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José Luis Pinillos Díaz

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 1986

Psychologist and university professor, considered as the father of contemporary Spanish psychology, José Luis Pinillos (Bilbao, Spain, 1919 - Madrid, Spain, 2013), studied at the high schools of Bilbao and Portugalete.

After the Civil War he began a degree in Philosophy and Arts at the University of Zaragoza, later transferring to the University of Madrid to specialise in Philosophy, where he would finish in 1946 with the Special Graduation Prize. He read his doctoral thesis on The concept of wisdom in 1949 and later travelled to Bonn, with a grant from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) to extend his studies of psychology in the city´s Psychologisches institut.

After his return to Spain in 1950, he became part of the Experimental Psychology Department of the CSIC. Later, from 1951 to 1953, he studied psychology with Eysenck, the great British empirical psychologist, at Maudsley Hospital in London, with a grant from the British Council.

Back in Spain in 1954 he was appointed as an assistant with the Department of Experimental Psychology at the Luis Vives Philosophy Institute of Madrid. A year later, he passed the selection examination for the post of scientific associate in the said department. Together with Dr Germain, he co-operated in the organization of the Spanish Society of Psychology and the Department of Experimental Psychology of the recently created Department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Madrid. At the same time, he worked as a teacher of Human Relations at the Ministry of Industry School of Industrial Organization, in Madrid.

In 1961 he moved to Venezuela as a lecturer in Psychology at the Central University of Caracas, and in December of the same year he returned to Spain and passed the selection examination for the chair of Psychology at the University of Valencia. In 1966 he obtained the chair of Psychology at the University of Madrid, the job where he would stay until his retirement in September 1986. José Luis Pinillos combined, during his whole career, his academic and research activity with continual participation in courses, congresses and conferences, both in Spain and abroad.

His research work is reflected in his numerous published books and articles. In 1962 he published his first work of psychology, Introducción a la psicología contemporánea, which would later be followed by Cuestiones de psicología evolutiva (1964), Constitución y personalidad (1966), La mente humana (1969), Tecnología de la conducta (1972), Principios de la Psicología (1975), Más allá de Freud, Psicopatología de la vida urbana (1977) and La psicología del hombre de hoy (1986).

He has also written chapters of collective works and carried on work in co-operation with foreign establishments and other universities (such as the University of London, the new York Academy of Science, the Max Planck Institute or UNESCO) on questions of social or personality psychology, group dynamics, perception, epistemology, the history of psychology and behaviour modification.

A member of the Royal Academies of the Spanish Language and of Political and Moral Sciences, he was a doctor honoris causa of various universities. He was the secretary and vice-president of the Spanish Psychology Society and belongs to various scientific societies.

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