellowship at St John’s and as Praelector in Natural Science.

In 1922 just before his death he accepted the invitation to become Labour candidate to represent the University of London in the House of Commons.

Rivers assisted James Ward to found and edit the British Journal of Psychology. A full list of his writings is published in Man, 22 (1922). He was a friend of Arnold Bennett, Siegfried Sassoon, Frank Swinnerton and Robert Graves.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

See also (members only) 'William Halse Rivers' by Graham Richards

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Alexander Faulkner Shand was educated at Eton and Cambridge. After graduating in the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1881 he took up residence in Edwardes Place, Kensington, where he lived till his death.

He became a barrister at Law, Lincoln’s Inn, in 1887, but he never practised or held any academic post.

In the period 1888-91 he published in Mind on the theory of knowledge and metaphysics and in 1894-97 on psychological topics, especially on the psychology of feeling and will.

In one of these he introduced his definition of ‘sentiment’. In 1914 he published Foundations of Character, which had a second edition in 1920 and a third in 1937. Prior to his death he was working on its second volume, but his manuscript was too incomplete for publication.

A.F. Shand was the first Secretary and Treasurer of the British Psychological Society. In 1907 he was appointed to the British Association subcommittee on psychology. He addressed the British Psychological Society on several occasions, for example in the 1922 symposium ‘The Relations of Complex and Sentiment’. In the early days of the Society he often acted as host at the dinners that accompanied the meetings.

Shand was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1929.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

See also the obituary published in the British Journal of Psychology (members only).

William George Smith was educated at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh.

He graduated MA in 1889 at the University of Edinburgh with first class honours in philosophy and philosophical scholarships, and became Assistant in Moral Philosophy in 1889-91 under Professor Henry Calderwood.

In the summer of 1893 he was awarded a PhD. at the University of Leipzig, one of the few British psychologists to complete extensive studies under Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920).

While on the Continent he studied also under Goltz (1834-1902) at Strasbourg, Flechsig at Leipzig and Munsterberg (1863-1916) at Freiburg. His doctorate thesis was on "Mediate association of ideas’. Külpe was one of his observers. In the spring and summer of 1895 he worked in Münsterberg’s laboratory at Harvard, and in the autumn of 1895 became Associate Professor of Philosophy at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Here he extended the teaching of psychology and opened a laboratory.

Returning to England he took charge, in 1901, of the newly established Department of Experimental Psychology in connection with the Pathological Laboratory of the London County Council Asylum at Claybury. His research here on association and memory was published in Archives of Neurology, 2, 767-805 (1903). At the first scientific meeting of the [British] Psychological Society in February 1902, he read a paper on ‘Pathological changes in immediate memory and association’. James Sully and William McDougall also read papers at this meeting.

In 1902, concurrently with his Claybury appointment, he became Lecturer in Experimental Psychology in the Department of Physiology at King’s College, London, under the general supervision of Professor W.D. Halliburton (1860—1931). In 1903 he was elected a member of the Physiological Society.

In 1903 he was invited to accept the position of Assistant Lecturer and Senior Demonstrator of Physiology. He was appointed Lecturer-in-Charge of Experimental Psychology in Sherrington’s Department, University of Liverpool, the first full-time appointment in the subject at this University.

In 1906 he moved to Edinburgh University to the George Combe Lectureship in General and Experimental Psychology, delivering in November 1906 an Inaugural Lecture ‘The scope of modern psychology’. In the same year the first use in the British Journal of Psychology of the term ‘probable error’ and of the Pearson formula for correlation was in an article by Dr Smith on the Müller-Lyer illusion (BJP, 2, 16-51).

He was a member of the first committee of the [British] Psychological Society and was Treasurer from January 1903 to January 1905.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

James Sully was born at Bridgwater, near Bristol.

After attending a number of dame schools, he went to school in Yeovil and Taunton and then went to work in the office of his father and his uncle.

Later, while attending the Baptist College in Regent’s Park, he read for an arts degree at the University of London, graduating in October 1866.

