Leon James, Faculty, Department of Psychology, UH Mānoa

Leon James

Office: Online
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-2382
Email: leon@hawaii.edu
DrDriving Website

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I took my psych 100 course back in 1956. It was taught by Dr. Donald Hebb at McGil University. It was a large lecture hall class of 800 students. I was amazed when I came up with an A+ grade near the very top of the class. This decided my fate. I was following the pre-med program but I switched to majoring in psychology. Dr. Wallace Lambert, a social psychologist, was my mentor all the way to my Ph.D. that I got in 1962. My dissertation topic was the phenomenon of semantic satiation. I demonstrated in several linked experiments that when people repeat a word over and over the word loses meaning and I was able to trace this effect in several areas including verbal learning, problem solving, bilingualism, popular songs, advertising, and stuttering.


  • PhD, Psychology, McGill University, 1962


  • PSY 408: Teaching General Psychology
  • PSY 409: General Psychology: Advanced Topics
  • PSY 459: Social Psychology: Advanced Topics


After several years of research on semantic satiation and psycholinguistics I became very interested in the new field of ethnomethodology. I started studying how we can assist people in keeping records of their daily life. I constructed a record keeping instrument that I called the Daily Round Archives. I focused especially on how to analyze "talking turn practices" in everyday exchanges. I created and taught a new graduate course titled Psycholinguistics and Ethnosemantics, which however is no longer offered. Later I became interested in the theistic psychology of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). My focus was the attempt to develop a modern day behavioral version of his psychology. In the last few years I've been exploring online instruction and teaching online courses.