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Margaret Floy Washburn

Margaret Floy Washburn

Psychology majors often have to choose a major psychologist to write a research paper on. One of the more interesting female psychologists to write a research paper on is Margaret Floy Washburn. Paper Masters can provide you a custom written paper on Washburn. Margaret Floy Washburn (1871-1939) was a leading American developmental psychologist of the early 20th century. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology and the second woman to serve as APA President.

Margaret Floy Washburn's Education

Margaret Floy Washburn's educational path can be traced as follows:

  • Born in New York City, she entered Vassar College at the age of 15 where she was first introduced to psychology.
  • After graduation, she studied at Columbia University, the first woman graduate student there.
  • She transferred to Cornell University the following year, entering the newly organized Sage School of Philosophy.
  • At Cornell, she studied tactical perception, becoming the first woman Ph.D. in psychology in 1894.

Margaret Floy Washburn's Work

After working at several universities, Washburn returned to Vassar College in 1903 as a Professor of Philosophy, a position she held until 1937. Using animal studies as the basis for her work in cognition and behavior, she concluded that mental events are equally important, published in her book The Animal Mind (1908). In Movement and Mental Imagery (1916) she presented her complete motor theory. She argued that all thought can be traced back to body movements and that consciousness arises when one motion is partially inhibited towards another movement. Learning, for Washburn, was an association of movements turned into sets of regular combinations. She was the first female psychologist and second woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1932.

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