In January 1867 he went to Göttingen to study Hebrew under Heinrich Ewald, the Oriental scholar. He arrived in mid-term and spent it as ‘hospitant’. He heard Ritter, the historian of philosophy, and R.H. Lotze (1817-1881). During the next term he attended philosophy and psychology under Lotze. He left Göttingen in the winter semester of 1867-8 and went to Halle University. His stay coincided with the 50 years’ commemoration of the union of Halle and the older University of Wittenberg. Visiting professors were Kuno Fischer from Jena and E. Hitzig from Heidelberg. John Stuart Mill received an honorary degree.

After visits to Dresden and Munich, he returned to London to visit Croom Robertson, who was to support his several applications for university chairs. He took his MA degree in 1868, with a gold medal in philosophy - Alexander Bain was his examiner.

In 1869 he became classical tutor at the Baptist College, Pontypool. In this year he sent a paper on the psychological study of the free will to John Morley of the Fortnightly Review, who later accepted an article on music in November 1870. For many years Sully continued writing and reviewing for the London periodicals - The Fortnightly, the Contemporary Review, The Academy, the Saturday Review, the Pall Mall Gazette, the Nineteenth Century, etc. This work often included the academic; for example the ‘Basis of musical sensation’ embodied some of the fruits of his study of Helmholtz. In 1870 he became tutor to Morley’s stepson and assisted Morley with his correspondence and proof-reading.

In the winter of 1871-2 he went to Berlin. His special work consisted of anatomical studies in the physiological laboratory of Du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896), and attendance at lectures on physiological optics by Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Back in London in 1873, he was asked to contribute an article on aesthetics to the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He also wrote on dreams for the Britannica. In 1874 he published Sensation and Intuition, and in 1877 Pessimism. Wundt wrote favourably of it.

In 1878 he was appointed Examiner in Logic and Psychology in the University of London and in the following year, Lecturer in Theory of Education at the Maria Grey Training College and later at the College of Preceptors. Then followed a series of books : Illusions (1881), Outlines of Psychology (1886), The Human Mind (1892), Studies of Childhood (1896), Children’s Ways (1897), Essay on Laughter (1902).

Beginning in 1874 he frequently visited G.H. Lewes and George Eliot, meeting there Tennyson, W.K. Clifford, Ernst Haeckel, Leslie Stephen, Michael Foster. He was also a member of the ‘Sunday Tramps’, ‘who escape from the dreary London Sabbath once a fortnight and take a walk of between twenty and thirty miles’. Leslie Stephen was ‘Captain of Tramps’. Included in the group were George Meredith, Frederick Pollock, Edmund Gurney, Carveth Read, W.P. Ker and F.W. Maitland. William James also was one of Sully’s closest friends. James had suggested to Sully the title for his book The Human Mind. When James died in 1910 Sully wrote of him: ‘[he was] one of the strong supports of my life’.

In 1892 Sully succeeded George Croom Robertson (1842-1892) in the Grote Chair of Mind and Logic at the University of London, from which he retired in 1903. He was made an Honorary Member of the British Psychological Society in 1910.

The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

See also 'James Sully' by Elizabeth Valentine (members only)

For further information please consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

All surviving Honorary Members became Honorary Fellows in 1945. A separate category of Honorary Life Members was created in 1991.

ODNB after a name indicates a link to an index entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (full articles available with individual or institutional subscription, or access through public library membership).

Professor George Dumas (1866-1946) 
Professor Beatrice Edgell (1871-1948) ODNB
Professor Kurt Koffka (1886-1941) 
Professor Carl Emil Seashore (1866-1949)

Professor Samuel Alexander (1859-1938) ODNB
Sir Henry Head (1861-1940) ODNB
Professor Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1857-1937) ODNB

Dr (Henry) Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) ODNB
Dr (Alfred) Ernest Jones (1879-1958) ODNB
Professor Felix Krueger (1874-1948) 
Professor William McDougall (1871-1938) ODNB
Professor Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852-1936) ODNB
Professor Charles Samuel Myers (1873-1946) ODNB
Mr Alexander Faulkner Shand (1858-1936) 
Professor Charles Edward Spearman (1863-1945) 
Professor George Frederick William Stout (1860-1944)

Professor James Rowland Angell (1869-1949) 
Professor James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944) 
Professor Sante de Sanctis (1862-1935) 
Professor (Louis) Wilhelm Stern (1871-1938)

