Lecture Notes

phren1Below are the notes for all of the lectures in this course. They provide the essential information covered during each lecture, including both overhead projector and PowerPoint presentations. Of course, some items have been omitted, namely, pictures, graphs, anecdotes, cartoons, jokes, extensive quotations, and incidental information about major events and figures in the history of psychology. In other words, the notes include just the kind of material that should be included in your own lecture notes.  On the other hand, sometimes information provided here will not have been discussed in class. Because I try to be responsive to your questions during the course of the lecture, I will occasionally delete less critical material in order to cover everything essential by the end of the lecture hour.  Such omitted topics are adequately covered in the textbook anyway.

Please note the following abbreviations:
fl. = floruit (flourished), c. = circa (approximately), B.C.E. = Before the Common Era (i.e., “B.C.”)

Moreover, the chronology of contributions are often given in the following form “(date/age)” For example for the William James lecture one can read “Principles of Psychology (1890/48)” which means that the book was published in 1890 when James was 48 years old.  Alternatively, the information might be given as “in 1890 (48).”


Part I: Roots in Philosophy

Introduction | The Ancients | Medieval & Renaissance | Descartes | British Empiricists | Continental Rationalists | Pseudo Sciences

Part II: Becoming a Science

French Clinicians | British Evolutionists | Galton | German Physiologists | Wundt | James

Part III: Emergence of Schools

Associationism | Structuralism | Functionalism | Behaviorism I | Behaviorism II | Gestalt Psychology | Psychoanalysis I | Psychoanalysis II

Part IV: Modern Viewpoints

Metasciences | Scientific Genius | Humanistic Psychology | Cognitive Science | Contemporary Psychology | Conclusion


Why study the history of psychology?

Intrinsic interest of history!
The lessons and wisdom of history!
Understanding the key issues of the discipline!
Understanding the discipline as a science!

Back to top
Back to course page


The Pre-Socratics

Thales (640-550 B.C.E.)

naturalism (phusis as water)
prediction (solar eclipse 585 B.C.E.)

Pythagoras (fl. ca. 531 B.C.E.)

soul vs. body distinction
number and mathematics

Heraclitus (540-480 B.C.E.)

incessant flux; conflict
phusis = fire

Socratic Contemporaries

Protagoras (480-410 B.C.E.)

relativism and individualism
persuasion; Sophism

 Democritus (ca. 460-370 B.C.E.)

determinism, materialism, atomism
perception: eidola
ethics: hedonism

The Athenian Triad

Socrates (469-399 B.C.E.)

Basic Ideas

Subject matter

ethics > natural philosophy
dictum: know thyself


dialectic method
Socratic irony

Influence: his pupil, Plato

Plato (427-347 B.C.E.):

Biographical background

aristocratic family
political involvement
pupil of Socrates (Phaedo)
founded Academy (Akademia) 387 B.C.E. (closed in 529 by Justinian)



ideas, universal forms
reason > experience
nativism (anamnesis)


reason > pleasure; soul > body

Influence: Stoicism, Neoplatonism, Christianity, Continental Idealism

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.)

Biographical Context

physician father
pupil of Plato
founded Lyceum: Peripatetic philosophy
after 323 B.C.E. left Athens

Ideas: logic, biology, and psychology

Peri Psyches (De Anima): 3 souls

vegetative (nutrition & reproduction)
animal (sensitivity & locomotion)
human (reason)

On Memory and Reminiscence:

tabula nuda
association: similarity, contiguity, contrast

Rhetoric: principles of persuasion

Ethics: the Golden Mean

Influence: Islamic & Christian thought

The Heritage of the Athenian Golden Age

rationalism vs. empiricism
being vs. becoming
individual vs. society
qualitative vs. quantitative analysis
descriptive vs. prescriptive theory

Back to top
Back to course page


The Aftermath of the Classical Period

Hellenistic Traditions

Skepticism: Pyrrho of Elis (c. 360-270 B.C.E.)
Epicurianism: Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.); Lucretius (94-55 B.C.E.)

Philosophies of Life Under the Roman Empire

Stoicism: Zeno of Citium (333-262 B.C.E.); Epictetus (c. 55-c. 135); Marcus Aurelius (120-180)
Neo-Platonism: Plotinus (204-270)
Christianity: Augustine (354-430)

The End of Classical Thought: Boethius (c. 480-524)

Medieval Thought

The Islamic Interim: Avicenna (980-1037); Maimonides (1135-1204)

The Debates of the Scholastics

Sense vs. Reason: John Scotus Erigena (c. 810-877)
Realism vs. Nominalism: Pierre Abélard (1079-1142)

The Thomastic Synthesis: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

The Scholastic Dissenters

Roger Bacon (1214-1294)
Johannes Duns Scotus (1266/74-1308)
William Ockham (c. 1300-1349)

