Gardner Murphy was born in Ohio on July 8, 1985. He studied at Yale University and received his Bachelor’s in 1916. He later studied at Harvard University where he studied parapsychology and telepathy. He earned his M.A. from Harvard in 1917 and received the Hodgson Fellowship in Psychical Research from Harvard. Murphy continued studying for his Ph.D. for four more years, while attending Columbia University. His Ph.D. was finally achieved through his fellowship and as a result of his many experiments Rene Warcollier, a French psychical experimenter. With Warcollier, Murphy conducted more than 35 paranormal experiments over nearly two years, involving participants from New York and Paris.
Murphy held a lecturing position in the psychology department of Columbia for four years. Although he insisted that psychical research was an academic field, he continued to teach psychology at Columbia as an assistant professor. He was awarded the coveted Hodgson Fellowship again in 1937. Murphy went to City College in New York and held the position of chairman and professor of their Department of Psychology from 1940 to 1942. In 1952, Murphy began directing research at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. He was voted on to the board of the American Psychological Association, and eventually rose to the position of president of the organization. He also held the position of Director of the Parapsychology Foundation and was President of the British Society for Psychical Research in the late 1940’s. Murphy was a member of the council of the American Society for Psychical Research and was involved with the Journal of Parapsychology for several years.
Contribution to Psychology
Murphy was among the first researchers to conduct scientific experiments on telepathy, clairvoyance, and other extra-sensory powers. Murphy was also directly responsible for the creation of the Psychology Department and the Parapsychology laboratory at the prestigious Duke University.
Murphy was a prolific author and is credited with the publication of many psychology books, including Personality and Human Potentialities. Much of what he wrote is still considered invaluable research and essential to teaching in the field of parapsychology. In addition, Murphy wrote several articles that highlighted his theories on social and clinical psychology, personality, parapsychology, and humanistic psychology.