Bluma Zeigarnik

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Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik (Russian: Блю́ма Ву́льфовна Зейга́рник; 9 November 1901 – 24 February 1988) was a Soviet psychologist and psychiatrist, a member of the Berlin School of experimental psychology and Vygotsky Circle. She discovered the Zeigarnik effect and contributed to the establishment of experimental psychopathology as a separate discipline in the Soviet Union in the post-World War II period.

Life and career[edit]

Born into a Lithuanian Jewish family in Prienai, Suwałki Governorate, Zeigarnik matriculated from the Berlin University in 1927. She described the Zeigarnik effect in a diploma prepared under the supervision of Kurt Lewin. In the 1930s, she worked with Lev Vygotsky at the All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine (AUIEM, aka VIEM). During World War II, she assisted Alexander Luria in repairing head injuries. She was a co-founder of the Moscow State University Department of Psychology and the All-Russian Seminars in Psychopathology. She died in Moscow at the age of 86.

The Zeigarnik effect[edit]

Main article: Zeigarnik effect

In psychology, the Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks (this effect should not be confused with the Ovsiankina effect[1]). In Gestalt psychology, the Zeigarnik effect has been used to demonstrate the general presence of Gestalt phenomena: not just appearing as perceptual effects, but also present in cognition.[2]

Selected Publications[edit]

  • 1927: Das Behalten erledigter und unerledigter Handlungen. Psychologische Forschung 9, 1-85.
  • 1965: The pathology of thinking. New York: Consultants Bureau Enterprises.
  • 1972: Experimental Abnormal Psychology. New York: Plenum Press.
  • 1984: Kurt Lewin and Soviet psychology. Journal of Social Issues 40, 193.

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maria Ovsiankina was a colleague of Bluma Zeigarnik who investigated the effect of task interruption on the tendency to resume the task at the next opportunity; cf. Ovsiankina 1928: Die Wiederaufnahme unterbrochener Handlungen. In: Psychologische Forschung 11(3/4), 302-379.
  2. ^ cf. Kurt Koffka, Principles of Gestalt Psychology, 1935, pp 334ff.

External links[edit]