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Eckert - Historically significant psychologists   Tags: psychology  

Famous psychologists and their contributions to the field of psychology. This site shows their leadership qualities and the effects of such leadership.
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Psychologists Print Page


  • Greek Philosphers  on Psychology (Plato, Artistotle, Socrates etc)
  • Wilhelm Wundt (father of psychology)
  • Rene Descartes (nativism and rationalism)
  • Franz Joseph Gall and Johann Spurzheim (phrenology)
  • Hermann von Helmholtz, Ernst Weber, or Gustav Theodor Fechner (psychophysics)
  • Edward Bradford Titchner (structuralism)
  • Margaret Floy Washburn, Christine Ladd-Franklin, Bluma Zeigarnik, Mary Whitin Calkins, or Karen Horney (female pioneers)
  • William James, G. Stanley Hall, and James M. Cattell (functionalism)
  • Charles Darwin (as his work relates to psychology)
  • John B. Watson (behaviorism)
  • Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis)
  • Abraham Maslow (humanist)
  • Alfred Binet (intelligence testing)
  • Noam Chomsky or Ulric Neisser (cognitive psychology)

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    Alfred Binet

    Alfred Binet

    The French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) was the founder of French experimental psychology. He devised tests for measuring intelligence that have been widely used in schools.

    Noam Chomsky and Ulric Neisser

    Noam Avram Chomsky Story image

    Noam Chomsky (1928 -) is an American linguist and philosopher who is responsible for the theory of transformational grammar. Known as the father of cognitive psychology, Ulric Neisser (1928 - 2012) revolutionized the discipline by challenging behaviorist theory and endeavoring to discover how the mind thinks and works. He was particularly interested in memory and perception.

    Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

    The English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882) discovered that natural selection was the agent for the transmutation of organisms during evolution.

    Rene Descartes

    Rene Descartes

    The French thinker René Descartes (1596 - 1650) is called the father of modern philosophy. He initiated the movement generally termed rationalism, and his Discourse on Method and Meditations defined the basic problems of philosophy for at least a century.

    Greek Philosophers

    Greek Philosopher Plato (428-348 B.C.) Aristotle Socrates (c. 470-c.399 B.C.)

    Plato (428 BCE - 348 BCE), Aristotle (384 BCE - 322 BCE) and Socrates (470 BCE - 399 BCE) were Greek philosophers who pushed the boundaries of philosophy.

    Sigmund Freud

    Sigmund Freud

    The work of Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, marked the beginning of a modern, dynamic psychology by providing the first systematic explanation of the inner mental forces determining human behavior.

    Franz Joseph Gall & Johann Spurzheim

    The German physiologist Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) is remembered mostly for his association with the now-discredited science of phrenology, or the study of brain function through examination of the shape of the head. Born and educated in Austria, Johann Spurzheim (1776 - 1832) assisted Gall in the study of brain injuries, and he developed an interest in women accused of infanticide.

    Hermann von Helmholtz, Ernst Heinrich Weber

    Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz

    The German physicist and physiologist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) made the first mathematical analysis of the principle of the conservation of energy and invented the ophthalmoscope. He also investigated the physics of tone and color perception. Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795 - 1878) made important discoveries about the sense of touch and invented the idea of the just-noticeable difference between two similar physical stimuli. He founded psychophysics, the branch of psychology that studies the relations between physical stimuli and mental states. Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801 - 1887), a German philosopher, was the founder of psychophysics, and a pioneer in experimental psychology.

    William James, G. Stanley Hall, and James M. Cattell (functionalism)

    The American philosopher and psychologist William James (1842-1910) is considered America's major philosopher and one of the great psychologists of all times. American psychologist and educator Granville Stanley Hall (1844-1924) pioneered in developing psychology in the United States. His wide-ranging and prolific writings reveal a central theme best characterized as genetic psychology or evolutionism. American psychologist and editor James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944) was a pioneer in American psychology who influenced the profession to use objective methods of study and to apply psychology to practical aspects of life.

    Edward Bradford Titchner

    American psychologist Edward Bradford Titchener (1867 - 1927) was the head of the structural school of psychology. Structuralism was based on the notion that the object of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related.

    Abraham Maslow

    Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970) is considered to be the father of humanistic psychology and a cofounder of transpersonal psychology.

    Margaret Mead

    Margaret Mead.

    Margaret Mead,  (born Dec. 16, 1901, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.—died Nov. 15, 1978, New York, N.Y.), American anthropologist whose great fame owed as much to the force of her personality and her outspokenness as it did to the quality of her scientific work.

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    John B. Watson


    John Broadus Watson (1878 - 1958) is considered the father of behaviorism due to his opposition to the mainstream psychological view of the unconscious and psychoanalytic thought.  To the behaviorist, the outward expression of the self is all that can be measured and therefore the only variable worthy of exploration.

    Wilhelm Wundt

    Wilhelm Max Wundt

    Wilhelm Wundt (1832 - 1920) is famous for founding experimental psychology, establishing the first experimental psychology laboratory, and training several generations of important American and European psychologists.

    Women Pioneers


    Margaret Floy Washburn (1871 –1939), leading American psychologist in the early 20th century, was best known for her experimental work in animal behavior and motor theory development. She was the first woman to be granted a PhD in psychology (1894), and the second woman, after Mary Whiton Calkins, to serve as an APA President (1921). Christine Ladd-Franklin(1847 – 1930) was an American psychologist, logician, and mathematician and created the theory of color vision, based on evolution. Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik (1901 –1988) was a Soviet psychologist and psychiatrist, a member of Berlin School of experimental psychology and Vygotsky Circle. She discovered the Zeigarnik effect and contributed to the establishment of experimental psychopathology as a separate discipline in the Soviet Union in the after-World War II period. Mary Whiton Calkins (1863 - 1930) was an American philosopher and psychologist and she was the first woman to become president of the American Psychological Association. Karen Danielsen Horney (1885 - 1952) was a German psychoanalyst who practiced in the United States during her later career. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views.


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