William James

1842-1910

William James was the first american psychologist. His first psychology lecture that he heard, was his own. He also wrote the first psychology text book in 1890. Being born in New York, he was the oldest out of his 4 other siblings. He went to Harvard and got his MD, but was not interested in the medical field anymore, and started to study psychology. His health wasn't the best, but something unique about him is that he was able to speak at least 5 different languages. He married Alice Howe Gibbens in 1897, they had 5 kids together.
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Contribution to Psychology

He influenced thousands of people when he came out with the psychology textbook. He thought psychology needed to study the functions of consciousness, or the ways consciousness helps people adapt to their environment. This became known as functionalism. His goal of psychology was that understanding the idea of functionalism helped us adapt to and function in our surroundings and everyday lives.