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James, William (1842–1910)

  1. N. A. Haynie

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0474

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Haynie, N. A. 2010. James, William (1842–1910). Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


An American philosopher and psychologist, William James was educated in Europe, England, and America. He was part of a prominent Harvard family of literature professors. Frequent trips abroad gave James a wide knowledge of the world. Although he was supported and encouraged to pursue a scientific education, James suffered physical illness, indecision, and depression throughout his early years. Finally he earned a medical degree from Harvard in 1869 and took a teaching position there in 1872. From 1875 to 1876 James taught the first psychology course in an American university at Harvard. He was given funds for laboratory and demonstration equipment for the course in 1875, about the same time that Wilhelm Wundt established his psychology laboratory at Leipzig.


  • adaptation;
  • consciousness;
  • emotions;
  • functionalism;
  • mental processes