The Renaissance

Philosophical Innovation
Scientific Revolution

Back to top
Back to course page


Life and work

  • born 1596 in quasi-noble family
  • but orphaned early (mother died in his infancy, father largely absent)
  • raised largely be grandmother and older siblings (4th born)
  • extremely precocious; Jesuit education, highly scholastic; stayed in bed
  • left school at 18, and traveled; joined armies of the lowlands (both sides)
  • law degree at age 20
  • met Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637) around age 22, acquiring an interest in mathematics
  • age 24 had vision of unitary science
  • early 30s, began associating with scientific friends, such as Marin Mersenne (1588-1648)
  • at age 32 (1628) debate with Chandoux; out of obscurity; hence …
  • lived in 13 different towns in Holland, in 24 different houses; intensely private; kept birth date secret from astrologers
  • at age 37 (1633) Le Monde ready for press; universal science (“Treatise of Light” & “Treatise on Man”); then 1632 Galileo event; hence not published until after death in 1650
  • other publications 1637-1649 (41-53)
  • age 53 to Stockholm to tutor Queen Christina; died age 54

Important Works

Discours de la méthode (1637/ 41)
Meditationes de prima philosophia (1641/ 45)
Principia philosophiae (1644 /48)
Les passiones de l’âme (1649/53)
Le Monde (1650/posthumously)

Influence on His Thought

1. Opposition to authority and dogma: iconoclastic
2. Mathematics and metaphysics: rationalistic system
3. Scientific and philosophical revolutionaries

The Cartesian Method

1. Doubt everything; be skeptical; accept nothing except that which is clear and certain – the self-evidently true
2. Analyze the problem into its parts and treat each separately
3. Arrange thoughts from the simple to the complex
4. Provide full and complete enumeration of all aspects of the phenomenon; omit nothing, without exception

Cartesian Psychology

The Mind-Body Dualism

The Mind – pure spirit, free, rational

The Body –

material (hydraulic) machine
hence, “physics of physiology”
reflexes (undulatio reflexa)

The Dilemma: how interaction?

Mind-Body Interactionism
The pineal gland (conarium)


Derived ideas (through experience)
Innate ideas (through consciousness); hence nativist

Some Cartesian Successors

Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655)
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715)
Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)
Julien de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

Back to top
Back to course page


Pre-Cartesian English Thinkers

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Life and Career

student of law and politics at Cambridge
offices under Elizabeth I and James I
accused of bribery in 1621

Chief Works

Essays (1597/36)
The Advancement of Learning (1605/44)
Novum Organum (1620/59)


abandoned a priori speculation
proposed inductive method
warning regarding various “idols”


Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)


son of clergyman, sickly as youth
Oxford education (Aristotle & Scholastics)
European travels with English nobles
loyalist during English Civil War

Ideas: Leviathan (1651/63)

Materialistic monism:

1. Mind is brain substance (reductionism)
2. Activity in brain creates images and ideas (epiphenomenalism)
3. Whole universe merely particles of matter in motion (atomism)

Collectivistic and hedonistic ethics:

1. Humans driven by pleasure and pain
2. Necessity for social compact
3. Hierarchical social system with authoritarian government at top


Post-Cartesian British Thinkers

John Locke (1632-1704)

Life and Career

father an attorney
Oxford education
contacts with scientists (Boyle, etc.)
exile to Holland 1683-89

Chief Works

Letters Concerning Toleration (1689/57)
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690/58)


The Origin of Ideas

no innate ideas: “white paper”
rather, empirical source


The Types of Ideas


Primary qualities
Secondary qualities



Berkeley & Hume

George Berkeley (1685-1753)


Irish born
educated Trinity College, Dublin
world travels: Italy, Rhode Island
became Bishop of Cloyne

Works and Ideas

An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (1709/24)

1. eye does not innately perceive distance
2. learns distance signs from tactual, kinesthetic, and muscular experience
3. signs include convergence, interposition, relative size, etc.

A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710/25):
idealistic monism

1. to be is to be perceived (esse est percipi)
2. universals are illusions
3. problem of solipsism
4. solution: benevolent all-powerful God!


