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Hebb, Donald Olding (1904–1985)

  1. Staff

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0408

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Staff 2010. Hebb, Donald Olding (1904–1985). Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Donald Olding Hebb was a Canadian born to two physicians in Chester, Nova Scotia, in 1904. He excelled in schoolwork until his reactions to authority led to difficulties in his later teenage years. He completed his undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University receiving a BA degree in 1925. He traveled to the beat of his own drum, engaging in teaching, farming, and common labor while he continued in self-study reading works within the developing field of psychology. In 1928, he enrolled in psychology at McGill university, where he received his MA in 1932. His studies were combined with part-time teaching, and he suffered from health problems and the death of his wife during his graduate studies. After these struggles, he left Canada in 1934 and began serious graduate study with Karl Lashley at the University of Chicago. Lashley left Chicago for Harvard in 1935, and Hebb moved with him. In 1936, at age 32, he received his PhD based on his research on the brains of rats.


  • brain functions;
  • experimental psychology;
  • neuronal activity;
  • neuroscience;
  • synaptic transmission