Professor Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930)

Baron Albert Eduard Michotte van den Berck (1881-1965)

Professor Edward Claparède (1873-1940) 
Professor Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) ODNB
Professor Gerardus Heymans (1857-1930) 
Professor Pierre Janet (1859-1947) 
Professor Henri Piéron (1881-1964) 
Professor Edward Lee Thorndike (1874-1949) 
Professor Edward Bradford Titchener (1867-1927) ODNB
Professor Hendrick Zwaardemaker (1857-1930)

Professor Franz Brentano (1836-1917) 
Professor James Ward (1839-1917)

Professor James Sully (1842-1923) ODNB

Professor Oswald Külpe (1862-1915)

Professor Harald Höffding (1843-1931)
Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) ODNB
Professor William James (1842-1910)
Professor George Elias Müller (1850-1934) 
Professor Théodule Armand Ribot (1839-1916) 
Professor Carl Stumpf (1848-1936)

Dr John Hughlings-Jackson (1835-1911)

All surviving Honorary Members became Honorary Fellows in 1945.

ODNB after a name indicates a link to an index in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (full articles available with individual or institutional subscription, or access through public library membership)

Dr Sathasivan (Saths) Cooper (b.1950)

Professor Dianne Berry (b.1955)
Professor David Farrington (b.1944)
Professor Glyn Humphreys (b.1954)
Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith (b.1938)
Professor Peter Saville (b.1946)

Professor Raymond Henry Charles Bull (b.1947)
Professor Cary Lynn Cooper (b.1940)

Professor David M. Clark (b.1954)

Professor David Victor Canter (b.1944)

Professor Alan D.B. Clarke (1922-2011)
Professor Anne M. Clarke (b.1928)
Professor Hannah Steinberg (b.1924)

Professor Uta Frith (b.1941)
Professor William Yule (b.1940)
Professor Glynis M. Breakwell (b.1952)

Professor Andrew William Young (b.1950)

Professor Miles R.C. Hewstone (b.1956)

Professor Maurice Anthony Gale (1937-2006)

Professor Richard L. Gregory (1923-2010)

Professor Antony John Chapman (b.1947)

Professor Heinz Rudolph Schaffer (1926-2008)

Professor Victoria Bruce (b.1953)
Professor John Morton (b.1933)
Professor Peter B. Warr (b.1937)

Professor Alan D. Baddeley (b.1934) 
Professor Patrick Rabbitt (b.1934)

Professor Ulric Neisser (1928-2012) 
Professor Freda Gladys Newcombe (1925-2001)

Professor Margaret Caldwell Donaldson (b.1926) 
Professor Klaus Werner Wedell (b.1931)

Professor Michael Argyle (1925-2002)

Professor Elizabeth F. Loftus (b.1944)

Jack Gale Wilmot Davies (1911-1992)

Professor George Armitage Miller (b.1920)

Professor Herbert Alexander Simon (1916-2001)

Donald Eric Broadbent (1926-1993) ODNB

Professor Noam Chomsky (b.1928)

Professor Jerome Seymour Bruner (b.1915)

Professor Oliver L. Zangwill (1913-1987) ODNB

Professor Robert Hinde (b.1923)

Professor Sir Desmond Pond (1919-1986) ODNB

Professor Sir Michael Rutter (b.1933) 
Professor Philip Ewart Vernon (1905-1987) ODNB

Professor James Jerome Gibson (1904-1979) 
Professor Eleanor J. Gibson (1910-2002)

Dr Michael Fordham (1905-1995)

Professor Raymond Bernard Cattell (1905-1998) 
Professor Harry Frederick Harlow (1905-1981) 
Dr Henry Alexander Murray (1893-1988)

Dr Edward George Glover (1882-1972) ODNB
Rt Hon. Lord John Anthony Hardinge Giffard, Earl of Halsbury (1908-2000) ODNB
Professor Margaret Dorothea Vernon (1901-1999)

Professor Neal Elgar Miller (1909-2002)
Professor Erwin Stengel (1902-1973) ODNB
Honorary Fellows elected 1970-present

