Théodule-Armand Ribot

Last updated
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
Influences Auguste Comte [1]

Théodule-Armand Ribot (18 December 1839 – 9 December 1916) was a French psychologist. He was born at Guingamp, [2] and was educated at the Lycée de St Brieuc. He is known as the founder of scientific psychology in France. [2] He is known for Ribot's Law regarding retrograde amnesia.


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

He passed his agregation 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). [2]

On the 9 April 1888 at The Collège de France he gave the first lecture in psychology in France. [2]

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.

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.

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.

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



English editions

See also

Related Research Articles

Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet, born Alfredo Binetti, was a French psychologist who invented the first practical IQ test, the Binet–Simon test. In 1904, the French Ministry of Education asked psychologist Alfred Binet to devise a method that would determine which students did not learn effectively from regular classroom instruction so they could be given remedial work. Along with his collaborator Théodore Simon, Binet published revisions of his test in 1908 and 1911, the last of which appeared just before his death.

Gustave Le Bon

Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon was a leading French polymath whose areas of interest included anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, invention, and physics. He is best known for his 1895 work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, which is considered one of the seminal works of crowd psychology.

Maine de Biran French philosopher (1766-1824)

François-Pierre-Gontier de Biran, usually known as Maine de Biran, was a French philosopher.

Émile Boutroux

Étienne Émile Marie Boutroux was an eminent 19th century French philosopher of science and religion, and an historian of philosophy. He was a firm opponent of materialism in science. He was a spiritual philosopher who defended the idea that religion and science are compatible at a time when the power of science was rising inexorably. His work is overshadowed in the English-speaking world by that of the more celebrated Henri Bergson. He was elected membership of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1898 and in 1912 to the Académie française.

Eugène (Eugeniusz) Minkowski was a French psychiatrist of Jewish Polish origin, known for his incorporation of phenomenology into psychopathology and for exploring the notion of "lived time". A student of Eugen Bleuler, he was also associated with the work of Ludwig Binswanger and Henri Ey. He was influenced by the phenomenological philosophy and the vitalistic philosophy of Henri Bergson, and by the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler; therefore his work departed from classical medical and psychological models. He was a prolific author in several languages and regarded as a great humanitarian. Minkowski accepted the phenomenological essence of schizophrenia as the "trouble générateur" as he thought that it consists in a loss of "vital contact with reality" and shows itself as autism.

Henri François Marion (1846–1896) was a French philosopher and educationalist.

Alfred Jules Émile Fouillée

Alfred Jules Émile Fouillée was a French philosopher.

Louis Eugène Marie Bautain

Louis Eugène Marie Bautain, was a French philosopher and theologian.

Jean Bourdeau was a French writer, known for his books on aspects of socialism. He was also a translator of Schopenhauer, and an early adopter in France of some of the thought of Nietzsche. He wrote on a wide range of subjects, from Johannes Janssen to Maxim Gorky and the rising personality cult of Lenin. He contributed in particular to the Journal des Débats, on contemporary philosophy

Henri Wallon (psychologist)

Henri Paul Hyacinthe Wallon was a French philosopher, psychologist, neuropsychiatrist, teacher, and politician. He was the grandson of Henri-Alexandre Wallon.

Théodore Eugène César Ruyssen

Théodore Eugène César Ruyssen was a French historian of philosophy and pacifist.

Georges Balandier

Georges Balandier was a French sociologist, anthropologist and ethnologist noted for his research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Balandier was born in Aillevillers-et-Lyaumont. He was a professor at the Sorbonne, and is a member of the Center for African Studies, a research center of the École pratique des hautes études. He held for many years the Editorship of Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie and edited the series Sociologie d'Aujourd'hui at Presses Universitaires de France. He died on 5 October 2016 at the age of 95.

Émile Boutmy

Émile Boutmy was a French political scientist and sociologist who was a native of Paris.

Henri-Étienne Beaunis

Henri-Étienne Beaunis was a French physiologist and psychologist. He defended the thesis of the Nancy School in the field of hypnosis. He is known for his works on anatomy, physiology, psychology and hypnosis.

Charles de Freycinet

Charles Louis de Saulces de Freycinet was a French statesman and four times Prime Minister during the Third Republic. He also served an important term as Minister of War (1888–93). He belonged to the Opportunist Republicans faction.

Dominique Parodi was a French philosopher and educational administrator.

Benjamin B. Bourdon (1860–1943) was a French psychologist born in Normandy on August 5th, 1860. He is often referred to as a pioneer of experimental psychology in France. Bourdon founded the first university established Experimental Psychology and Linguistics laboratory at the University of Rennes in 1896 and integrated the first experimental psychology course in a provincial university in 1891. His life is known by means of his (1932) autobiography in Carl Murchison`s compilation of autobiographies (1932) and biographies by Nicolas, S. (1998), Beuchet (1961), and Piéron (1961). The accounts of Bourdon`s life describe him as one of the few French advocates of the new scientific psychology.

Paul Foulquié was a French thinker and philosopher known for his books on metaphysics, epistemology, existentialism and psychology. His works have been translated into different languages.

Jean Lacoste is a French-German philosopher, scholar and essayist. He is known for his research on Nietzsche, Goethe, Walter Benjamin and Ernst Cassirer. He is currently a philosophy professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.

Edgar Bérillon French physician & psychiatrist

Edgar Bérillon was a French psychiatrist known for his research of hypnosis.


  1. V. Guillin, "Théodule Ribot's Ambiguous Positivism: Philosophical and Epistemological Strategies in the Founding of French Scientific Psychology," Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 165–181, Spring 2004.
  2. 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.
  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.