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1891James McKeen Catell The first to be given the title of Professor of Psychology who subsequently became Head of Columbia's Psychology Department. He was one of the founders of the American Psychological Association and was influential in many other organizations (e.g., NY Academy of Sciences) and journals (e.g., Psychology Review, Science) and served as a 'diplomat' for psychology.
1898Edward L. Thorndike Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Catell. His work in learning represents the original framework for behavioral psychology. His 'Law of Effect' was one of the most influential of his theory of learning. He taught at Teacher's College from 1899 - 1939.
1899Shepherd I. Franz Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Catell and was known for his laboratory research identifying higher-order functions (learning and memory) as not being localized in the brain. He was also a key contributor to the field of clinical neuropsychology. Franz later became President of the American Psychological Association.
1899Robert S. Woodworth Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Catell. He returned to Columbia in 1903 to join the faculty. His interest in how people learn and think led him to develop a theory where the organism was positioned between the S - R bond. His influence was at the heart of the Columbia School of Psychology (and its Dynamic Psychology), where questions of why, not only how, were central.
1904John Dewey Joined the faculty at Columbia where his interests ultimately led him to become more purely philosophical and political. He was considered to be one of the primary originators of both functionalist and behaviorist psychology.
1909Harry L. Hollingworth Received his Ph.D. from Columbia and subsequently joined the department, becoming its chairman in 1923. He known for his applied work on the effects of caffeine and his studies of shell shock in WWI soldiers, as well as for fundamental contributions to problems in learning, human judgment and functional neuroses. He served as president of the American Psychological Association and was awarded the Butler medal from Columbia.
1912Christine Ladd-FranklinJoined the faculty at Columbia as a lecturer, while pursuing her research interests. She was best known for her theory of color vision which involved a photochemical model of the visual system and proposed three levels of molecular differentiation, which she assumed to correspond to stages of evolutionary development.
1912A.T. Poffenberger Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodworth and then became a faculty member and subsequently Chair of the department.. He worked in applied and physiological psychology, specializing in studies of gestation, fatigue, transfer of training, drug effects, and the speed of nervous conduction. He served as president of the American Psychological Association and was the last president of the American Association for Applied Psychology. He also served as Director of the Psychological Corporation and headed its Market Research Division.
1916Leta Setter Hollingworth Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Thorndike. She looked at the status of women, which was precipitated from her negative experiences in both failing to secure a teaching position and in being unable to obtain any funding for her doctoral studies. She later joined the faculty of Columbia and is best known for her work on intellectually gifted children (Gifted Children, 1926)
1923Henry Edward Garrett Received his Ph.D, from Columbia under Woodworth, studying the relationship of speed to accuracy in psychophysical judgments and motor skills. He later joined the faculty at Columbia and served as chair of the Psychology Department from 1941 to 1955. He also served as president of the American Psychological Association.
1923Gardner MurphyReceived his Ph.D. from Columbia and later returned to join the faculty. His work defined social psychology as an experimental discipline, separate from the more naturalistic observational techniques used in sociology. His seminal textbook, Experimental Social Psychology, helped to initiate the field. He served as president of the American Psychological Association and of the American Society for Psychical Research. He was awarded the Butler medal from Columbia for his distinguished contributions to the field.
1924Edna Heidbreder Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodworth. She authored Seven Psychologies, a popular book on the history of psychology. She is best known for her contributions to the study of psychometrics and concept formation. She was also involved with the development of the Minnesota Mechanical Abilities Tests.
1925Theodora Mead AbelReceived her Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodworth and Leta Hollingsworth.  Her early research was on emotional and physical responses using the galvanometer.  Later her interests led her to study ethnology, personality traits and clinical psychology.
1927Otto Klineberg Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Franz Boas and joined the faculty. He highlighted cross-cultural comparisons in human behavior and was known for his work on the relativity of experience and emotional expression. Klineberg conducted ground-breaking studies on intelligence scores of black students, and his pioneering findings helped influence the United States Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 school desegregation case, Brown vs. Board of Education.
1929Winthrop Niles Kellogg Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodworth. His early psychophysical work anticipated signal detection theory and involved experiments on reaction time. He was also renowned for his work on comparative psychological development between chimpanzees and humans.