German idealists

David Hume (1711-1776)


a younger son born in Edinburgh
where studied law (but did not graduate)
various public offices
Treatise Upon Human Nature (1739-40/28-29)

Ideas: Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748/37): skepticism

1. knowledge merely impressions and ideas
2. ideas bound by association (contiguity, similarity, cause/effect)
3. cannot know universals: metaphysics useless
4. no absolute or certain knowledge
5. even mind and self mere impression


Thomas Reid (1710-1796)
Leibniz and Kant

Back to top
Back to course page



Spinoza (1632-1677)


born Amsterdam of Jewish-Portuguese parents
mother died when 6
lens grinder by trade
greatest works published posthumously, specially the Ethics (1677/45)


General approach

Pantheism from

Renaissance Neo-Platonism and
Cartesian philosophy

Geometric method

Specific application

Mind-body problem resolved through

double-aspect monism
strict psychic determinism

Epistemology: identity hypothesis

Ethics: reason as restraint on passion


German Idealists
German physiologists

Leibniz (1643-1716)


father professor moral philosophy at Leipzig but died age 6
extremely precocious
studied law
doctorate at age 21
entered diplomatic service
knew leading figures of day
great mathematician:

calculating machine
binary arithmetic


New Essays on Human Understanding: attack on Locke’s empiricism

mind-body problem resolved through

psychological parallelism
pre-established harmony

petites perceptions: thresholds of awareness

Influence: Christian Wolff (1679-1754), and hence to Kant

Kant (1724-1804)

Life and Career

Early development

born in Königsberg; father tradesman
mother pious & intelligent
student of philosophy and mathematics
theory of heavens; nebular hypothesis (multiple)
private tutor, then privat docent, then professor 1770-97 (46-75)
poor; never married; fixed routine
brilliant and popular lecturer


Leibnizian-Wolffian philosophy
British Empiricists; Hume’s skepticism


Critique of Pure Reason (1781/57)
Critique of Practical Reason (1788/64)
Critique of Judgment (1790/66)


Theory of knowledge: pure reason

Integration of three epistemologies

Empiricism (sensation as content)
Rationalism (categories of thought)
Skepticism (phenomena vs. noumena)

Curious consequence: no psychology

mathematics inapplicable
experimentation impossible

but anthropology?

Theory of ethics: practical reason; categorical imperative


viewed himself as a Copernicus
difficult read
yet profound impact – the greatest since Descartes


Back to top
Back to course page


Mesmerism to Hypnotism

Franz Mesmer (1733-1815)

  • earned MD in 1766 (32) for dissertation “On the Influence of Planets” (animal gravitation)
  • married wealthy aristocrat and lived life of ease
  • glass harmonica; friendly with Mozart family
  • met Father Maximilian Hell in 1770s who studied magnets
  • first “cure”: idea of animal magnetism in 1773 (40)
  • expert witness against Johann Gassner in 1775 (42)
  • treatment of 16-year old Maria-Theresia Paradis in 1777 (44)
  • condemned as a charlatan, and fled to Paris in 1778 (45)
  • developed a popular group therapy (baquet, chambre de crises, etc.)
  • royal commission to investigate claims in 1784 (51): included Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, and Jean Bailly
  • fled to Switzerland, where he died in obscurity

The Aftermath

Marquis de Puységur (1751-1825):

artificial somnambulism
post-hypnotic suggestion and amnesia

José Custodio di Faria (1756-1819): lucid sleep
John Elliotson (1791-1868): Zoist (1843-1856)
James Esdaile (1808-1859): 1300 operations in India
James Braid (1795-1860)

neuro-hypnology, hence hypnotism
supported Puységur’s idea of patient susceptibility

Phrenology to Localization of Brain Function

Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828)

Scientific Contributions

Introduced new dissection techniques
Important discoveries about the central nervous system

Gray versus white matter
Hemispheres connected by commissures
Fibers from spinal cord cross over in lower brain
Higher mental functions related to size of cortex

Pseudo-Scientific Mistake

Influenced by

Physiognomy (Johann Kaspar Lavater, 1741-1801)
Faculty Psychology (Dugald Stewart, 1753-1828)

Developed: Organology

Specific brain localization of each faculty
Faculty development associated with cortical tissue
Magnitude of tissue determines shape of skull (hence craniometry)

The Aftermath

Transformation into phrenology: Johann Caspar Spurzheim (1776-1832)

But major criticisms: Pierre Flourens (1794-1867)

ablation studies
actions propres vs. action commune

Yet revival of localization concept

Paul Broca (1825-1880): motor aphasia
Carl Wernicke (1848-1905): sensory aphasia


Grain of truth, but

overextended beyond data
failed to subject to rigorous test
succumbed to excessive popularization

Caused professional rejection that

“threw the baby out with the bath water” and thus
retarded scientific understanding

Back to top
Back to course page


The Beginnings

Philippe Pinel (1745-1826)


Institutions: Bedlam (London); Bicêtre & Salpêtrière (Paris)
Theory: Somatic view of mental illness
Treatment: Physical, harsh, even brutal


first at Bicêtre (1793/48) and
then at Salpêtrière (1795/50)


Nosographie philosophique (“Philosophical Classification of Diseases,” 1798/53)
Traité médico-philosophique sur l’aliénation mentale ou la mania (“Treatise on Insanity,” 1801/56)

