Max Wertheimer - Gestalt School of Psychology

max wertheimer

Max Wertheimer (b. April 15, 1880 - d. October 12, 1943) was born in the Czech Republic. He was one of the trio of psychologists who founded the Gestalt school of psychology (his collaborators were Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka).

World War I interrupted the Gestalt school's work, with both Koffka and Wertheimer assigned to war duties and research. Kohler was sent to the Canary Islands where he headed a research facility investigating anthropoids. The three were reunited after the end of the war and continued to experiment and work together.

Post-War Berlin Years

Wertheimer commenced work at the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin, and was already on the faculty when Kohler was appointed a director of the Institute (Koffka had taken a position in Frankfurt). They founded a graduate school with the help of the Psychologische Forschung, a respected journal (in English known as «Psychological Research: Journal of Psychology and Related Fields»). The journal also acted as the forum for faculty and students to publish their work and express their opinions on psychological research and issues of the day. Many students went on to become notable figures in their own right including; Rudolf Arnheim, Bluma Zeigarnik, Herta Kopfermann and Karl Duncker to name but a few.

It was during this period that Wertheimer met and married his wife, Anna 'Anni' Caro. The daughter of a doctor, the couple tied the knot in 1923 and had four children together; Rudolf (who died in early childhood), Michael, Valentin and Lise. In 1942, the couple divorced shortly before Wertheimer's death.