Carl Seashore

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Carl Seashore.

Carl Emil Seashore (January 28, 1866 – October 16, 1949) was a prominent American psychologist.


Seashore was born in Mörlunda, Hultsfred Municipality, Kalmar County, Sweden to Carl Gustav and Emily Sjöstrand. He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1870 and settled in Iowa. The name “Seashore” is a translation of the Swedish surname Sjöstrand. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota in 1891, having studied mathematics, music, and classical languages and literature. During his years in college he served as the organist and choir director of a Swedish-Lutheran church and his salary there paid most of his college expenses. Seashore attended Yale when that school had just opened its psychology department under George Trumbull Ladd. In 1895, Seashore was awarded the school’s first Ph. D in psychology for his dissertation on the role of inhibition in learning.[1] Seashore became a member of the Iowa Beta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.


After a trip to Europe and a subsequent fellowship at Yale, he accepted a permanent position at the University of Iowa where he spent the remaining 50 years of his life. There, he was eventually made chairman of the department of psychology and Dean of the Graduate School.

Seashore was particularly interested in audiology, the psychology of music, the psychology of speech and stuttering, the psychology of the graphic arts and measuring motivation and scholastic aptitude. He devised the Seashore Tests of Musical Ability in 1919, a version of which is still used in schools in the United States. His interests in the fine arts led to a joint effort with Professor Norman Meier and the publication of the Meier-Seashore Art Judgment Test in 1929. His complete publication list from 1893 to 1949 includes 237 books and articles.[2]

Selected works[edit]

  • Elementary Experiments in Psychology (New York, H. Holt and Company, 1908)
  • The Measurement of Musical Talent (New York, G. Schirmer, 1915)
  • The Psychology of Musical Talent (Boston, New York [etc.] Silver, Burdett and Company, 1919)
  • Introduction to Psychology (New York, Macmillan, 1923)
  • Approaches to the Science of Music and Speech (Iowa City, The University, 1933)
  • Psychology of Music (New York, London, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1938)
  • Why we love music (Philadelphia, Oliver Ditson company, Theodore Presser co., distributors, 1941)
  • In Search of Beauty in Music : a scientific approach to musical esthetics (New York, The Ronald Press Company, 1947)


  1. ^ Stoddard, George D., "Carl Emil Seashore: 1866-1949", The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Jul., 1950), pp. 456-462, University of Illinois Press.
  2. ^ Dr. Seashore Ranked as One of Top Alumni (by Dr. John S. Kendall, Professor of Psychology and President of Gustavus Adolphus College) (]

Further reading[edit]

  • Miles, Walter R. In Biographical Memoirs (pages 256-316) NY: Columbia University Press. 1956
  • Addis, Laird. "Carl Emil Seashore," Iowa Biographical Dictionary, edited by David Hudson, Marvin Bergmann, and Loren Horton, University of Iowa Press, 2008, 447-448.

External links[edit]

Educational offices
Preceded by
Walter Bowers Pillsbury
20th President of the American Psychological Association
Succeeded by
Edward Lee Thorndike