The Nancy School

August Liébeault (1823-1904) French country doctor

hypnotic induction technique and treatment
unsuccessful book
successful treatment of Bernheim’s patient

Hippolyte Bernheim (1823-1919) French medical professor

founding of clinic
hypnosis as suggestibility
controversy with Charcot

Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893): The “Napoleon of the Neuroses”

Early career as neurologist

Studied at Salpêtrière; obtained staff position (1862/37)
Described poliomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy
Wrote Clinical Lectures on Certain Diseases of the Nervous System (1873/48)
Method: non-theoretical; inductive repetition; types vs. formes frustes
e.g., epilepsy

Grand mal epilepsy

aura phase
tonic phase
clonic phase

Petit mal epilepsy

Excellent clinical lecturer (Binet, James, Janet & Freud)

Later career as a psychiatrist

Began to study hysteria in 1880s:

Discovery: “virile hysteria”
Etiology: dissociation of memories

Grande hystérie

epileptoid stage
large movement stage
hallucinatory stage
delirious stage

Included hypnotizability among hysterical symptoms

Grand hypnotisme

catalepsy stage
lethargy stage
somnambulism stage

Presents in French Academy of Sciences (1882/57)
Controversy with Nancy School

Decline in influence

The Endings

Pierre Janet (1859-1947)

Studied under Charcot
Succeeds him as head of the Psychological Laboratory
Wrote The Mental State of Hystericals (1892/33)

“fixed idea” causes mental dissociation
influence of the unconscious (priority dispute with Freud)

Influenced Jung, Breuer, Freud, and Prince

Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931)

Old and wealthy family; medical school; but dilettante
Two books on group psychology and the group mind:

The Psychology of Peoples (1894/53): unconscious and hypnotic influences
The Crowd (1895/54): suggestibility and contagion


Back to top
Back to course page




  • Heraclitus (540-480 B.C.E.)
  • Democritus (460-370 B.C.E.)
  • Lucretius (44-55 B.C.E.)


  • Comte de Buffon (1707-1788): Histoire naturelle (“Natural History,” 1749ff/42ff) – evolution by degeneration
  • Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802): Zoonomia (1794/63) – direct influence of the environment
  • Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829): Philosophie zoologique (“Zoological Philosophy,” 1809/65) – inheritance of acquired characteristics
  • Patrick Matthew (1790-1864): On Naval Timber and Arboriculture (1831/41)
  • Charles Lyell (1797-1875): Principles of Geology (1830-33/33-36) – Uniformitarianism
  • Robert Chambers (1802-1871): The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844/42)

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)


  • born February 12, 1809, 5th of 6 children, in distinguished family
  • father a physician, the son of Erasmus Darwin
  • mother a daughter of Josiah Wedgwood I
  • mother died when 8, raised by older sister
  • poor student, but active outdoor activities
  • father’s frustration about lack of direction
  • contemplated medical career, but left Edinburgh at age 18
  • then prepared for Holy Orders in Church of England; to Cambridge
  • met Johns Stevens Henslow, professor of botany
  • BA 1831 at age 22
  • opportunity to serve as naturalist on the Beagle under Captain Robert Fitzroy; Dec. 27, 1831-Oct. 2, 1836
  • age 30 married his first cousin, Emma
  • sons: Sirs George, Francis, and Horace
  • died Apr. 26, 1882; buried in Westminster Abbey


The Voyage of the Beagle (1840-43/31-34):

the tremendous diversity of life
incessant environmental change

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859/50)


read Thomas Malthus on Sept. 28, 1838

sketch by 1842; 200 page manuscript by 1844

June 18, 1858, paper from Alfred Russell Wallace

July 1, 1858, joint presentation at Linnaean Society

November 24, 1859, Origin published

all 1250 copies sold on first day!

basic concepts

1. Spontaneous variation in individual characteristics
2. Overproduction -> “struggle for existence”
3. Natural selection of better adapted variants
4. Speciation; emergence of new species
5. Continuity without teleology

The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871/62)

human evolution; sexual selection

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872/63)

evolutionary basis of behavior; continuity

Biographical Sketch of an Infant (1877/66)

early child developmental psychology

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)


  • son of English schoolmaster
  • nonconformist tradition
  • only child; loner in childhood
  • refused university education; became civil engineer
  • largely self-educated
  • reading of Lyell’s Principles of Geology at 20 -> life crisis
  • friends with leading intellectuals of day
  • published articles in The Zoist


Principles of Biology (1864/44)

“survival of the fittest”

Principles of Psychology (1855/35)

evolutionary associationism (empiricist nativism)
development as differentiation and integration


Individual Differences: Differential Psychology
Ethology: Comparative Psychology
Functionalism: Functional Psychology
Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary Epistemology and the BVSR Model of Creativity

Back to top
Back to course page


Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911)


  • born Feb 16, 9th and youngest, to distinguished family
  • father prosperous banker
  • mother the daughter of Erasmus Darwin
  • a child prodigy
  • but unfavorable educational experiences
  • 1st at series of boarding schools (age 8)
  • 2nd to pursue medical training at Birmingham General Hospital (age 16)
  • 3rd pursuing honors BA in mathematics at Cambridge
  • emotional breakdown
  • took non-honors degree in 1843 (age 21)
  • returned to medical studies
  • but his father died the following year, leaving him with sizeable fortune
  • extensive travels in Egypt, Sudan, and Middle East 1845-46
  • returned to life of gentleman-farmer

Early Career as a Scientist

  • engaged in miscellaneous activities: ballooning, electricity
  • 1st scientific paper in 1849 (27) on “telotype” printing telegraph
  • in 1850 (28) became an explorer and geographer
  • to southwest Africa until 1852 (30)
  • in 1853 (31): got married, wrote Tropical South Africa, and awarded Gold Medal of Royal Geographical Society
  • engaged in diverse scientific activities; diverse inventions
  • wrote The Art of Travel (1855/33)
  • elected FRS in 1856 (35)
  • pioneered weather prediction (weather maps, isobars, cyclones, anti-cyclones, fronts)

Later Career as a Psychologist

Hereditary Genius (1869/47):

Thesis: natural ability, eminence, and inheritance
1.  normal distribution and
2.  family pedigrees
Implication: eugenics

English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture (1874/52):

Impetus: Alphonse de Candolles’s study of environmental factors
Innovation: self-questionnaire method
Discoveries: birth order, education, etc.

Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883/61):

Anthology: about 40 previously published articles
Some topics:
1.  Associations: word association test
2.  Mental imagery
3.  Twin studies
4.  Anthropometry ->Galton’s “Anthropometric Laboratory” at the International Health Exhibition


Keenness of Sight and of Hearing
Colour Sense
Judgement of Eye
Breathing Power
Reaction Times
Strength of Pull and of Squeeze
Force of Blow
Span of Arms
Height, both standing and sitting

N = 9,337!

Natural Inheritance (1889/67):

Scatter plots
Regression line

Final Years

  • pioneering research on finger print identification (1890s/70s)
  • arithmetic of smells (1894/72)
  • Biometrica founded by Karl Pearson (1901)
  • Eugenics Laboratory at University College, London (1904)
  • helped found the Eugenics Education Society, which published Eugenics Review
  • wrote Memories of My Life (1908/86)


Individual Differences
Nature-Nurture Issue


Back to top
Back to course page


Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795-1891)


  • son of theology professor; eldest of 3 brothers
  • medical degree University of Leipzig age 20
  • professor of anatomy at Leipzig age 23-76
  • younger brother Wilhelm Eduard a famous physicist


Quantitative research on sensory modalities from 1834

Der Tastsinn und das Gemeingefühl (“The Sense of Touch and the General Sense”; 1846/51):

1. Two-point threshold
2. Just noticeable difference (jnd)
3. Weber fraction: delta S / S = k

k = .020   for lifting weights
k = .015  for brightness of light
k = .100  for loudness of tone
but only valid in middle ranges

Johannes Peter Müller (1801-1858)


  • son of shoemaker
  • originally planned to become a priest
  • medical degree age 20 University of Bonn
  • extremely neurotic, several nervous breakdowns; may have died a suicide


Doctrine of specific nerve energies (1826/26)
Handbook of Physiology (1833/32)
Students and disciples

1. Theodor Schwann (1810-1882): pepsin, cell theory, “metabolism”
2. Karl Ludwig (1816-1895): kymograph*
3. Émile DuBois-Reymond (1819-1892): electro-chemical nature of nervous impulse*
4. Ernst Brücke (1819-1893): Freud’s teacher*
5. Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902): cellular theory of pathology
6. Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1888): see below*
*signed in blood 1842 anti-vitalist manifesto

Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887)


  • son of (free-thinking) village pastor
  • precocious; learning Latin at 5, began medical studies at 16
  • father died age 5
  • medical degree at Leipzig in 1822
  • earned living translating French science texts
  • began research on electrochemistry: paper on “Determination of the Mass of the Galvanic Chain” (Massbestimmungen über die galvanische Kette, 1831/30)
  • professorship of physics at Leipzig in 1834 (33)
  • but long series of illnesses; partial blindness in 1840; resigned, small pension from 1844
  • authorship of humorous articles under nom de plume of Dr. Mises
  • mystical philosophy: panpsychic, anti-materialist

1. Booklet of Life after Death (1836/35)

2. Nanna, or Concerning the Mental Life of Plants (1848/47)

3. Zend-Avesta, or Concerning Matters of Heaven and the Hereafter (1851/50)

  • 1850 (Oct. 22) sudden insight ->


Elemente der Psychophysik (“Elements of Psychophysics”; 1860/59)
1. Coined term: psychophysics
2. Fechner’s law: S = k log R (R = Reiz, or “stimulus” in German)
3. Methodology: method of limits, etc.

Vorschule der Aesthetik (“Introduction to Aesthetics”; 1876/75)
1. Experimental aesthetics
2. First public opinion poll

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894)


  • mother descendent of William Penn
  • father philology instructor at a military college
  • delicate health; tutored at home
  • read old physics texts; conducted optical experiments
  • at 17 entered institute to become army surgeon
  • rapid movement up academic ladder: Berlin Academy of Arts (age 27); Königsberg (age 28); Bonn (age 34); Heidelberg (age 36); Berlin (age 50)
  • at Berlin: research in physics, thermodynamics, meteorology, electromagnetism
  • enobled in 1882 (age 61): hence the “von”
  • visited US in 1893; met William James; died year later


  • “The Conservation of Force” (1847/26)
  • Measured the speed of nervous conduction (1850/29)
  • Ophthalmoscope (1851/30)
  • Handbook of Physiological Optics (1856-76/35-46): e.g., Young-Helmholtz theory
  • The Theory of the Sensation of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music (1863/42): resonance place theory
  • Doctrine of unconscious inference

Back to top
Back to course page


Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)


  • born 4th and last child
  • only sibling to survive infancy was brother 8 years older, who left home when Wundt was 2
  • father a poor Lutheran village pastor; descended from historians, theologians, economists, & geographers
  • mother’s side had natural scientists and physicians
  • extremely lonely, few friends; poor health
  • taught by tutor, his father’s assistant
  • did poorly in the Gymnasium; daydreamer, socially maladjusted
  • didn’t do well until father died
  • began attending University of Tübingen where uncle was professor
  • chose medicine, going to Heidelberg for internship
  • then to University of Berlin to study under Müller & DuBois-Reymond
  • lab work under Robert Bunsen
  • first scientific publication age 21
  • received MD from Heidelberg at age 24 with highest honors (summa cum laude)


1857/25 started teaching on his own at Heidelberg
1858/26 became assistant in Helmholtz’s lab and began to publish heavily
1864/32 promoted to associate professor
1867/35 offered course on “Physiological Psychology”
1871/39 expected to succeed Helmholtz, but didn’t
1874/42 became professor of philosophy at Zürich
1875/43 call from University of Leipzig; a major chair of philosophy; acquired demonstration space
1879/47 Psychologische Institut
1881/49 founded Philosophische Studien (“Philosophical Studies”)
1892/60 lab moved into 11-room suite
1897/65 given spacious new lab in especially designed new building
1909/77 official orator for Leipzig’s 500-year jubilee
1917/85 retired
1920/88 died – shortly after finishing autobiography

Major Books

1) Beiträge zur Theorie der Sinneswahrnehmung (“Contributions to the Theory of Sensory Perception”), 1858-62 (26-30)

argued for an experimental psychology as a new science;
drew heavily on Weber, Müller, and Helmholtz

2) Vorlesungen über die Menschen- und Tierseele (“Lectures on the Minds of Men and Animals”), 1863 (31)

influenced by Darwin;
argues for comparative psychology (yet only 26 of 454 pages devoted to animals)

3) Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie (“Principles of Physiological Psychology”), 1873, 1874 (41, 42)

his masterpiece; six editions over the next 37 years, last in 1911

4) Grundriss der Psychologie (“Outline of Psychology”), 1896 (64)
5) Völkerpsychologie: Eine Untersuchung der Entwicklungsgesetz von Sprache, Mythus, und Sitte (“Cultural Psychology: An Investigation of the Developmental Laws of Language, Myth, and Morality”), 1900-20 (68-88)

higher mental functions through cultural materials


Definition of the Field

Subject matter: science of consciousness

Distinction between immediate and mediated experience

Nature of consciousness

not stable, a process in flux
not homogeneous – sensing, feeling, thinking, etc.
cannot be reduced to physiological events
mental events lawful

Methodology of the Field

Experimentation (e.g., reaction time)
Historical analysis: for higher mental processes

Goals of the Field

Analyze conscious processes into their basic elements
Discover how these elements are connected
Determine their laws of association

Elements of Experience

Classified as sensations and feelings
Feelings three dimensional:


Consciousness and Attention

Focus versus field of consciousness
Apperception versus apprehension
former act of will – hence voluntarism

Creative Synthesis: whole greater than sum of parts

Mind-Body Problem:

Psychophysical parallelism
Principle of psychic causality


Students in Wundt’s Laboratory:

G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924)*
Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926)
James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944)*
Oswald Külpe (1862-1915)
Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916)*
Charles E. Spearman (1863-1945)
Edward Wheeler Scripture (1864-1943)
George Stratton (1865-1957)
E. B. Titchener (1867-1927)*
Vladimir Bekhterov (1867-1927)*
Lightner Witmer (1867-1956)*To be discussed in second half of course

Back to top
Back to course page


William James (1842-1910):


  • first born son in wealthy Boston family
  • younger brother Henry born 15 months later; followed by three younger siblings
  • intellectually and culturally rich family environment
  • extensive travels and education abroad
  • but all children had unhappy adulthoods; Alice extensive illness
  • William himself suffered from digestive disorders, insomnia, eye problems, weak back, hypochondriasis, and bouts of depression in later life
  • first planned to become an artist (in 1860/18); studied painting for 6 months in studio of William Morris Hunt
  • then entered Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard to study chemistry (in 1861/19); but disliked lab work; often fatigued
  • then learned that family money running out; enrolled in Harvard medical school (in 1864/22)
  • interrupted medical studies (in 1865/23) to assist Louis Agassiz in expedition to Brazil; but left
  • traveled to Europe again (in 1867/25)
  • obtained Harvard MD in 1869 (27)


Crisis; attack of intense insecurity; suicidal; two events led to recovery:

  • read French Kantian philosopher Charles Renouvier in 1870 (28) on free will
  • Harvard’s president Charles Eliot asked him to teach a new physiology course

1872(30) assistant professor of physiology (at $600/year); excellent instructor; teaching ratings
1875-76 (33-34): taught “The Relations Between Physiology and Psychology,” first psychology course in US
1875 (33): founded first psychology lab in US
1876 (34): publishing psychology articles in Mind
1878 (36): stopped teaching anatomy and physiology
1880 (38): signed contract to write textbook; made assistant professor of philosophy
1885 (43): full professor of philosophy
1889 (47): full professor of psychology in 1897 (55): full professor of philosophy to 1907
1910 (68): died

Chief Works:

Principles of Psychology (1890/48)
Principles: Psychology, Briefer Course (1892/50)
Talks to Teachers on Psychology (1899/57)
Varieties of Religious Experience (1902/60)


Subject Matter of Psychology:

 “Psychology is the Science of Mental Life, both of its phenomena and their conditions”

Methods of Psychology

Comparative method

Specific Topics


Stream of consciousness

Five major characteristics:
1. It is personal; my thought
2. It’s constantly changing
3. It’s sensibly continuous; fundamentally a single chain
4. It deals with objects independent of itself – reality
5. It’s selective

Mind-Body Problem
Emotion: James-Lange Theory
Self: Self-esteem


Extensively quoted by all major schools
Precursor of the functionalist school
APA President in 1894
Many notable students, including

James R. Angell
Mary W. Calkins
Edward L. Thorndike

Back to top
Back to course page



Philosophical Roots

David Hartley (1705-1757): Observations on Man (1747/42)

  • application of atomistic Newtonian philosophy to physiological psychology
  • “vibratiuncles” (vibrations of “white medullary substance of the brain”)
  • these become associated through law of contiguity

Alexander Bain (1818-1903):

The Senses and the Intellect (1855/37)

laws of association (contiguity and similarity)

new ideas by recombination

The Emotions and the Will (1859/41)

Founded first psychology journal, Mind (1876/58)

The Mills – father and son

James Mill (1773-1836):

Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829/56):

single principle of association: contiguity

additive summation: “mental mechanics”

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

phenomenally precocious (IQ over 200)

a free-thinker (“On the Subjection of Women,” 1869/66)

active conception of mind: “mental chemistry”

Scientific Pioneers

Russia: Vladimir M. Bekhterev (1857-1927):

  • in 1886 (29) established first laboratory of experimental psychology in Russia
  • studied the motor conditioned response (“associated reflex”)
  • wrote Objective Psychology in 1907 (50), which influenced American behaviorists (Watson) and made “reflexology” the dominant theme in Russian psychology

Germany: Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909)


PhD in Philosophy in 1873 (23)

crystallizing experience: Fechner’s Elements of Psychophysics in 1876 (26)

Über das Gedächtnis (“On Memory,” 1885/35)

Berlin appointment in 1880, but later to Breslau

co-founded Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgan (“Journal for the Psychology and Physiology of the Sensory Organs,” 1890/40)

invented a completion test (first published intelligence test for children)

wrote Die Grundzüge der Psychologie (“The Principles of Psychology”)

The Memory Experiments

invention of the nonsense syllable (sinnlose Silben)

use of a “savings score”

rigid experimental control and numerous replications to obtain statistical averages

Ebbinghaus’s “normal curve of forgetting”

experimental variations: number of syllables, overlearning, meaningful versus meaningless material, etc.

