Hermann Ebbinghaus

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Hermann Ebbinghaus (18501909) was a German psychologist who pioneered experimental study of memory, and discovered the forgetting curve and the learning curve.

Ebbinghaus was born in Barmen. At age 17, he entered the University of Bonn. His first and foremost interest was psychology. His studies were interrupted in 1870 by the Franco-Prussian War. He enlisted in the Prussian army. He resumed his studies and received a Ph.D. in 1873.

In 1885, he published his groundbreaking Über das Gedächtnis ("On Memory", later translated to English as Memory. A Contribution to Experimental Psychology<ref name="Wozniak">[http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Ebbinghaus/wozniak.htm Introduction to Memory, Robert H. Wozniak 1999</ref>) in which he described experiments he conducted on himself to describe the process of forgetting.

He was professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin, and later in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). He died of pneumonia in Breslau at the age of 59.

His contributions are multiple. His famous work on memory helped to initiate experimental psychology. He pioneered precise experimental techniques used in the research on learning. In addition to his research and lecturing, he established two psychology laboratories in Germany, and co-founded the Zeitschrift für Physiologie und Psychologie der Sinnesorgane (Journal of the Physiology and Psychology of the Sense Organs), an important early psychology journal.

His son was the eminent Neo-Kantian philosopher Julius Ebbinghaus.

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Hermann Ebbinghaus

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