David Hothersall

(1940- )

Compiled by Christina Fisher (May 2001)

Hothersall Biography
Time Line

David Hothersall was born in Long Ridge, England on August 25, 1940. Long Ridge was a tiny village with a population size of less than 200. The closest well-known town near Long Ridge is Preston. Ernest, Hothersall's father, worked as an architect and his mother, Margaret, worked as an administrative secretary. He and his older sister grew up in the years following WWII during times of great difficulty, admist extensive bomb damage and the rationing of food. He was sent to a boarding school in England from the age of seven until 14. In 1954, when he was 14, his father transferred to South Africa because of the gold and construction opportunities were abundant. There, he finished high school and went on to the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1961, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a first class pass in Psychology. He continued his education at the same university and received his M.A. with Distinction in Psychology in 1964.

January through December in 1964, he served as the junior lecturer in the department of Psychology at the University of Witwatersrand. here, he met Lesley Manners, who became his wife on July 31, 1965. When his family relocated to London, England, Hothersall received a scholarship to attend Birkbeck College of the University of London. Hothersall was a postgraduate student and research student in the Psychology Department throughout the months of January-August, 1965. Hurwitz, Hothersall's advisor, at Birkbeck College was a great influence on his life and when Hurwitz transferred to the University of Tennessee, Hothersall had the opportunity to continue studying under him.

The Council of the University of Witwatersrand awarded him with a two-year scholarship (1965-1967) for studying abroad. He came to the United States in 1965 and attended the University of Tennessee. In September 1966 through August 1968, the United States Public Health Service awarded him with pre doctoral research fellowship. Since one of Hurwitz's close acquaintances was B.F. Skinner, Hothersall also had the honor of getting to know him on a personal basis. He received his Ph.D. from Tennessee in 1968. The Hothersalls had every intention of traveling back to London. Lesley even had a teaching position lined up, but Hurwitz heard about a position at Ohio State University. He applied and was presented with an irresistible offer which he felt obliged to accept. He made it clear that he and his wife only planned to stay for three years.... Thirty-five years later, they are still living in Columbus. He became the Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology from October 1968 to September 1971. And, in May 1971, he received The Ohio State University Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The following month he became the Associate Professor and continued with that title until September 1976. In October 1976, he became a Professor in the Department of Psychology. Also, in October of ‘76, he became the Faculty Coordinator for the Introductory Psychology Courses at O.S.U. In November 1976, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Hothersall's had three children, a baby girl in ‘71 (Carol), another girl in ‘75 (Hilary) and a boy named Mark. Baby Mark was born with Down Syndrome and other complications and died when he was 3 days old. He is remembered daily in their thoughts and prayers.

Throughout Hothersall's years at Ohio State, he taught many different courses. Of those courses were Psych 100-a general introduction to psychology, Psych 100H-an introduction to psychology for honor students, Psych 300-an introduction to psychology for students with a science and engineering background, Psych 505-contemporary viewpoints–an undergraduate course on the history of psychology, Psych 601-comparative psychology, Psych 794-instrumentation for behavioral scientists, Psych 804-advanced comparative psychology, Psych 811-applied behavioral analysis, and Psych 811-animal models of psycho pathology.

In the 70's, Hothersall became very active in committees. In 1969-1970 and 1970-1971, he was a member of the Undergraduate Program Committee. In 1971-1972, he was the Chairperson of the Undergraduate Program Committee. In 1971-1972 and 1973-1974, he was the Experimental Area Representative on the Graduate Admissions Committee. In 1973-1974, he was a member of the Alumni Awards Committee for Distinguished Teaching and in ‘74 and ‘75, he was the Chairperson for the Alumni Awards Committee for Distinguished Teaching. In 1974 through the present, he was the Departmental Representative on the Appeals Committee on Tenure and Promotions of the College of Social and Behavioral Science. In 1975-1976, he was a member of the Graduate Program Committee. In 1979-1981, he was the Department of Psychology Representative on The Task Force on Learning of The Ohio State University. Also in the 70's, He co-founded an organization with Dr. David Tuber called Animal Behavior Consultants (ABC) in which sought to help owners with their pet, especially dog, problems. Following Tueber's death, he withdrew from active participation in the organization, but others have continued the progran. In 1980, he was elected a member of the Development Committee of the Department of Psychology.

In 1981, January through December, he became the Division Head of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. In 1983, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In September of 1990 and until Fall of 1998, he assumed the role of the Honors Director at The Ohio State University. Now he is currently back in the psychology department teaching a few classes at Ohio State and starting in the fall, will also teach a few classes at Ohio Wesleyan.


Hothersall's areas of interest are in Experimental, Comparative, History and the teaching of Psychology. He is exploring the development of new teaching techniques. He has many publications in a diverse number of journals, such as Psychologia Africana, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychophysiology, Animal Behaviour, Animal Learning and Behavior, American Psychologist, Psychology Today, and many more. Two major books were written by Hothersall, A History of Psychology published in 1984 and An Introduction to Psychology also in 1984. So far, 50 students have earned their Ph.D.s under his guidance.

His history text is biographical, focussing on the lives, careers, and contributions to psychology of the men and women who added to the development of psychology as a science and profession. The book describes not only psychologists' successes but also their failures; their hopes met, and hopes dashed. In addition, psychologists such as Hugo Muensterberg and Kurt Lewin, who have been neglected in earlier texts, are presented in detail. Finally, the book incorporates recent scholarship in the history of psychology. At times, as for example in the section on Wilhelm Wundt, the result is a picture very different from that presented in earlier books (Gale Literary Database).

Hothersall is concerned about psychology's future. He sees the discipline breaking up into different branches, such as neuroscience and clinical. He finds it saddening, since psychology may not be able retains its identity as an individual discipline.

Time Line
1940 Born on August 25 in Long Ridge, England.
1947 Attended a Boarding school in England until 1954
1954 Family relocated to South Africa, attended the University of Witwatersrand.
1961 Graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa with a B.A. with first class pass in Psychology.
1963 Graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a B.A. with first class Honors in Psychology.
1964 Graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a M.A. with a Distinction in Psychology. Junior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, January through December.
1965 Research assistant and Post graduate study at Birkbeck College of the University of London in London, England, January through August. In September, Ph.D. student and U.S. P. H. S. predoctoral research fellow at the University of Tennessee. Married Lesley Manners.
1968 Graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Ph.D. and distinction in two areas of the doctoral general examinations.
1968 October, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University.
1971 October, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University. Received the Ohio State University Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching.
1976 October, Professor, Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University. Faculty Coordinator for the Introductory courses at O. S. U. Received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the College of Arts and Science.
1981 Division Head, Comparative and Physiological Psychology
1983 Became a naturalized citizen.
1984 Published A History of Psychology and An Introduction to Psychology.
1990 The Ohio State University Honors Director.

Gale Literary Database: http://www.galenet.com/servlet/GLD/hits?c=1&u=CA&t=KW&s=2&r=d &o=DataType&n=10&1=d&NA=Hothersall%2C+David
Hothersall, David. Personal Vita.
Phone Interview with David Hothersall on Friday, April 14, 2000

[History Home Page] [Psychology Department Home Page]