1929Theodore M. Newcomb Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Gardner Murphy. He was one of the principal pioneers in establishing social psychology as a fertile area for study. As author or co-author of 3 widely used social psychology textbooks, he helped give systematic definition to the field and a keener understanding of the social processes that shape human motivation, learning and perception. He is known for his work on social communication, cognitive balance and interpersonal attraction, reference groups and the evolution of political attitudes over the adult life course.
1930Anne Anastasi Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Harry Hollingsworth. She was known for her work in psychometrics, specifically in understanding and statistically measuring the factors underlying the development of individual differences in psychological traits. Her book, Psychological Testing, was a standard for students and professionals alike doing research in the design and analysis of psychological tests. She also served as president of the American Psychological Association.
1931Carl Rogers Received his Ph.D. from Columbia’s Teacher's College. His work was in humanistic psychology and he is known for his theory of personality development and as the father of client-centered therapy. Rogers was given the Butler Silver Medal Award from Columbia.
1931John Seward Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodward and Murphy, and joined the faculty in 1931. He worked on the mechanisms of reinforcement, the effects of alcohol, and the processes involved in learning.
1932Solomon Asch Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Gardner Murphy. Early on he explored Gestalt, relation-oriented approaches to perception, association, learning, thinking, and metaphor. He made landmark contributions to social influence, impression formation and context effects on meaning that continue to have a major impact on the field. His classic textbook, Social Psychology, is one of the most influential textbooks in social psychology ever written. He was awarded the Butler Medal from Columbia.
1932Rensis Likert Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Woodworth and Gardner Murphy. He sought to develop procedures and methods for studying people’s attitudes and the variables that influence them by using survey research. One product of his study was the creation of what would become the most widely used scale for attitude measurement, the Likert scale.
1933Francis L. Harmon Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Poffenberger. His work was in the area of personality psychology, and in his Understanding Psychology text, he described personality development, diseased personality, applied personality psychology and modern personality theory.
1935Erich Fromm A visiting professor at Columbia for 4 years. He is known for his application of psychoanalytic theory to social and cultural problems.
1935Abraham Maslow He was a research assistant to Edward Thorndike. He believed that there was an order in the succession of motives, and that new motives are observed when lower needs are satisfied. He founded the field of Humanistic Psychology.
1935Mazafer Sherif Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Gardner Murphy. Many consider his work on the construction of social norms to be one of the greatest contributions of social psychology to understanding a fundamental social science principle. Finding a way to study norm construction (using the auto kinetic effect to test for convergence of opinions in a group) was itself a major contribution to laboratory science in social psychology. He also made classic contributions to understanding assimilation-contrast effects in judgment and ingroup/outgroup processes.
1937Carl Warden Joined the faculty in the area of animal learning and behavior. He is known for his animal studies using mazes and other obstacles (the Columbia Obstruction Box) to investigate drive.
1938Fred S. Keller Joined the faculty and was known for his work in education. He developed a method of teaching, a "Personalized System of Instruction" which was based on his investigations into the way students learn. With his Columbia colleague, William Schoenfeld, he instituted the first undergraduate psychology course to use Skinner's experimental methods and the two assembled what was known about behavioral psychology at the time into the widely used textbook, Principles of Psychology. In 1948 President Truman awarded Keller a Certificate of Merit for Keller’s new and very effective technique for teaching Morse Code to military personnel, adopted officially by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1943. The code-voice method was based on his earlier research on behavior.
1940Kenneth Clark Received his Ph.D. from Columbia. He and his wife Mamie (who also received her Ph.D. from Columbia) are known for their research into the psychological effects of racism and segregation. They challenged the notion of differences in the mental abilities of black and white children and so played an important role in the desegregation of American schools. Kenneth Clark was the first African American to earn a doctorate in psychology at Columbia, to hold a permanent professorship at the City College of New York, to join the New York State Board of Regents and to serve as president of the American Psychological Association. Columbia recognized the couple’s work by awarding each the Butler Silver Medal.
1942William Nathan Schoenfeld Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Otto Klineberg and joined the faculty. He worked with Fred Keller to create the pioneering introductory psychology course in which students learned about fundamental principles of behavior through laboratory experiments with animals and humans. He co-authored, with Fred S. Keller, Principles of Psychology, an influential college text published in 1950 that emphasized scientific methods in the study of psychology. In a carefully devised set of experiments in 1953 he led a team of Columbia psychologists in discovering that anxiety caused the human heart rate to slow rather than quicken under certain timing of stimuli.
