William James

1894 and 1904 APA President

Former APA President William JamesWilliam James did more to establish the new science of psychology in American than anyone else, despite the fact that he did not conduct psychological research or develop a systematic theory of psychology. His influence was spread through his writing, especially his two most important books, "Principles of Psychology" and "The Varieties of Religious Experience," but also through his many scholarly and popular articles. Among his students, some went on to important careers in psychology, including Mary Whiton Calkins and Edward Thorndike, others were writers or scientists in other fields, such as, Walter Cannon and Gertrude Stein. As one biographer put it, others “brought experimental psychology into the university for specialists, James made it come alive for everyone”.1


1. Fancher, Raymond (2000). William James. In the Encyclopedia of Psychology, vol. 4, pp. 382-385. New York/Washingon, DC: Oxford/American Psychological Association.