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Clark L. Hull Quotes


Clark L. Hull
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Clark Leonard Hull
  • Born: 24th May 1884, Akron, New York, U.S.
  • Died: 10th May 1952, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
  • Alma mater: University of Michigan
  • Occupation: Psychologist and author
  • Notable studies: Drive theory; Analysing psychological drives

"Hypnosis is not sleep, … it has no special relationship to sleep, and the whole concept of sleep when applied to hypnosis obscures the situation"

Clark L. Hull

"The study of geometry proved to be the most important event of my life; it opened to me an entirely new world - the fact that thought itself could generate and really prove new relationships from previously possessed elements"

Clark L. Hull

"With powerful deductive instruments at our disposal we should be able to predict the outcome of learning not only under untried laboratory conditions, but under as yet untried conditions of practical education"

Clark L. Hull

"There will be systems which attempt explanations on different levels such as the perceptual level, the stimulus-response level, the neuro-anatomical level, and the neuro-physiological level"

Clark L. Hull

"One of the most striking things about the present state of the theory of learning and of psychological theory in general is the wide disagreement among individual psychologists"

Clark L. Hull

"We should be able not only to predict what rats will do in a maze under as yet untried circumstances, but what a man will do under the complex conditions of everyday life"

Clark L. Hull

"If the definitions and postulates of a system are not clear to the sponsor of the system, neither he nor anyone else can make specific and definite deductions from them"

Clark L. Hull

"Scientific theory in its best sense consists of the strict logical deduction from definite postulates of what should be observed under specified conditions"

Clark L. Hull

"Let us hope, there will survive a limited number of systems which show a degree of successes appreciably in excess of what chance would produce"

Clark L. Hull

"I believe that one of the greatest sources of international conflict and human misery lies ultimately in our prevalent subjectivity"

Clark L. Hull

"Let the psychological theorist begin with neurological postulates"

Clark L. Hull

"We must be extremely careful to insure the rigor of our deductions"

Clark L. Hull

"Sound scientific theory has usually led not only to prediction but to control"

Clark L. Hull

"Sometimes the deduction failure may appear to be the result of ignoring some law not yet formulated"

Clark L. Hull

"What I really wanted was an occupation allied to philosophy in the sense of involving theory"

Clark L. Hull

"I came to the definitive conclusion . . . that psychology is a true natural science"

Clark L. Hull

"We must be on our guard against might be called the 'anthropomorphic fallacy"

Clark L. Hull

"Before we can mend a condition we must discover the basis of the difficulty"

Clark L. Hull

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Clark L. Hull Biography

Clark L. Hull was the psychologist who backed up his theories with reproducible mathematical equations that added an extra dimension to the science of mental life.



Hull's theories on psychology, learning theory and learning theory and psychoanalysis saw him become the most influential scientists in these fields during the mid twentieth century.

Clark L. Hull taught at Yale University where many of his students, including Albert Bandura, Neal Miller, John Dollard, Kenneth Spence, and Janet Taylor Spence went on to have rewarding careers in the many spheres of psychology.

Indeed Kenneth Spence went on to collaborate with the eminent psychologist as he helped to develop Hull's neo-behaviorist theory into what is now known as the Hull-Spence theory of conditioning, learning, and motivation.

Indeed Clark L. Hull appreciated Spence's contribution as he was quoted as saying: "Dr. Spence has contributed generously and effectively with suggestions and criticisms, large numbers of which have been utilized without indication of their origin".

Hull's prize work was his 1943 publication of "Principles Of Behavior" which is considered to be one of the most influential books written about psychology during the twentieth century.

Hull drew his inspiration for his work from a combination of Isaac Newton, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and the psychologists Edward Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov which when combined with his engineering and mathematical skills gave him the platform to combine his skills that resulted in his highly complex hypothetico-deductive theory to account for all learning.

Good psychologists are not just great listeners as there can be good for a one liner also, so this is my compilation of 18 of the best Clark L. Hull quotes

Quotes About Clark L. Hull

The author Michael E.Rashotte gave this assessment: "Hull is perhaps best known for principles of behavior. ... The intellectual roots of Hull's planned behavioristic theory lay in a diverse set of important ideas concerning behavior and the nature of theory. He also included a strong focus on behavior as an adaptive process, and on the role of motivation in energizing and directing behavior, reflecting the influences of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, respectively."

The psychologist Dr. David Krantz shared this observation: "From the 1940's to the mid 1960's, Hull's "Principles Of Behavior" theory (PB), with its hypothetico-deductive approach and its extensive conceptual formulas, was a dominant force in psychology. By the 1970's, with the realisation that Hull's theorising was conceptually and empirically flawed and with a shift in theoretical commitment, PB became another historical relic. However, it is important to reconsider Hull's contribution, beyond historical interest, because PB raises important systematic issues that currently are being debated, including whether psychology can be a unified science."

The ethologist Frank A. Beach described the legacy of his work: "The impact of Professor Hull's work upon psychology cannot be fully estimated at this time, but it has been powerful and widespread. His contributions to aptitude testing and to the study of suggestibility still influence present thinking. His system of behavior theory may well have produced more controversy and provoked more experimental work than any other psychological theory in the twentieth century."


Clark L. Hull quote Sound scientific theory has usually led not only to prediction but to control