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Denmark, Psychology in

  1. Birgitte Elle

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0258

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Elle, B. 2010. Denmark, Psychology in. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Copenhagen University was founded in 1479 and reconstituted in 1539, after the Reformation. Here psychology was established as an independent discipline near the end of the nineteenth century; previously it had been taught in connection with other subjects, such as theology, philosophy, and psychiatry. Through the nineteenth century Danish philosophers pursued psychological studies in connection with such topics as sensory perception, thinking, and the psychology of personality. Among them was the renowned philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, whose writings inspired the existentialists of a later period. It was within philosophy that psychology first had a place, with Harald Høffding (1843–1931) a central figure. In 1882 he published the first Danish textbook in psychology, Psykologi i omrids på grundlag af erfaringer (Outlines of Psychology), which went into 11 editions, the last in 1930, and was also issued in several foreign languages: German, Russian, French, English, Polish, Japanese, and Italian. Høffding's psychology conforms to nineteenth-century positivism and relies on the classical division of the mind into cognition, emotion, and will.