Théodule-Armand Ribot

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Théodule-Armand Ribot
Theodule-Armand Ribot.jpg
Théodule-Armand Ribot
Born18 December 1839
Died9 December 1916 (aged 76)
Nationality French
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions École Normale Supérieure

Théodule-Armand Ribot (18 December 1839 9 December 1916) was a French psychologist. He was born at Guingamp, [1] and was educated at the Lycée de St Brieuc. He is known as the founder of scientific psychology in France, [1] and gave his name to Ribot's Law regarding retrograde amnesia.


In 1856 he began to teach, and was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure in 1862. [2]

He passed his agrégation in philosophy, this allowed him to teach in high school. He worked as a high school teacher in Vesoul (1866–1868), and then in Laval (1868–1872). [1]

On the 9 April 1888 at The Collège de France he gave the first lecture in psychology in France. [1]

In 1885 he gave a course of lectures on Experimental Psychology at the Sorbonne, and in 1888 was appointed professor of that subject at the College of France. His thesis for his doctors' degree, republished in 1882, Hérédité: étude psychologique (5th ed., 1889), was his most important and best known book. [2]

L'Hérédité psychologique is considered to have introduced Darwinian and Spencerian evolutionary ideas to France. [3]

Following the experimental and synthetic methods, he brought together a large number of instances of inherited peculiarities. He paid particular attention to the physical element of mental life, ignoring all spiritual or nonmaterial factors in man. In his work on La Psychologie anglaise contemporaine: l'école expérimentale (1870), he showed his sympathy with the sensationalist school, and again in his translation of Herbert Spencer's Principles of Psychology. [2]

Ribot was in 1889 the co-president (with Jean-Martin Charcot) of the first international congress for experimental psychology and in 1890 the president for the fourth congress. From the first 12 such international congresses, the International Union of Psychological Science eventually emerged.

Besides numerous articles, he wrote on Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosophie de Schopenhauer (1874; 7th ed., 1896), and on the contemporary psychology of Germany (La Psychologie allemande contemporaine, 1879; 13th ed., 1898), also four little monographs on Les Maladies de la mémoire (1881; x3th ed., 1898); De la volonté (1883; 14th ed., 1899); De la personnalité (1885; 8th ed., 1899); and La Psychologie de l'attention (1888), which supplied useful data to the study of mental illness. [2]

In 1896 he introduced the term Anhedonia describing the inability to feel pleasure. [4]



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  1. 1 2 3 4 Nicolas, Serge; Charvillat, Agnès (March 2001). "Introducing psychology as an academic discipline in France: Théodule Ribot and the Collège de France (1888-1901): Théodule Ribot and the Collège de France (1888-1901)". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. 37 (2): 143–164. doi:10.1002/jhbs.1002. PMID   11343297.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ribot, Théodule Armand". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 286.
  3. "Acknowledgements". History of Psychiatry. 20 (4): 512. 2009-11-25. doi:10.1177/0957154x08352261. ISSN   0957-154X. S2CID   220324890.
  4. Ho, Nancy; Sommers, Marilyn (June 2013). "Anhedonia: A Concept Analysis". Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 27 (3): 121–129. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2013.02.001. ISSN   0883-9417. PMC   3664836 . PMID   23706888.
  5. "Psychologie de l'attention : Th茅odule Ribot : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Internet Archive. 1889.