Professor Lionel Sharples Penrose (1898-1972) ODNB 

Professor Sir Aubrey Julian Lewis (1900-1975) ODNB
Dr Robert Robertson Rusk (1879-1972)
Professor Sir Fred Joyce Schonell (1900-1969)

Miss Anna Freud (1895-1982) ODNB
Professor Cecil Alec Mace (1894-1971)

Professor Otto Klineberg (1899-1992) 
Mr Robert John Bartlett (1879-1980)

Professor George William Humphrey (1889-1966)
Professor Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990)
Dr Robert Henry Thouless (1894-1984) ODNB

Rt Hon. Lord Walter Russell Brain of Eynsham (1895-1966) ODNB

Professor Ernst Ropiequet Hilgard (1904-2001) 
Professor Roger Wolcott Russell (1914-1998)

Rt Hon. Lord Henry Cohen of Birkenhead (1900-1977) ODNB

Dr May Smith (1879-1968) ODNB
Mrs Melanie Klein (1882-1960) ODNB
Professor Agostino Edoardo Gemelli (1878-1960)
Professor Alexander Rom Luria (1902-1977) 
Professor Tom Hatherley Pear (1886-1972) 
Professor Charles Wilfred Valentine (1879-1964) ODNB
Professor Henry Tasman Lovell (1875-1959)

Professor Albert William Phillip Wolters (1883-1961)

Rt Hon. Lord Edgar Douglas Adrian of Cambridge (1889-1977) ODNB
Professor Edward Chace Tolman (1886-1959)
Professor Robert Sessions Woodworth (1869-1962) 
Professor Jean Piaget (1896-1980) 
Professor Edwin Garrigues Boring (b.1886) 
Professor Sir Cyril Lodowic Burt (1883-1971) ODNB
Professor Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886-1969) ODNB
Professor Donald Olding Hebb (1904-1985) 
Professor Ernst Kretschmer (1888-1964)

Professor Sir Thomas Hunter (1876-1953)

Professor Gordon Willard Allport (1897-1967) 
Professor Clark Leonard Hull (1884-1952) 
Professor David Katz (1884-1953) 
Professor Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967) 
Professor Karl Spencer Lashley (1890-1958) 
Professor Gardner Murphy (1895-1979) 
Professor Lewis Madison Terman (1877-1956) 
Professor Louis Leon Thurstone (1887-1955)

Professor Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) 
Professor Sir William Mitchell (1861-1962)

ODNB indicates a link to an index entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (full articles available with individual or institutional subscription, or access through public library membership).


Nicola Gale (President Elect)


Professor Peter Kinderman


Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes


Professor Dorothy Miell


Dr Richard Mallows


Dr Peter Banister


Dr Carole Allan


Dr Gerry Mulhern


Sue Gardner


Dr Elizabeth Campbell (b. 13 June 1954, d. 2 April 2010) obituary


Professor Pam Maras


Ray Miller


Dr Graham Powell


Professor Ken Brown


Emeritus Professor Alexander (Zander) Wedderburn


Professor Graham Davey


Professor Victoria Geraldine (Vicki) Bruce


Dr Tommy MacKay


Patricia Frankish


Dr Ingrid Cecilia Lunt


Professor Christopher Noel Cullen


Margaret Valerie McAllister


Professor Stephen Edward Newstead


Professor Geoffrey Anthony Lindsay


Dr Ann Mary Colley


Professor Edgar Miller


Revd Dr Fraser Norman Watts


Professor Peter Edwin Morris


Professor Maurice Anthony Gale (b. 23 April 1937, d. 22 August 2006) interviewobituary


Professor Anthony John Chapman


Professor Lea S. Pearson (d. 5 April 1995, aged 52) obituary


Dr David Legge


Professor Robert Maclaughlin Farr


Professor Charles Ian Howarth


Dr Halla Beloff


Dr Ralph R. Hetherington (b. 1917, d. 23 February 2000) obituary


Professor Derek Ernest Blackman


Professor Kevin J. Connolly


Professor Peter H. Venables


Professor Philip Marcus Levy (b. 4 February 1934, d. 23 January 2011) obituary


Professor Alan Douglas Benson Clarke (b. 21 March 1922, d. 13 December 2011)


