Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett
(1886-1969) was a British psychologist
of experimental psychology
at the University of Cambridge
from 1931 until his retirement in 1951. With Kenneth Craik
he was responsible for setting up the Medical Research Council
's Applied Psychology Research Unit
(APU) at Cambridge in 1944, becoming Director of the unit after Craik's early death in 1945. He was one of the forerunners of cognitive psychology
. However, while Bartlett considered his own work on cognitive psychology, especially remembering, to be a study in social psychology more recent developments have individualised his concepts.
One of his most famous studies cast considerable light on the formation of memory. He composed a short fable called The War of the Ghosts , which comprised a sequence of events which were ostensibly logical but subtly illogical, and there were several discreet non-sequiturs. He would recite this story to subjects, then later (sometimes much later) ask them to recall as much of it as possible. He discovered that most people found it extremely difficult to recall the story exactly, even after repeated readings, and hypothesised that, where the elements of the story failed to fit into the schemata of the listener, these elements were omitted from the recollection, or transformed into more familiar forms
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1932 (a rare distinction for a psychologist), and knighted in 1948 for services to the Royal Air Force, on the basis of his wartime work in applied psychology.
The U.K. Ergonomics Society awards a Bartlett medal in his honour, and the Experimental Psychology Society holds an annual Bartlett Lecture.
(dates are not necessarily those of original publication)
- Remembering (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1932)
- Thinking (Basic Books, New York, 1958)
- The problem of noise (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1934)
- Exercises in logic (Clive, London, 1922)
- The mind at work and play (Allen and Unwin, London, 1951)
- Psychology and the soldier (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1927)
- Political propaganda (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1940)
- Psychology and primitive culture (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1923)
- Religion as experience, belief, action (Cumberledge, London, 1950)
- Johnston, E B (2001). "The repeated reproduction of Bartlett's Remembering". History of psychology 4 (4): 341–66.
- Oldfield, R C (1972). "Frederic Charles Bartlett: 1886-1969". The American journal of psychology 85 (1): 133–40.
- Broadbent, D E (1970). "Frederic Charles Bartlett, 1886-1969". Biographical memoirs of fellows of the Royal Society. Royal Society (Great Britain) 16 1–13.
- (1969). "Sir Frederic Bartlett, C.B.E., M.A., D.SC., F.R.S". British medical journal 4 (5676): 175.
- (1969). "Frederic Charles Bartlett Kt., C.B.E., M. A. Cantab., F.R.S". Lancet 2 (7625): 855–6.