1943Ralph Hefferline Received his Ph.D from Columbia and joined the faculty. He is known for his ‘thumb twitch study’ in which he demonstrated that learning can be automatically created and people can be unaware of their response. He was also a co-author along with Fritz Perls and Paul Goodman of the first text on gestalt therapy, entitled Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality. Half the book consisted of reports of the results of exercises in awareness which Hefferline administered to his students.
1943Mamie Phipps Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Garrett. She began studying self-perception in black children as a graduate student at Howard University, where she met and married Kenneth Clark. She became the first African-American woman and the second African American (after her husband) in the University’s history to receive a psychology doctorate.
1945Clarence H. Graham Joined the faculty at Columbia in the prestigious Chair previously held by Woodworth who had just retired. Clarence’s leadership and research in vision and visual perception were recognized by numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Certificate of Merit. He spearheaded the enormous expansion of work in vision and visual perception for a significant period and produced more than 70 Ph.D.s and hundreds of lineal intellectual descendants. He noted that “Of nearly equal importance from my point of view has been my interest in theoretical and systematic problems, particularly the formulation of psychophysical and perceptual behavior in an objective psychology”. This defined an approach that became a given in the field.
1947Albert Ellis Received his Ph.D. in 1947 from Columbia’s Teacher's College. He is known as the founder of Rational Psychology and for his active role in counseling with patients which was in marked contrast to the passive method employed in psychoanalysis.
1948Herman Feifel Received his Ph.D. from Columbia. He is regarded as the pioneering figure of thanatology, the psychology of death. His book, "The Meaning of Death" was the foundation for others to examine the psychological needs of the dying. His book came to be regarded as a pioneering force in modern studies on attitudes to dying and influencing the establishment of the hospice movement. In 2001, Feifel was awarded a lifetime achievement gold medal by the American Psychological Foundation.
1953Joyce Diane Bauer Received her Ph.D. from Columbia. Her dissertation investigated avoidance anxiety and escape behavior in humans. Known as "Dr. Joyce Brothers", she was a notable television personality, having won the game show "The $64,000 Question." She was a columnist in several newspapers and magazines, and frequently appeared on TV shows.
1954Conrad G. Mueller Received his Ph.D from Columbia under C.H. Graham and was known for his research on a quantitative theory of visual excitation for the single photoreceptor.
1956Richard Christie Joined the faculty and became a pioneer in findings ways to study personality experimentally. His work on Machiavellianism remains a classic analysis of a major personality variable. His research on left and right political movements defined how the effects of political inclinations can be studied with experimental control. For his pioneering work in political psychology, he received the Nevitt Sanford Award for Distinguished Professional Contribution to Political Psychology. The Richard Christie Memorial Award in the department was established in his honor. It is awarded annually to a graduate student in psychology for dissertation research on the effects of individual differences on social behavior, the underlying theme of Christie’s many scientific contributions.
1956Arthur R. Jensen Received his Ph.D. from Columbia. He was a proponent of the hereditarian position that believed that 80% of intelligence was based on heredity, and 20% on environment. He wrote a controversial essay in 1969 on genetic heritage.
1958David L. Rosenhan Received his Ph.D. from Columbia. He is renowned for his work on "being sane in insane places" that placed healthy people in psychiatric institutions. This experiment incurred great criticism against psychiatry and led to reevaluation of the way psychiatrists diagnosed patients manifesting itself in the DSM-IV.
1959Leonard Matin Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Graham and Mueller and joined the faculty of Columbia. His research focuses on visual perception and the cognitive neuroscience of space and form.
1961Bibb Latane Joined the faculty of Columbia and pursued work on social deviancy, psychopathology and bystander intervention. His work on bystander intervention became a classic and is still one of the best known programs of experimental field research in social psychology.
1961William McGuire Joined the faculty and became a central figure in attitudes and persuasion. His work on resistance to persuasion is recognized as a gem of social psychological research. He was a pioneer in studying cognitive processing in beliefs and judgments, including a classic “consistency” model. He developed an “information processing” model of persuasion that moved the field to a more cognitive perspective on persuasion. His “contextualization” perspective also made major contributions to theory construction in social psychology.