May Alison Davidson (b. 14 November 1914, d. 5 January 1982) obituary


Professor Jack Tizard (b. 25 February 1919, d. 2 August 1979) obituaryODNB


Professor Oliver Louis Zangwill (b. 1913, d. 1987, aged 74) obituaryODNB


Emeritus Professor Brian Malzard Foss (1921-1997) obituary


Professor Max Hamilton (b.1912, d. 6 August 1988, aged 76) obituaryODNB


Professor Harry Kay (b. 22 March 1919, d. 14 December 2005) obituary


Professor Harry Gwynne Jones (b. 1918, d. 5 March 1985, aged 66) obituary


Professor Robert John Audley


Boris Semeonoff (1910-1998) obituaryinterview


Professor George Seth (d. 28 July 1990, aged 85) obituary


Grace Rawlings (d. 12 August 1988, aged 79) obituary


Professor George Westby (d. 23 July 1984, aged 75) obituary


Donald Eric Broadbent (b. 1926, d. 10 April 1993, aged 66) obituary'Donald Broadbent' by Dianne Berry (2002)


Professor Arthur Summerfield (b. 31 March 1923, d. 10 September 2005, aged 82) obituary


Professor George C. Drew


Professor Edwin A. Peel (b. 1911, d. 10 June 1992, aged 81) obituaryODNB


Professor James Drever (Secundus) (b. 21 January 1910, d. 1 November 1991) (obituary: © University of Dundee)


Emeritus Professor Frederick Viggers Smith (d. July 2006, aged 94) obituary


Emeritus Professor Magdalen D. Vernon (d. 1991, aged 90) obituary


Professor Alec Rodger (d. February 1982, aged 74)


Dr Eric Benjamin Strauss (d. 11 January 1961, aged 66) obituary


Emeritus Professor Leslie S. Hearnshaw (d. 10 June 1991, aged 84) obituary


Professor Philip E. Vernon (b. 1905, d. 28 July 1987, aged 82) obituaryODNB


Arthur Rex Knight (b. 9 May 1903, d. 12 March 1963) obituary


Cecil Alec Mace (b. 1894, d. 7 June 1971, aged 76) obituary


William Brown (1881-1952) obituary (BJSP)obituary (BJMP)ODNB


Frederic Charles Bartlett (b. 1886, d. 30 September 1969, aged 82) obituaryODNB


Robert Henry Thouless (b. 1894, d. 25 September 1984, aged 90) obituaryODNB


Dr Stanley J.F. Philpott (d. 6 September 1962, aged 64) obituary


Charles Wilfred Valentine (b. 1879, d. 26 May 1964, aged 84) obituaryODNB


Robert John Bartlett (b. 1879, d. March 1980, aged 101)


Sir Godfrey H. Thomson (b. 1881, d. 1955, aged 74) obituary (Bulletin)obituary (BJSP)ODNB


Dr Millais Culpin (b. 1874, d. 14 September 1952, aged 78) obituary (BJMP), obituary (Br J Ind Med)ODNB


Tom Hatherley Pear (b. 1886, d. May 1972, aged 86)


Professor Sir Cyril Lodowic Burt (b. 3 March 1883, d. 10 October 1971) obituaryODNB


Professor Albert William Wolters (1883-1961) obituary'Albert William Wolters' by M.D. Vernon (1950)


Professor James Drever (Primus) (b. 1873, d. 11 August 1950) obituary © University of Dundee Archive URSF/5/3/6


Professor John Carl Flügel (1884-1955) obituaryODNB


Beatrice Edgell (1871-1948) obituary'Beatrice Edgell: An Appreciation' by Elizabeth Valentine (2001); 'Beatrice Edgell' by Elizabeth Valentine (2001);                       


Dr F.A.P. Aveling (b. 28 December 1875, d. 6 March 1941)


Professor Charles Edward Spearman (b. 10 September 1863, d. 17 September 1945) obituaryODNB


Charles Samuel Myers (b. 13 March 1873, d. 13 October 1946) obituary in The Lancet'Charles Samuel Myers' by Alan Costall (2001)ODNB

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