FACT CHECK: Did Viktor Frankl Say, ‘Between Stimulus And Response There Is A Space’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A post shared on Facebook alleges that psychiatrist Viktor Frankl once stated, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Verdict: False

The statement appears nowhere in Frankl’s written works.

Fact Check:

Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who, in 1946, published the book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” in which he recounted his experiences in as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps.

He wrote seven other books, but a keyword search of all these works, as well as “Man’s Search for Meaning,” turned up no matches. Franz Vesely, an archivist at the Viktor Frankl Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email the quote was not genuine.

“To put it shortly, the author Stephen R. Covey used to recount that he found the quote in a library book,” reads the Viktor Frankl Institute website, “and thought it fitting to describe Frankl’s views — but he did not note down the book’s author and title.”

The statement, linked to Frankl through Covey’s summarization of his work, might actually come from psychologist Rollo May’s 1963 behavioral science article “Freedom and Responsibility Re-Examined,” though the wording varies somewhat, according to the website Quote Investigator.

Thematically related statements have appeared in print since at least 1917.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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