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Albert Moll (German: [mɔl]; 4 May 1862, Lissa – 23 September 1939, Berlin) was a German psychiatrist and, together with Iwan Bloch and Magnus Hirschfeld, the founder of modern sexology.[1] Moll believed sexual nature involved two entirely distinct parts: sexual stimulation and sexual attraction.


Sexual theoriesEdit

From the book Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften: an 18th-century picture of Origen castrating himself

Moll divided the sexual response into four phases:[2]

  1. The onset
  2. The equable voluptuous sensation
  3. The voluptuous acme
  4. The sudden diminution and cessation of the voluptuous sensation

In The Sexual Life of the Child, he encouraged parents to provide sex education to their children.[3]


Moll was a leading researcher on subject of hypnotism.[4]

Moll published his account of the history of hypnotism and his own experiments in Hypnotism, 1889, in preparation of which he was assisted by support from Prof. Auguste Forel and Dr. Max Dessoir.[4]

Psychical researchEdit

Moll was strong critic of mysticism, occultism and spiritualism. Even though he studied parapsychical research he was critical of it and offered naturalistic psychological explanations for paranormal phenomena. He frequently indulged in the unmasking of mediums and séances.[5]

His book Christian Science, Medicine, and Occultism (1902) is an early text on anomalistic psychology. In the book Moll criticized practices such as Christian Science, spiritualism and occultism and wrote they were the result of fraud and hypnotic suggestion. He argued that suggestion explained the cures of Christian Science, as well as the apparently supernatural rapport between magnetisers and their somnambulists. He wrote that fraud and hypnotism could explain mediumistic phenomena. According to (Wolffram, 2012) "[Moll] argued that the hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters’ social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena."[5]

In 1903, Moll tested Clever Hans and was the first to suggest the horse was not psychically gifted but was reacting to unconscious signs.[6]

Moll was involved with a legal dispute with the spiritualist medium Maria Vollhardt who he considered to be fraudulent.[5]



  1. ^ Sigusch, Volkmar. (2012). The Sexologist Albert Moll – between Sigmund Freud and Magnus Hirschfeld. Medical History 56 (2): 184-200.
  2. ^ Moll, Albert. (1912). The Sexual life of the Child Macmillan, New York, (pp. 22–23) (original in German 1908).
  3. ^ W. C. B. (1913). "The sexual life of the child". Journal of Educational Psychology. 4 (2): 102–103. doi:10.1037/h0069060.
  4. ^ a b Maehle, Andreas-Holger. (2014). The Powers of Suggestion: Albert Moll and the Debate on Hypnosis. History of Psychiatry 25 (1): 3-19.
  5. ^ a b c Wolffram, Heather (2012). Trick, Manipulation and Farce: Albert Moll's Critique of Occultism. Medical History 56 (2): 277-295. PMC 3381525.
  6. ^ Mello, Antônio da Silva. (1960). Mysteries and Realities of This World and the Next. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 41

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit