Famous German Psychologists

Find out more about the greatest German Psychologists, including Erik Erikson, Erich Fromm, Kurt Lewin, Hans Eysenck and Hermann Ebbinghaus.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite German Psychologists

 1 
Erik Erikson
(Psychologist)

Erik Erikson
6
Birthdate: June 15, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: May 12, 1994

Erik Erikson was a German-American psychoanalyst and developmental psychologist best remembered for developing a theory on the psychological development of humans. He is credited with coining the term identity crisis, the failure to achieve ego identity. Also a prolific writer, Erikson won a US National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his book Gandhi's Truth.

 2 
Wilhelm Wundt
(Philosopher)

Wilhelm Wundt
4
Birthdate: August 16, 1832
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
Died: August 31, 1920

Wilhelm Wundt was a German physiologist, professor, and philosopher. He is often counted among the founders of modern psychology and is widely considered the father of experimental psychology. He is also credited with founding the first laboratory for psychological research, which he founded at the University of Leipzig in 1879.

 3 
Karen Horney
(Psychoanalyst)

Karen Horney
5
Birthdate: September 16, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany
Died: December 4, 1952

Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.

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 4 
Kurt Lewin
(Psychologist)

Kurt Lewin
5
Birthdate: September 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mogilno, Poland
Died: February 12, 1947
Legendary social psychologist Kurt Lewin is remembered for his field theory of behavior. He was a pioneer in the research on group dynamics. While he had served in the army in World War I, an injury made him get back to university to complete his PhD.

 5 
Fritz Perls
(Psychologist, Psychiatrist)

Fritz Perls
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: March 14, 1970

Fritz Perls initially fought in World War I, following which he treated brain injuries of soldiers. He was later drawn to Freudian psychoanalysis. During World War II, he was the psychiatrist for the South African military. His Gestalt therapy, which he co-created with his wife, Laura, redefined psychology.

 6 
Helmut Kentler
(Psychologist)

Helmut Kentler
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: July 9, 2008

Though Helmut Kentler initially wished to study theology, he was pushed into studying electrical engineering by his father. A homosexual himself, he later mastered psychology and became a pioneering sexual scientist. He was later criticized for placing homeless children under the care of pedophilic men as part of an experiment.

 7 
Lou Andreas-Salomé
(Psychoanalyst)

Lou Andreas-Salomé
5
Birthdate: February 12, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 5, 1937

Russian-born German author Lou Andreas-Salomé apparently rejected renowned philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s marriage proposal and then married a professor instead. A skilled psychoanalyst, she was also close to Rainer Maria Rilke and Sigmund Freud. She was one of the first to offer a psychoanalytic perspective to female sexuality.

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 8 
Hermann Ebbinghaus
(Psychologist, Educationist, University teacher)

Hermann Ebbinghaus
3
Birthdate: January 24, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Barmen
Died: February 26, 1909

Especially remembered for his pioneering work on rote learning and memory, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus became interested in the subject after reading Gustav Fechner's Elements of Psychophysics.  Eventually, he developed the experimental methods for measuring memory, using 2,300 three-letter nonsense syllables that he devised. Later, he also discovered the forgetting curve and the spacing effect and described the learning curve.

 9 
Emil Kraepelin
(Psychiatrist)

Emil Kraepelin
3
Birthdate: February 15, 1856
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Neustrelitz, Germany
Died: October 7, 1926

The son of a musician, Emil Kraepelin, remembered as the founder of psychiatry, was the first to differentiate between dementia praecox, now known as schizophrenia, and manic-depressive psychosis. His classification of mental illnesses influenced much of the research on the subject in the 20th century.

 10 
Selma Ergeç
(Actress)

Selma Ergeç
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hamm, Germany

 11 
Wilhelm Dilthey
(Historian)

Wilhelm Dilthey
2
Birthdate: November 19, 1833
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Biebrich, Wiesbaden, Germany
Died: October 1, 1911

Wilhelm Dilthey was a German psychologist, sociologist, historian, and hermeneutic philosopher. An ardent admirer of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Dilthey helped revive the former's works on hermeneutics. Wilhelm Dilthey is also credited with teaching future philosophers like Hans Lipps, Eduard Spranger, and Theodor Litt.

 12 
Franz Brentano
(Philosopher)

Franz Brentano
2
Birthdate: January 16, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rhine Province
Died: March 17, 1917

 13 
Gustav Fechner
(Physicist, Psychologist, Statistician, University teacher, Philosopher)

Gustav Fechner
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1801
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bad Muskau
Died: November 18, 1887

Gustav Fechner was a German physicist, philosopher, and experimental psychologist. A pioneer in the field of experimental psychology, Fechner is credited with founding psychophysics. Gustav Fechner inspired several philosophers and scientists like Jan Koenderink, David Heeger, and Farley Norman. In 1970, a crater on the Moon was named after him by the International Astronomical Union.

 14 
Kurt Schneider
(Military physician, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, University teacher)

Kurt Schneider
2
Birthdate: January 7, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Crailsheim
Died: October 27, 1967

Chiefly known for his works on the diagnosis and understanding of schizophrenia, German psychiatrist Kurt Schneider published many papers on the subject, creating a list of the psychotic symptoms, today known as Schneiderian First-Rank Symptoms, to differentiate it from other forms of mental disorder. He also made significant contributions to personality disorders, coining term like endogenous depression and reactive depression.

 15 
Bert Hellinger
(Pedagogy, Non-fiction writer, Catholic priest, Psychologist)

Bert Hellinger
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leimen

 16 
Eva Justin
(Anthropologist)

Eva Justin
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: September 11, 1966

 17 
Hugo Münsterberg
(Psychologist, University teacher, Philosopher)

Hugo Münsterberg
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1863
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: December 16, 1916

 18 
Erich Neumann
(Psychologist)

Erich Neumann
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 5, 1960

Erich Neumann was a psychologist, philosopher, and writer. He completed his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and studied medicine at the University of Berlin. He was a student of Carl Jung and regularly gave lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute. He was a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology as well.  

 19 
Julia Shaw
(Psychologist)

Julia Shaw
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany

 20 
Peter Gay
(Psychologist, Cultural historian, Historian, Writer, University teacher)

Peter Gay
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: May 12, 2015

Best known for his work on modern European cultural history, Peter Gay was a renowned American historian who had penned the iconic works such as the award-winning The Enlightenment: An Interpretation. His studies on Freud and the Weimar Republic, too, became bestsellers. He was married to award-winning author Ruth Gay.

 21 
Johann Friedrich Herbart
(Philosopher, psychologist and founder of pedagogy as an academic discipline)

Johann Friedrich Herbart
2
Birthdate: May 4, 1776
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oldenburg, Germany
Died: August 14, 1841

 22 
Ulric Neisser
(Psychologist, University teacher)

Ulric Neisser
2
Birthdate: December 8, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kiel
Died: February 17, 2012

 23 
Kurt Koffka
(Psychologist, University teacher)

Kurt Koffka
1
Birthdate: March 18, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: November 22, 1941

 24 
Rudolf Arnheim
(Writer, Art historian, Psychologist, University teacher, Film critic)

Rudolf Arnheim
2
Birthdate: July 15, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: June 9, 2007

 25 
Gerd Gigerenzer
(Psychologist, University teacher)

Gerd Gigerenzer
2
Birthdate: September 3, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wallersdorf

 26 
Esther Vilar
(Writer)

Esther Vilar
1
Birthdate: September 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Born to German-Jewish immigrants in Argentina, Esther Vilar studied medicine before she moved to Germany to study psychology and sociology. After taking up scores of odd jobs, she soared to international fame with her bestselling book The Manipulated Man, which argues that women aren’t oppressed but control men in relationships.

 27 
William Stern
(Psychologist)

William Stern
1
Birthdate: April 29, 1871
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 27, 1938

 28 
Ernst Heinrich Weber
(Psychologist, Physician)

Ernst Heinrich Weber
1
Birthdate: June 24, 1795
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Died: January 26, 1878

 29 
Paul Baltes
(Psychologist)

Paul Baltes
1
Birthdate: June 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saarlouis, Germany
Died: November 7, 2006

 30 
Uta Frith
(Psychologist)

Uta Frith
1
Birthdate: May 25, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rockenhausen, Germany

 31 
Ludwig Klages
(Philosopher)

Ludwig Klages
1
Birthdate: December 10, 1872
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: July 29, 1956

 32 
Jutta Rudiger
(Psychologist)

Jutta Rudiger
1
Birthdate: June 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 13, 2001

 33 
Carl Stumpf
(Philosopher)

Carl Stumpf
1
Birthdate: April 21, 1848
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wiesentheid, Germany
Died: December 25, 1936

 34 
Lydia Benecke
(Psychologist)

Lydia Benecke
1
Birthdate: April 21, 1848, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bytom, Poland

 35 
Eduard Spranger
(Philosopher)

Eduard Spranger
1
Birthdate: June 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 17, 1963

 36 
Karl Bühler
(German psychologist)

Karl Bühler
1
Birthdate: May 27, 1879
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Meckesheim, Germany
Died: October 24, 1963

 37 
Oswald Külpe
(Psychologist)

Oswald Külpe
0
Birthdate: August 3, 1862
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kandau, Courland
Died: December 30, 1915

 38 
Moritz Lazarus
(Philosopher)

Moritz Lazarus
0
Birthdate: September 15, 1824
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wielen, Poland
Died: April 13, 1903

 39 

Friedrich Eduard Beneke
0
Birthdate: February 17, 1798
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 1, 1854

 40 
Heinrich Klüver
(Psychologist)

Heinrich Klüver
0
Birthdate: May 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Holstein,Germany
Died: February 8, 1979

 41 
Georg Sieber
(Psychologist)

Georg Sieber
0
Birthdate: April 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Münster, Germany

 42 

Felicitas Rombold
0
Birthdate: 1988 AD

Former model Felicitas Rombold is better known as the wife of Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl of Good Bye, Lenin! fame. The two are parents to two sons and had tied the knot after the birth of their first child. Felicitas is a psychotherapist and boasts of a PhD in psychology.