Alfredo V. Lagmay

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Alfredo Villa-gracia Lagmay (b. August 14, 1919- d. December 15, 2005) was a Filipino pioneer psychologist, academician, clinician, philosopher, and national scientist. He was conferred as National Scientist in 1988 for his studies relation to experimental analysis of behavior. He was also the first elected chair of the University of the Philippines Department of Psychology in 1970.

Early Life and Education

Alfredo V. Lagmay grew up in Intramuros, Manila where his family had lived in extreme poverty. But he struggled from such condition, armed with diligence and firm resolve, being the eldest of the children.

He graduated cum laude in 1947 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in the University of the Philippines, where he was appointed instructor in the same year. While teaching, he enrolled in the Master of Arts in Philosophy and graduated in absentia in 1951. He had already left in 1950 for Harvard University on a UP fellowship for advanced studies in psychology. He returned to UP to resume his teaching post, as Assistant Professor of Psychology after obtaining Ph.D. in 1955.


Upon his return in 1955, Dr. Lagmay (having studied under Dr. Skinner of Harvard) introduced behavioral studies in psychology and later became head of his department and honored as National Scientist. Among his circles of liberal colleagues are philosopher Ricardo Pascual, zoologist Agustin Rodolfo, political scientists Cesar Majul and O.D. Corpuz, literary scholar Leopoldo Y. Yabes, educationist Eleanor Elequin and others.

Lagmay held various administrative positions in UP and continued his researches on experimental analysis of behavior modification, relaxation and related states, and hypnosis. Lagmay was the founding father of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, where he also served as president. He was also chairman of the Philippine Social Science Council, the national federation of learned societies in the social sciences.


Even after his retirement from UP, he received a number of prestigious awards both from local and international organizations.

In recognition of his work, the University of the Philippines awarded him a Professional Chair in Psychology (1973-75). In 1984, he received the Distinguished Service award for significant contributions to psychology and the social sciences by the Association for Anthropological Diplomacy, Politics and Society and in cooperation with the Association of Third World Anthropologists.

National Scientist Alfredo Lagmay died of cardiac arrest at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute on Dec. 15,2005. He was survived by his wife Leticia, and children Violet, Helen, Susan, Alfredo Jr., Sulayman, Gracian, and Mahar.