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School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, The University of Edinburgh

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School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, The University of Edinburgh
Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street
Edinburgh, EDH EH8 9AD
United Kingdom
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Phone
+44 (0)131 651 3083
Fax
+44 (0)131 651 3190
Contact
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Website
http://www.psy.ed.ac.uk/



The University of Edinburgh

Today Edinburgh is not only one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom, but one of the most wide-ranging in its teaching and research activities. Edinburgh's standing as a world centre for research is further enhanced by the presence on or around University precincts of many independently funded, national research institutes.

Consisting of some 35 academic staff, 35 research staff, 80 postgraduate students, and 700 undergraduate students, Psychology is a member of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

Psychology at Edinburgh has an interesting history. The department was set up in 1906 with generous funding from the Combe Trust. George Combe (1788-1858) was an Edinburgh lawyer turned phrenologist. His interests in individual differences and in educational and social reform were reflected in his will, specifying that his money be used to ‘promote the study, exposition, teaching, and practical application of them (i.e. the natural and divine laws referred to by him) by experiment, observation, schools, lecturing’. This wording enabled his trustees to fund not only a lectureship but also to equip and maintain a laboratory for almost 40 years. This post was known as the Combe lectureship in General and Experimental Psychology, and the associated laboratory as the George Combe laboratory. The first incumbent of the post was Dr W.G. Smith, a PhD student of Wundt, and the second incumbent, James Drever, became the first Professor of Psychology in Scotland in 1931.

Psychology was in fact taught as a component of philosophy courses at Edinburgh much earlier in the nineteenth century, but 1906 saw the establishment of the first independent lectureship in psychology. This was made possible by generous funding from the George Combe Trust. Combe was an Edinburgh lawyer turned phrenologist and it can be argued an early exponent of the psychology of individual differences. He wrote extensively on many causes, but in particular on matters of education and social reform.

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