Honory doctorates 2002

Prof. dr. H.A. (Herman) Witkin

Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr. J.M. van Meel -1977 - Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen

Herman Witkin (New York, 1916–1979) was an American cognitive psychologist who became known for his theory of learning styles and cognitive styles.

Prof. dr. H.A. Witkin

Witkin studied psychology at New York University and conducted his research at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine in Brooklyn, NY and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey where he worked until his death in 1979. Witkin used objective tests to measure individual differences in cognitive style (sometimes called perceptual style). He was particularly interested in people's ability to determine the spatial orientation of objects, against a background of surrounding "cues" (stimuli). Moreover, he saw this as an important feature of human personality.

Witkin is the founder of concepts such as field dependence and field independence. These traits were measured by him with a perceptual test; the Rod and Frame test (RF test). Witkin's ideas were recorded in his book Personality Through Perception (1954). His ideas have been somewhat forgotten since his death. Some consider the traits measured by Witkins to be perceptual-visual skills rather than an aspect of a person's personality or character.

More about history and academic heritage

The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.