Max Friedrich Meyer

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Max Friedrich Meyer (June 14, 1873 – March 14, 1967) was a German-born American psychologist. His full original name, according to what his younger son, Otto Herman Meyer told his children, Alice Virginia Meyer and Colton William Meyer, was Maximilian Fredericus Meyer.

Meyer was born in Danzig as the son of a house painter. He relocated to the USA and became Professor of Experimental Psychology (and initiator of the Psychology Department) of the University of Missouri. His work largely concerned neurology and its relationship to behavior. He was also co-developer of the Lipps–Meyer law (concerning melodic intervals of music). He was dismissed from the University of Missouri due to his academic involvement with a scandalous questionnaire (concerning opinions about marriage and sex) issued as a project by Meyer's student, Orval Hobart Mowrer.[1] The university was subsequently censured by the American Association of University Professors—an early case regarding academic freedom due a professor.[2]

Meyer invented the tonality diamond, popularized by the theories of composer Harry Partch.[3] He was the 1930 President of the Midwestern Psychological Association[4] and the 1930 President of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.[5] He was identified as one of the most important psychologists of the period 1600–1967.[6]

He is the author of:

  • Contributions to a psychological theory of music (1901)
  • An Introduction to the Mechanics of the Inner Ear (1907). ISBN 1-110-35986-1.
  • The Fundamental Laws of Human Behavior: Lectures on the Foundations of Any Mental or Social Science (1911)
  • Psychology of the Other-One (1921)
  • Abnormal Psychology (1927)
  • The Musician's Arithmetic (1929)
  • How we hear;: How tones make music (1950)


  1. ^ Nelson, Lawrence J. (2003). Rumors of Indiscretion: The University of Missouri "Sex Questionnaire" Scandal in the Jazz Age. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1449-5.
  2. ^ A.J. Carlson (February 1930). "Report on the Dismissal of Professor DeGraff and the Suspension of Professor Meyer". Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. XVI (2): 2–35. doi:10.2307/40218216.
  3. ^ "Musical Mathematics: Meyer's Diamond",
  4. ^ "MPA Presidents and Meeting Locations". Midwestern Psychological Association. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
  5. ^ "PAST OFFICERS". Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Archived from the original on 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
  6. ^ Edith L. Annin; Edwin G. Boring & Robert I. Watson (October 1968). "Important psychologists, 1600–1967". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. 4 (4): 303–315. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(196810)4:4<303::aid-jhbs2300040402>;2-b.

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