William McDougall FRS was an early twentieth century psychologist who spent the first part of his career in the United Kingdom and the latter part in the United States. He wrote a number of highly influential textbooks, and was particularly important in the development of the theory of instinct and of social psychology in the English-speaking world. He was an opponent of behaviorism and stands somewhat outside the mainstream of the development of Anglo-American psychological thought in the first half of the twentieth century; but his work was very well known and respected among lay people.
McDougall was educated at Owens College, Manchester and St John's College, Cambridge. He also studied medicine and physiology in London and Göttingen. After teaching at University College London and Oxford, he was recruited by William James to Harvard University, where he served as a professor of psychology from 1920 to 1927. He then moved to Duke University, where he established the Parapsychology Laboratory under J. B. Rhine, and where he remained until his death. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society. Among his students was Cyril Burt.