Ulric "Dick" Neisser: A Biography

Essay by DerekGaunttHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2014

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Derek Gauntt

Mrs. Hagerman

College Psychology

14 November 2014

Biography #3

Ulric "Dick" Neisser, who once was a young German immigrant in a strange world, became the "father of cognitive psychology," a justifiable title for a man of his accomplishments. He revolutionized how the human mind was studied. This was accomplished through his strive to understand mental processes such as perception and memory.

Born in 1928, Ulrich Gustav Neisser was raised in Kiel, Germany, where he lived until his family migrated to the United States in 1933. He spent his adolescence in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Washington, and New York, during which he dropped the "h" in his first name. His father Hans expected him to be a scientist, specifically in the field of physics. When Neisser went to Harvard, he had other plans in mind. Neisser was intrigued by the field of psychology. He went to the Gestalt School of Psychology, which got him started in studying mental processes.

He went on to receive his doctorate from Harvard and began to teach, conduct research, and write at Universities including Brandeis and Cornell.

In 1967, Neisser published his first and most influential book, Cognitive Psychology. This work was responsible for the boost of the titular study. Through this highly accepted work Neisser gathered together research over perception, pattern recognition, attention, problem solving, and remembering, as well as information and constructive processing. He is known to say that his Cognitive Psychology was an "assault on behaviorism." He thought behaviorism was questionable because the study limited what psychologists could do. His book provided an alternative to the dominating study of the early 20th century and created a unified theory that connected research of others to the cognitive approach.

Following his highly successful first publication came Cognition and Reality, in which he critiqued...