- Robert Yerkes
name = Robert Yerkes
May 26, 1876
February 3, 1956
nationality = American
Robert Mearns Yerkes (
May 26, 1876– February 3, 1956) was an American psychologist, ethologist, and primatologist best known for his work in intelligence testing and in the field of comparative psychology. Yerkes was a pioneer in the study both of humanand primateintelligence and of the social behaviorof gorillas and chimpanzees. Along with John D. Dodson, Yerkes developed the Yerkes-Dodson lawrelating arousalto performance.
Education and early career
Robert Yerkes was born in Breadysville,
Pennsylvania(near Ivyland, Pennsylvania). Growing up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, Robert Yerkes wanted to leave the hard life of the rural farmer and become a physician. With the financial help of an uncle, Yerkes attended Ursinus Collegefrom 1892 to 1897. Upon graduating he received an offer from Harvard Universityto do graduate work in Biology. Faced with a choice of Harvard or medical training in Philadelphia, he chose to go to Harvard.
At Harvard, Yerkes became interested in animal behavior, so much so that he put off further medical training to study
comparative psychology. He earned his Ph.D. in the Psychology Department in 1902.
His early career was strongly influenced by the debts Yerkes incurred paying for school. Upon his graduation from Harvard, he took up a position with the school as an instructor and Assistant Professor in Comparative Psychology. He had to supplement his income during the summer for several years by teaching general psychology at Radcliffe College. Another part-time job he took on was being the director of psychological research at the Boston State Psychopathic Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1907, Yerkes published his first book, "The Dancing Mouse". Among his friends during this time was future behaviorist John Watson, with whom he exchanged ideas and collaborated. He was also a member of the
Wicht Club (1903 - 1911).
In 1917, Yerkes served as president of the
American Psychological Association(APA). Under his urging, the APA began several programs devoted to the war effort in World War I. As chairman of the Committee on the Psychological Examinationof Recruits, he developed the Army's Alpha and Beta Intelligence Tests, the first nonverbal group tests, which were given to over 1 million United Statessoldiers during the war. The test ultimately concluded that recent immigrants (especially those from Southern and Eastern Europe) scored considerably lower than older waves of immigration (from Northern Europe), and was used as one of the eugenicmotivations for harsh immigration restriction. The results would later be criticized as very clearly only measuring acculturation, as the test scores correlated nearly exactly with the number of years spent living in the US.
National Research Council
Immediately after World War I, Yerkes worked as a paid officer for the
United States National Research Council(NRC) and took the helm of the NRC Committee for Research in Problems of Sex. The Committee for Research in Problems of Sex helped Yerkes establish close relationships with officers from Rockefeller philanthropic foundations. These relationships later helped him to solicit substantial funds for his chimpanzee projects.
Yerkes had a long and storied fascination with the study of chimpanzees. He had spent time observing chimpanzees in
Cubaat Madame Abreu's colony in the early 1920s, and had returned from the trip determined to raise and observe chimps on his own. He began by purchasing two chimpanzees, Chim and Panzee, from a zoo. He brought the two chimps home, where they lived in a bedroom and ate with a fork at a miniature table. Chim was a particular delight for Yerkes, and the summer that chimp and psychologist spent together is memorialized in "Almost Human" (1924). ["Almost Human", 1924.]
In 1924, Yerkes was hired as a professor of psychobiology, a field he pioneered, at
Yale University. He founded the Yale University Laboratories of Primate Biology in New Haven, followed by his Anthropoid Breeding and Experiment Station in Orange Park, Floridawith funds from the Rockefeller Foundation. After his death, the lab was moved to Emory Universityin Atlanta, Georgiaand is now called the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. The primate language Yerkishwas developed there.
Asked how to say his name, he told "The
Literary Digest" it was YER-keez. [Charles Earle Funk, "What's the Name, Please?", Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.]
