Wilhelm Salber

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Wilhelm Salber

Wilhelm Salber (born March 9, 1928 in Aachen , † December 2, 2016 in Cologne ) was a German psychologist and philosopher . He was director of the Psychological Institute at the University of Cologne for 30 years and is considered the founder of psychological morphology .

life and work

In 1947 Wilhelm Salber passed his Abitur at the Kaiser-Karls-Gymnasium in Aachen , followed in 1948 by graduating from the First German School of Journalism in Aachen. He then worked as a freelancer and draftsman for various newspapers. In 1949 he began to study psychology at the University of Bonn and received his doctorate in 1952. phil. with the topic "Judgment, Decision and Decision: A Contribution to the Psychology of Thought and Choice Processes" . In 1953 he received his diploma in psychology and worked as a research assistant in Bonn and Erlangen. From 1956 he carried out “motive investigations” on dealing with media and things (gasoline, films, cosmetics, coal, reading) and was an expert at the FSK for the film industry .

This was followed in 1958 by Salber's habilitation at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn and a year later he was appointed professor at the Pedagogical Academy in Cologne . After being appointed to the University of Würzburg in 1961, he came to the University of Cologne in 1963 as director of the newly founded Psychological Institute II. Here he developed concepts of a psychological morphology ; Research into everyday life, art, culture, media; of education, advertising and psychotherapeutic treatment. Salber succeeded in developing a psychotherapeutic school of thought, although he never acquired a license to practice as a psychotherapist or completed appropriate training.

In 1973 Wilhelm Salber met Anna Freud , a daughter of Sigmund Freud , made an analysis with her and made trips to the USSR at the invitation of the local Academy of Sciences . He worked on psychology programs on television (cries for help) and in films about Goya and Don Quixote . In 1993 he retired . Since then he has been involved in consulting and supervision (research projects; media studies; supervision of institutes for morphological research; investigation of development and generation problems).

Grave in the Melaten cemetery

Salber pursued an integrative research approach in which he related different psychological schools and research methods ( Wilhelm Dilthey , Friedrich Nietzsche , Sigmund Freud , Wolfgang Köhler , Friedrich Sander ). Taking into account psychoanalytic , holistic and gestalt psychological findings, he developed a new psychological concept, psychological morphology . It is based on experience and, with the help of a methodically strict procedure, comes to verifiable explanations.

His students included Dirk Blothner , Wilfrid Ennenbach , Herbert Fitzek , Stephan Grünewald , Friedrich Wolfram Heubach , Armin Schulte , Rosemarie Tüpker and Erich Westphal .
Daniel Salber, a son, uses psychological morphology in market research.

Salber was buried on December 15, 2016 at the Melaten Central Cemetery in Cologne (Lit. B No. 109).

Fonts (selection)


  • Daniel Salber (Ed.): House from Time . Bouvier, Bonn 2017, ISBN 978-3-416-04022-8 .
  • Yizhak Ahren: The Holocaust Lesson. On the psychology of the effects of a media event . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 1982, ISBN 978-3-531-11544-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary notice Wilhelm Salber , FAZ , December 10, 2016
  2. ^ Wilhelm Salber: Judgment, Decision and Decision: A Contribution to the Psychology of Thought and Choice Processes. Dissertation, Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn 1952
  3. a b Rüdiger Heimlich: The soul as an artist. In: ksta.de. March 7, 2008, accessed December 24, 2019 .
  4. ^ Wilhelm Salber: The psychic object. Investigations on the question of psychological recording and classification (habilitation thesis) . Bouvier, Bonn 1988, ISBN 978-3-416-01671-1 .
  5. marktforschung.de: New foundation in Cologne: SALBER , October 15, 2010, accessed October 28, 2019
  6. newmedia-art.info
  7. Review at zpid.de