Harvey A. Carr

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Harvey A. Carr
Born April 30, 1873
Died June 21, 1954
Fields Functional psychology

Harvey A. Carr (April 30, 1873 – June 21, 1954) was an American psychologist[1] and developer of functionalism.[2] He was president of the American Psychological Association and professor emeritus of the University of Chicago.[3][4][5]


Carr attended the University of Colorado[3] as a student of psychology with Arthur Allin.[1] There he received his Bachelor of Science in 1901 and his Master of Science in 1902.[2][3] He taught at a high school in Texas, the State Normal School in Michigan, and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York from 1905 to 1908.[6]

Between 1907 and 1908, Carr and John B. Watson conducted a study called the Kerplunk experiment.[7] Along with John Dewey and James Rowland Angell, he is credited with the development of functionalism as a school of thought,[8][9] leading American psychology toward a functionalist approach.[9]

Upon returning to Chicago he studied experimental psychology with Dewey and Watson at the University of Chicago.[2] He would later study under Angell.[6] In 1905, he received his Ph.D.,[3] with a doctoral dissertation on A visual illusion of motion during eye closure.[1] He replaced John Watson as supervisor of the animal laboratory.[6] In 1921, Angell left Chicago for Yale and Carr informally took the position as head of the psychology department.[2] The appointment was formalized two years later in 1923.[2][6] Under his leadership Chicago functionalism flourished, reaching the peak of its popularity.[2] In 1925, he published Psychology: A Study of Mental Activity which organized the functionalist ideas.[8]

He taught in Chicago from 1926 to 1938 where he directed the experimental psychology laboratory and in 1926 he served as President of the American Psychological Association. He became Professor Emeritus in 1938.


  1. ^ a b c Ballantyne, Paul F. "Carr, Harvey A.". Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Singh, Arun Kumar (1991). The Comprehensive History of Psychology (2 ed.). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 161. ISBN 81-208-0804-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Harvey Carr". Encarta. Microsoft. 
  4. ^ Report of the National Academy of Sciences. Committee on Oceanography, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1935. p. 173. Retrieved April 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ Pillsbury, W. B. (Mar 1955). "Harvey A. Carr: 1873–1954". The American Journal of Psychology 68 (1): 149–151. 
  6. ^ a b c d Greenberg, Gary; Haraway, Maury M. (1998). Comparative psychology: a handbook. Taylor & Francis. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-8153-1281-4. 
  7. ^ Ballantyne, Paul F. "The "Kerplunk" Experiment". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  8. ^ a b Craighead, W. Edward; Nemeroff, Charles B. (2000). The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology and behavioral science (3 ed.). John Wiley and Sons. p. 606. ISBN 0-471-24096-6. 
  9. ^ a b Kurtines, William M.; Azmitia, Margarita (1992). The Role of values in psychology and human development. Gewirtz, Jacob L. John Wiley and Sons. p. 133. ISBN 0-471-53945-7.