Lewin, Kurt, 1890-1947

Variant names
Birth 1890-09-09
Death 1947-02-12

Biographical notes:

Kurt Lewin is commonly recognized as the founder of social psychology. He was born in 1890 in the Village of Moglino in the Prussian province of Posen. Although completing the requirements for a PhD. in 1914, Lewin was not awarded the degree until 1916 from the University of Berlin. In 1932, he attended Stanford University as a visiting professor and in 1933, immigrated to the U.S. In that same year he became a faculty member of Cornell University. In 1935, he became a professor at the University of Iowa.

Lewin received his citizenship in 1940 and two years later became the President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). He is well known for his term "life space", work on group dynamics, and t-groups. His commitment to applying psychology to the problems of society led to the development of MIT Research Center for Group Dynamics.

In 1942, Lewin became President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and in 1944, established the Commission on Community Interrelations. Just before his death in 1947, Lewin founded the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine, now located in Arlington, Virginia.

From the guide to the Kurt Lewin papers, 1890-1978, (Center for the History of Psychology)

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  • Mental health
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  • Social psychology
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