McDougall, William, 1871–1938, American psychologist, b. Lancashire, England, educated at Cambridge, Oxford, and Gottingen. An important figure in the development of social and physiological psychology, he was a professor of psychology at Harvard (1920–27), and at Duke from 1927 until his death. He studied eugenics and heredity, and for 17 years conducted experiments on the inheritance of acquired characteristics. He maintained that individuals are motivated by inherited instincts that push them toward goals which may be unknown to them. His works include An Introduction to Social Psychology (1908–50, repr. 1973) and Physiological Psychology (1920).
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