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Center for the History of Psychology

Former Staff

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Horst Gundlach (2009-2010)

Professor Dr. phil. Dr. phil. habil. Dr. h.c. Horst Gundlach, Dipl.-Psych.

Gundlach was born in Merseburg in 1944, moved to Hamburg in the summer of 1945 one day before the arrival of the Red Army, learned to read, write and do other things at the Gorch Fock School, visited the Christianeum, and became a Psychology WG there known to the writers Freud, Adler and Jung, changed for family reasons in the subprima to the Bismarck -Gymnasium in Karlsruhe, where he graduated in 1964 and moved to the nearest university, Heidelberg, to study psychology and philosophy. The access to psychology was informal, a numerus clausus not yet considered, since 1941 prescribed personal fitness assessment by the competent full professor, C. F. Graumann, just put away. Before the choice between old and new diploma examination regulations provided, whose former one a Vorsiplomsarbeit, whose second demanded instead a Hauptdiplomsarbeit, he decided after consideration of the probable employment for the former. From the topics offered without mentioning the supervisor, he decided for a concept-critical work on the term frustration. The result of his efforts was echoed in Ritter's Historical Dictionary of Philosophy. After the pre-diploma examination in 1967, he moved in the summer to the University of Munich, which he exchanged because of terrible study conditions immediately against Heidelberg. There he earned the diploma in 1969. For the purpose of promotion, he again devoted himself under the supervision of Graumann a critically critical topic, this time the term stimulus, and was appointed in 1973 to Dr. med. phil. PhD. In the following years he worked in various capacities at the Psychological Institute in Heidelberg. Groundbreaking visits in 1977 by Frank Hardesty included a meeting of the Cheiron Society: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Boulder, Colorado; and the Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, Ohio. Inspired 1978-1979 was a one-year Visiting Research Fellow at St. Anthony's College, Oxford, and visits to the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. 1981 to 1982 followed work for the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich. In the summer of 1982 he became a founding member of Cheiron Europe, today's European Society for the History of Human Sciences, where he served for a long time as treasurer. At the end of 1982, he took on an assistant position at the Institute for the History of Modern Psychology at the University of Passau, founded in 1981 by Werner Traxel. In 1988 he became a founding member of the Department of History of Psychology, where he served for a long time as a member of the speaker group and spokesman. In 1989 he habilitated with a thesis on the origin and subject of psychophysics.

After the retirement of Traxel in the same year, he was appointed to head the Institute for the History of Psychology and continued to expand the historical collections of archival holdings and scientific estates, instruments and apparatus, tests, literature and video and audio recordings from home and abroad , Scientific conferences were organized, international guests were received for research and sightseeing purposes, exhibitions on the history of psychology at different locations, collections of museum loans for exhibitions, the series of Passau writings on psychology history continued, the relocation of the institute from Schustergasse in Passau Old town in the Leopoldstraße copes. After he became aware in 2004 that the University of Passau intended, as a result of its structural reforms, to implement the institute after his retirement in an unspecified form, he campaigned for relocation to the University of Würzburg. There, the Adolf Würth Center for the History of Psychology was founded as a successor institution. In 2008 he was transferred to the University of Würzburg, but still borrowed for a winter semester at Passau. So this year the relocation of the extensive collections could be carried out. From 2008 he headed the Würzburg Center together with Armin Stock. In 2010 he retired because he reached retirement age. Since then he lives and researches again in Heidelberg.

Link to the List of his publications

Dipl.-Psych. Alexander Häfner (2009-2012)

Dipl.-Psych. Julia Hartmann (2009-2012)

Bella Grigoryan (Digitalisierung & Secretary 2015-2019)

Sigrid Leyssen (guest researcher 2012)

Sigrid Leyssen studies the history of experimental psychology by looking at the images that psychologists have worked with. In her dissertation project she investigates a case in the history of psychological stimuli images used in perception experiments. The project, which is situated in between Media Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science, is entitled ‘Stimuli Images and Image Perception in Albert Michotte’s Experimental Phenomenology of Perception`. The experimental psychologist Albert Michotte (1881-1965), in his experiments on the perception of causality, used big paper discs with coloured lines on them. These discs, when rotated and looked at through a slit in a covering screen, could present his observers with small coloured rectangles in different kinds of interactions. The focus of the present project is on this disc method as a medium for presenting moving images to observers in the psychological laboratory. This instrumental method, however, has a long and rich history. At the Adolf-Würth-Center for the History of Psychology (AWZ), with the help of their extensive apparatus and image collection, Sigrid Leyssen will further explore this disc method and its history. This will include contributing to the making of a replica of the Banc Michotte, exploring the insights an experimental approach to the history of science can bring.
For studying the work of Albert Michotte, the Adolf-Würth-Center for the History of Psychology at Würzburg University is, moreover, an especially felicitous place. At the beginning of his career, Albert Michotte spent two semesters, in 1907 and 1908, at the psychology institute of Wurzburg. About this research stay he wrote in his autobiography that he was perfectly happy there and that this stay had been especially important for his career as an experimental psychologist:  ‘J'y fus parfaitement heureux et ce fut une véritable révélation, car c'est à Külpe que je dois ma véritable formation psychologique’. (Michotte, 1954, p.3)

Sigrid Leyssen studied Philosophy and Film Studies in Leuven and Cambridge, UK, with a master dissertation on Sartre´s L‘imaginaire and his theory of images. She did research stays at the FUBerlin and Harvard University. Before coming to the Adolf-Würth-Center for the History of Psychology, she was part of the eikones Graduiertenkolleg Bild und Zeit, eikones NFS Bildkritik in Basel. This stay at the AWZ was funded by the Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, the Werner and Rosemarie Traxel-Stiftung, and some further donations.


Fon: +49 931 31-89130

Fax: +49 931 31-88685

Dipl.-Psych. Lydia Pinneker (2010-2012)

Anna Weisensel (2009-2013)

Anna Weissensel was responsible that the work of the Adolf Würth Center for various administrative tasks, work in the documentary archive and in the literature as well as the support of users and guests ran smoothly. She has been working in various capacities at the University of Würzburg since 1996 (7 years secretariat, 6 years presidential office). She helped to coordinate the move from Passau to Würzburg with the order for the coordination and execution in Würzburg, and was dimensionally involved in the preparations for the opening of the center on 23.09.2009. Since June 1, 2013 Ms. Weisenel has been working at the Department of Mathematics XI and since 1.7.2013 additionally at the Chair of Physics and her Didactics.


Julia Wummel (Secretary)