William Stern

William Stern

:"This article is about the German psychologist William Lewis Stern. William Stern is also the name of the father in the 1986-1988 "Baby M" custody battle."

William Lewis Stern (April 29, 1871 - March 27, 1938), born Wilhelm Louis Stern, was a German psychologist and philosopher noted as a pioneer in the field of the psychology of personality and intelligence. He was the inventor of the concept of the intelligence quotient, or IQ, later used by Lewis Terman and other researchers in the development of the first IQ tests, based on the work of Alfred Binet. He was the father of the German writer and philosopher Günther Anders. In 1897, Stern invented the tone variator, allowing him to research human perception of sound in an unprecedented way.


Stern was born in Berlin, the grandson of the German-Jewish reform philosopher Sigismund Stern. He received his PhD in psychology from the University of Berlin in 1893. He taught at the University of Breslau from 1897 to 1916. In 1916 he was appointed Professor of Psychology at University of Hamburg, where he remained until 1933 as Director of the Psychologic Institute. Stern, a Jew, was ousted by Hitler's regime after the rise of Nazi power. He emigrated first to the Netherlands, then to the United States in 1933, where he was appointed Lecturer and Professor at Duke University. He taught at Duke until his death in 1938.

He was married to Clara Joseephy, a psychologist. They had three children: Hilde, Eva and Günther, who became an essayist and thinker as well.

Stern was considered in his time as a leading youth psychologist and one of the foremost authorities in differential psychology. He introduced to intelligence testing the concept of the intelligence quotient or I.Q., the practice of dividing the developmental age by the chronological age. Stern's philosophy, which is laid down in several voluminous books, was expressed as a form of personalism.

Stern also wrote about the persona of groups of people. He viewed large institutions like the church as living entities with personalities. He is quoted in the Dutch book "De levende Onderneming" ("The Living Company") by Arie de Geus who uses Stern's philosophy to explain the longevity of certain companies like Shell Oil and Mitsubishi.


* Stern, W. (1912). "The Psychological Methods of Intelligence Testing" (G. Whipple, Trans.). Baltimore: Warwick and York.
* "General Psychology from the Personalistic Standpoint" (1938)

External links

* [http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/stern.shtml Biography] from Indiana University
* [http://www.bh.org.il/Names/POW/Stern.asp Profile] at Museum of the Jewish Diaspora
* [http://radicalacademy.com/adiphicontemphilosophers4.htm Biography] at Radical Academy

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  • William Stern — William Stern, geboren als Wilhelm Louis Stern, (* 29. April 1871 in Berlin; † 27. März 1938 in Durham, North Carolina) war ein bedeutender deutscher Psychologe, Begründer der Differenziellen Psychologie und Erfinder des Intelligenzquotienten. Er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • William Stern — William Lewis Stern (29 de abril de 1871 27 de marzo de 1938), psicólogo y filósofo alemán, conocido como pionero en el campo de la psicología de la personalidad y de la inteligencia. Fue el inventor del concepto cociente de la inteligencia, o… …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Stern (businessman) — Stern Group redirects here. For the Zionist armed group, see Stern Gang. William George Stern (born c.1934) is a businessman most notable as the owner of the British Stern Group of companies. When it collapsed in 1973, Stern became Britain s… …   Wikipedia

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