Selz, Otto

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Selz, Otto Gender: M
born on 14 February 1881 at 05:45 (= 05:45 AM )
Place Munich, Germany, 48n08, 11e34
Timezone LMT m11e34 (is local mean time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 25°42' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 25°02 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 22°39'


German-Jewish psychologist who formulated the first non-associationist theory of thinking, in 1913. Influenced by the German phenomenological tradition, Selz used the method of introspection, but unlike his predecessors, his theory developed without the use of images and associations. Wilhelm Wundt used the method of introspection in the 1880s, but thought that higher-level mental processes could not be studied in the scientific laboratory.

Selz's ideas anticipated some major concepts in modern cognitive psychology, including the following: (a) The unit of thought is the directed association, (b) Understanding a problem involves forming a structure, and (c) Solving a problem involves testing for conditions.

Selz was an associate professor of legal philosophy at the University of Bonn, 1921-1923. From 1923 to 1933, Selz was a full professor of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy of the Mannheim Business School. He also served as the Rector of the Graduate School of Mannheim, 1929-1930.

Selz's career was shortened by Nazi policies in Europe, which banned him from his profession in Germany because he was Jewish. In 1938, he was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp, but was released after five weeks. In 1939, Selz emigrated to the Netherlands, teaching and researching (sometimes unofficially) in Amsterdam until 1943. On 24 July 1943 he was arrested and detained in Westerbork concentration camp. A month later, on 24 August, he was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Three days later, on 27 August 1943, Selz died in the vicinity of Auschwitz.

Aside from two pupils, Julius Bahle (a psychologist who applied Selz's psychology of productive thinking to the psychology of musical composition) and Adriaan de Groot, Selz never founded a school and after 1933 his name disappears almost completely from the German psychological literature. Until recently, his works were largely untranslated from German into English.

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Death by War or Terrorism 27 August 1943 (Died near Auschwitz, age 62)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes from Otto Selz: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Psychologie by Hans Bernard Seebohm (Universität Heidelberg, 1970), p. 8: "Am 14. Februar 1881 vormittags 5 Uhr 45 Minuten wurde Otto Selz in München, Färbergraben 5, geboren."


  • Passions : Criminal Victim : Concentration camp (Dachau, Westerbork, Auschwitz)
  • Vocation : Education : Administrator (Rector)
  • Vocation : Education : Teacher (Professor)
  • Vocation : Healing Fields : Psychologist
  • Vocation : Humanities+Social Sciences : Philosopher
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field