Clever Hans and the Origins of German Experimental Parapsychology: Sixth Pre-Print Article from SHPSC Special Issue

In the sixth pre-print article from the upcoming Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences special issue on psychical research, Chantal Marazia and Fabio De Sio reconstruct the story of the famous “thinking horses” of Elberfeld and their main investigator, Karl Krall.

CLEVER HANS AND HIS EFFECTS. KARL KRALL AND THE ORIGINS OF EXPERIMENTAL PARAPSYCHOLOGY IN GERMANY

Fabio De Sio (Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf) & Chantal Marazia (Université de Strasbourg)

Abstract

“Clever Hans” on trial (1907)

“Clever Hans” on trial (1907)

Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, the so-called Elberfeld horses, the counting and speaking animals, were among the most debated subjects of the newborn comparative psychology. Yet, they have left little trace in the historiography of this discipline, mostly as an appendix of the more famous Clever Hans. Their story is generally told as the prelude to the triumph of reductionistic experimental psychology. By paying a more scrupulous attention than has so far being done to the second life of Hans, and to the endeavours of his second master, Karl Krall, this article explores the story of the Elberfeld horses as an important, if so far neglected, chapter in the history of experimental parapsychology.

Keywords

Karl Krall; Experimental parapsychology; Clever Hans; Elberfeld Horses; Psychic research; Anpsi

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

About Sommer_HPS

Dr. Andreas Sommer, historian of the human sciences at Cambridge University, UK. View all posts by Sommer_HPS

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