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Although he was educated in biological science, Fechner turned to mathematics and physics. In he was appointed professor of physics at the University of Leipzig. His health broke down several years later; his partial blindness and painful sensitivity to light in all likelihood developed as a result of his gazing at the Sun during the study of visual afterimages — Pensioned modestly by the university in , he began delving more deeply into philosophy and conceived of a highly animistic universe with God as its soul.

In this work he postulated that mind and body, though appearing to be separate entities, are actually different sides of one reality. He also developed experimental procedures, still useful in experimental psychology , for measuring sensations in relation to the physical magnitude of stimuli. Most important, he devised an equation to express the theory of the just-noticeable difference, advanced earlier by Ernst Heinrich Weber.

This theory concerns the sensory ability to discriminate when two stimuli e. From about he delved into experimental aesthetics and sought to determine by actual measurements which shapes and dimensions are most aesthetically pleasing.

Gustav Fechner. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Britannica Quiz. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Fechner pursued the themes of panentheism beyond the positions of his predecessors. A panpsychist with an organic view of the world, he held that every entity is to some extent sentient and…. Epicureanism and egocentric hedonism had few faithful representatives among 20th-century philosophers, though the viewpoint remained as a residue in some….

Their work with adults gradually spread to the study of children and of animals. The psychologists then broadened their investigations of time to cover all….

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Founder of Modern Experimental Psychology

An early pioneer in experimental psychology and founder of psychophysics , he inspired many 20th-century scientists and philosophers. Despite being raised by his religious father, Fechner became an atheist in later life. In he was appointed professor of physics at Leipzig. But in , he contracted an eye disorder while studying the phenomena of color and vision , and, after much suffering, resigned. Subsequently, recovering, he turned to the study of the mind and its relations with the body, giving public lectures on the subjects dealt with in his books. Whilst lying in bed Fechner had an insight into the relationship between mental sensations and material sensations.


Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801–1887)

We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. It critically analyzes the spectrum of contributions of Fechner to the theory and methodology pertaining to psychological and related issues and argues for re assessment of the popular views. Drawing upon the original sources and recent historical investigations it is concluded that Fechner is the point of departure for modern psychology and deserves to be called the founder of modern experimental psychology. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

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