*1907, "The Dancing Mouse, A Study in Animal Behavior"
*1911, "Introduction to Psychology"
*1911, "Methods of Studying Vision in Animals" (with John B. Watson)
*1914, "Outline of a Study of the Self"
*1915, "A Point Scale for Measuring Mental Ability" (with co-authors)
Great Ape personhood
List of apes
The mind of an ape
* [http://www.yerkes.emory.edu/about_history.html Emory.edu] - 'Innovation and Science: The History of Yerkes',
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
* [http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/yerkes.shtml Indiana.edu] - 'Robert Mearns Yerkes (1876-1956) American Comparative Psychologist', Indiana University
* [http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/120/IntelligenceTests.html IPFW.edu] - 'Intelligence Tests' (historical overview)
* [http://www.holah.karoo.net/gouldstudy.htm Karoo.net] - 'A Nation of
Morons' (critique of the Army Alpha Intelligence Test), Stephen Jay Gould
* [http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Yerkes/murchison.htm YorkU.ca] - 'Autobiography of Robert Mearns Yerkes', Robert Yerkes,
*gutenberg author| id=Robert+M.+Yerkes | name=Robert Yerkes
title=Creating a chimpanzee community. 1963.
periodical=The Yale journal of biology and medicine
title=The Robert Mearns Yerkes papers.
periodical=The Yale University library gazette. Yale University. Library
title=The biological enterprise: sex, mind, and profit from human engineering to sociobiology.
periodical=Radical history review
title=Thorndike's puzzle boxes.
periodical=Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences
title=SIGNIFICANT SEGMENTS OF THE HERRICK-YERKES CORRESPONDENCE RELATIVE TO PSYCHOBIOLOGY AND THEIR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.
periodical=Perspect. Biol. Med.
title=Robert Mearns Yerkes, May 26, 1876--February 3, 1956.
periodical=Biographical memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
publication-date=1957 Sep 13
title=R. M. Yerkes, psychobiologist.
title=Robert Mearns Yerkes, 1876-1956.
title=Robert Mearns Yerkes: 1876-1956.
periodical=The American journal of psychology
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Robert Yerkes — Robert Mearns Yerkes (* 26. Mai 1876, Breadysville, Bucks County Pennsylvania, USA; † 3. Februar 1956, New Haven, Connecticut) war ein US amerikanischer Psychologe und Zoologe und arbeitete vor allem im Bereich der Ethologie (komparative oder… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Robert Mearns Yerkes — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Robert Mearns Yerkes (26 de mayo de 1876 – 3 de febrero de 1956) fue un sicólogo, etólogo y primatólogo norteamericano conocido por sus trabajos en el campo de los test de inteligencia y en psicología comparada.… … Wikipedia Español
Yerkes — steht für: das Yerkes National Primate Research Center, benannt nach Robert Yerkes das Yerkes Dodson Gesetz, benannt nach Robert Yerkes (und John Dodson) einen Mondkrater benannt nach Charles Yerkes, siehe Yerkes (Mondkrater) das Yerkes… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Yerkes — is a surname, and may refer to:* Charles Yerkes (1837 – 1905), American financier * Robert Yerkes (1876 – 1956), American psychologist, ethologist, and primatologist * Steve Yerkes (1888 1971), American baseball playerYerkes may also refer to:*… … Wikipedia
Yerkes National Primate Research Center — The Yerkes National Primate Research Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University, is one of eight national primate research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. The center, founded in 1930 by Robert Yerkes, the… … Wikipedia
Yerkes-Dodson-Modell — Das Aktivationsmodell (auch Yerkes Dodson Modell) gibt eine psychophysische Grundbeziehung wieder. Es geht auf Yerkes und Dodson zurück und besagt, dass das allgemeine nervöse Erregungsniveaus (Aktivationsniveau) mit der Leistung in einer… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Yerkes-Dodson-Gesetz — Das Yerkes Dodson Gesetz (nach Robert Yerkes und John D. Dodson, 1908) beschreibt die menschliche Leistungsfähigkeit in unterschiedlichen Umständen: Zwischen der physiologischen Aktivierung und der Leistungsfähigkeit besteht ein umgekehrt U… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Yerkes National Primate Research Center — Das The Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia an der Emory University ist eines von acht nationalen Forschungszentren auf dem Gebiet der Primatologie, die vom National Institutes of Health finanziert werden. Das… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Yerkes — [ jəːkiːz], Robert Mearns, amerikanischer Psychologe, * Breadysville (Pennsylvania) 26. 5. 1876, ✝ New Haven (Connecticut) 3. 2. 1956; studierte Zoologie und Psychologie und war Professor an der Harvard University, in … Universal-Lexikon
Yerkes — Yerkes, Robert Means … Enciclopedia Universal