1961Stanley Schachter Joined the faculty of Columbia and is world renowned for his contribution to understanding the nature of emotions. As one of the first students of Lewin in America, he made classic early contributions to group dynamics, such as his work on social deviancy. His research on emotions led to the discovery of misattribution and reattribution processes, which is one of the great discoveries in social psychology about a basic psychological principle. His research on obesity and smoking was pioneering, and he is considered to be one of the founders of the field of health psychology.
1961Herb Terrace Joined the faculty of Columbia and is known for his work on the cognitive abilities of monkeys and its implications for models of human memory. He was one of the original researchers on language in apes.
1962Julian Hochberg Joined the faculty of Columbia and is known for his research in human perception which focuses on how people perceive the real and represented world. This includes objects and events, both physical and social. He has written extensively on the psychological factors that underlie human understanding of pictures and the written word and, more recently our understanding motion pictures. Hochberg’s work has shed new light on visual communication, learning and thought processes.
1963Morton Deutsch Joined the faculty of Teacher's College and is known for his pioneering work in group dynamics and conflict resolution. His theory and research distinguishing between cooperative and competitive group behavior remains as the definitive work on this critical distinction.
1966Richard Nisbett Received his Ph.D, from Columbia under Schachter. One of the founders of social cognition, his studies of people’s inability to understand their own cognitive processes had enormous impact throughout psychology and other disciplines as well. In addition to classic work on causal attribution theory (e.g., the actor-observer effect), he is known for his work on how geography and culture influences basic motivation and cognition.
1968Robert Bush Joined the faculty of Columbia, serving as chair of the psychology department. He was a renowned mathematical learning theorist. He taught a popular course in drugs and behavior in the 1970’s.
1969Jonathan Freedman Joined the faculty at Columbia and did classic research on the impact of crowding on judgments and decision making. He developed new experimental techniques for studying the effects of crowding and made important discoveries about the role of arousal and norms in crowding effects. He also discovered the power of key persuasion techniques, including the role of guilt in compliance
1969Donald Hood Joined the faculty of Columbia and is known for his research on the biological basis of vision including the electrical activity of human photoreceptors, the analysis of human visual receptor activity using the electroretinogram and the sites and mechanisms of retinal diseases and adaptation. He served as the vice president of Arts & Sciences from 1982 - 1987.
1969Lee D. Ross Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Schachter. Among his many contributions as an early pioneer in social cognition, he developed the highly influential concept of a fundamental attribution error that explained human evaluation of others' behavior. With Richard Nisbett, he made major contributions to understanding faulty reasoning and to the power of the situation in social behavior.
1970Thomas BeverJoined the faculty of Columbia and was a pioneer in the emerging field of psycholinguistics. As one of Chomsky’s first graduate students, he made major contributions to understanding the psychology of language at the level of syntax and grammar by considering cognitive processes in addition to formal linguistic factors.
1970Bob Krauss Joined the faculty at Columbia and is known for his pioneering work in interpersonal communication, both verbal and non-verbal. In verbal communication, he was the first to discover ways of studying dyadic communication experimentally, and made landmark contributions to understanding how communication skills develop and the role of perspective-taking in such development. In non-verbal communication, his research discovered that the mechanisms of gestures play an important role in speech production by facilitating lexical retrieval.
1971Judith Rodin Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Schachter. She is known for her work on the relationship between the psychological and biological processes in health and behavior. She served as President of the University of Pennsylvania and was recently named president of the Rockefeller Foundation.
1972Norma Graham Joined the faculty of Columbia and is known for developing the concept of spatial frequency channels in human vision and experimentally demonstrating their existence. More recently her research focuses on the development of a mathematical model to explain the processing that occurs in texture segregation.
1973E. Tory Higgins Received his Ph.D. from Columbia under Krauss and joined the faculty in 1989. He is known for his contributions to the domains of cognition (knowledge activation and construct accessibility), motivation (regulatory focus theory), and affect (self-discrepancy theory).
1977 Joy Hirsch Received her Ph.D. from Columbia under Norma Graham and is known for her work in the field of cognitive neurobiology. She pioneered the introduction of brain mapping procedures for clinical applications as well as neuroimaging investigations of bilingualism. She is currently the Director of the fMRI Research Center at Columbia's Medical Center.