Lewin, Kurt

Lewin, Kurt
born Sept. 9, 1890, Mogilno, Ger.
died Feb. 12, 1947, Newtonville, Mass., U.S.

German-U.S. social psychologist.

After training and teaching in Berlin, he immigrated to the U.S., where he taught at the University of Iowa (1935–45) and later became director of a group dynamics research centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1945–47). He is best known for his field theory of behaviour, which holds that human behaviour is a function of an individual's psychological environment. To fully understand and predict human behaviour, according to Lewin, one must view the totality of events in a person's psychological field, or "lifespace." His works include A Dynamic Theory of Personality (1935) and Field Theory in Social Science (1951).

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▪ American social psychologist
born September 9, 1890, Mogilno, Germany [now in Poland]
died February 12, 1947, Newtonville, Massachusetts, U.S.

      German-born American social psychologist (social psychology) known for his field theory of behaviour, which holds that human behaviour is a function of an individual's psychological environment.

      Lewin studied in Germany at Freiburg, Munich, and Berlin, receiving his doctorate from the University of Berlin in 1914. After serving in the German army during World War I, he joined the faculty of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. In 1933 he moved to the United States and began work at the State University of Iowa's Child Welfare Research Station (1935–45). In 1945 he founded and became director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. He retained that position until his death.

      Lewin proposed that human behaviour should be seen as part of a continuum, with individual variations from the norm being a function of tensions between perceptions of the self and of the environment. To fully understand and predict human behaviour, the whole psychological field, or “lifespace,” within which the person acted had to be viewed; the totality of events in this lifespace determined behaviour at any one time. Lewin attempted to reinforce his theories by using topological systems (maplike representations) to graphically depict psychological forces. He devoted the last years of his life to research on group dynamics, believing that groups alter the individual behaviour of their constituents. On the basis of research examining the effects of democratic, autocratic, and laissez-faire methods of leadership on groups of children, Lewin claimed that small groups operated most successfully when they were conducted in a democratic manner.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • LEWIN, KURT ZADEK — (1890–1947), psychologist and author. Lewin, who was born in Mogilno, Germany, was professor of psychology at the University of Berlin until 1932 when he foresaw the rise of the Nazi regime and went to the United States. He taught at Stanford,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lewin, Kurt — (9 sep. 1890, Mogilno, Alemania–12 feb. 1947, Newtonville, Mass., EE.UU.). Psicólogo alemán radicado en EE.UU. Después de formarse y de ejercer la docencia en Berlín, emigró a los EE.UU., donde enseñó en la Universidad de Iowa (1935–45).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lewin, Kurt Zadek — (1890–1947)    German American psychologist. After teaching psychology and philosophy in Germany, Lewin emigrated to the United States in 1932. From 1945 he directed the research institute for group dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lewin, Kurt — (1890 1947) A German born social psychologist who moved to America in the early 1930s and worked mainly at the University of Iowa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His holistic field theory , derived from Gestalt theory but with… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Lewin, Kurt Zadek — (1890 1947)    German psychologist. Born in Mogilno, Germany, he studied at the University of Freiburg, the University of Milan and the University of Berlin. In 1933 he went to the US and taught at Cornell University. He later became professor of …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Lewin — Lewin, Kurt …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Kurt Lewin — Kurt Tsadek Lewin (* 9. September 1890 in Mogilno, Provinz Posen; † 12. Februar 1947 in Newtonville, Massachusetts) gilt als einer der einflussreichsten Pioniere der Psychologie. Er ist einer der Begründer der modernen experimentellen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt Lewin — Kurt Lewin, psicólogo polaco nacionalizado estadounidense. Nació el 9 de septiembre de 1890 en la ciudad de Moglino en la provincia de Poznań (Polonia). Se interesó en la investigación de la psicología de los grupos y las relaciones… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Lewin's Equation — Lewin s Equation, B=ƒ(P,E), is not actually a mathematical equation representing quantifiable relationships but rather a heuristic designed by psychologist Kurt Lewin. It states that Behavior is a function of the Person and his or her Environment …   Wikipedia

  • Kurt Lewin — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Lewin. Kurt Lewin Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

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