American Advocate: Edward Lee Thorndike (1874-1949):


  • crystallizing experience: James’ Principles
  • to Harvard to study under James
  • then to Columbia to study under Cattell
  • doctoral dissertation in 1898 (24): Animal Intelligence: An Experimental Study of the Associative Process in Animals
  • appointment at Teachers College of Columbia University in 1899 (25)
  • became leader in mental testing movement
  • approximately 507 publications!
  • Selected Writings from a Connectionist’s Psychology (1949/75)


Basic View of Psychology

Substantive: the mind is a “connection system”


experimentation (“puzzle box”)

Elementary Principles of Connectionism

the Law of Effect
the Law of Exercise

Contemporary Status

Back to top
Back to course page


Edward Bradford Titchener (1867-1927)

Life and Career

  • born in England to poor family; but academic brilliance won him a scholarship to attend college
  • did extremely well, winning many awards and a scholarship to Oxford
  • originally studied philosophy and classics, but later did research in physiology;
  • preferred English Empiricists over Continental Rationalists who influenced Wundt
  • yet decided to get degree under Wundt anyway
  • before going to Leipzig translated the 3rd edition of Physiological Psychology into English
  • arrived in Leipzig in 1890 (23)
  • Wundt 35 years older, and saw little of him
  • earned his PhD in 1892 (25) in only 2 years!
  • taught a few months as extension lecturer in biology at Oxford
  • had met an American (Frank Angell), who arranged for him to go to Cornell in 1892(25), where he became full professor at 28, and stayed 35 years until his death from a brain tumor
  • somewhat isolated; elected by charter members to join APA, but never became president, and later resigned
  • so in 1904 created his own society, “The Experimentalists,” later the Society of Experimental Psychologists
  • in 1921 became editor of American Journal of Psychology, but best years already behind him
  • died age 60


Principal Works

  • Outline of Psychology (1896/29)
  • Primer of Psychology (1898/31)
  • article on “The Postulates of a Structural Psychology” (1898/31)
  • Experimental Psychology (1901-05/34-38):
  • Textbook of Psychology (1910/43)
  • Systematic Psychology: Prolegomena (1929/posthumous; articles written 1912ff/45)

General View of Psychology as a Science

Subject Matter

Experience – as dependent on experiencing person
Consciousness – sum total of experiences at a given point in time
Mind – cumulative sum of person’s experiences

Method: systematic experimental introspectionGoals of Discipline

1. To reduce conscious processes to their simplest, most basic components: “mind is built up from its elements.”
2. To determine how these elements are combined and their laws of combination
3. To bring the elements into connection with their physiological conditions: psychological parallelism

Note: Although divided psychology into human, animal, social, child, and abnormal psychology, most sympathetic toward first; strongly opposed to applied psychology.

The Elements of Consciousness:

Three categories: sensations, images, and affections

For sensations alone: > 44,000 qualities

32,820 visual
11,600 auditory
4 taste
3 alimentary tract

Classification according to

protensity (duration)
attensity (clearness)

Sensations have all four, but affections lack clearness

Rejected Wundt’s tridimensional theory of feeling:

only one dimension – pleasantness vs. unpleasantness

Even attention reduced to mere sensation:

Core-Context Theory of Meaning: Elemental core plus meaning-providing context


Short-term Influence

216 articles & notes and several books
(some translated into Russian, Italian, German, Spanish, & French)54 doctorates in 35 years, including:

Margaret Floy Washburn (1871-1939)
Walter Bowers Pillsbury (1872-1960)
Edwin G. Boring (1886-1968)
Joy P. Guilford (1897-1987)

Problems with Structuralism:

1. Narrow definition of psychology
2. Artificiality and sterility of approach
3. Unreliability of introspection as a research tool

Long-term Influence:

1. Helped establish psychology as a science
2. Some research findings still valid
3. Target for criticism that helped establish new schools

Back to top
Back to course page



William James et al.

Granville Stanley Hall (1844-1924): “Darwin of the Mind”

His “firsts”:

  • 1st American Ph.D. in psychology (under William James, 1878)
  • 1st American student in the 1st year of the 1st lab in the world (Wundt’s)
  • 1st psychology lab in US in 1883 at Johns Hopkins
  • 1st psychology journal in US (American Journal of Psychology in 1887)
  • 1st president of Clark University in 1888
  • 1st President of the American Psychological Association in 1892 (which he organized)

Major Works:

  • “The Contents of Children’s Minds Upon Entering School” (1883/39)
  • Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education (1904/60)
  • Jesus the Christ, in the Light of Psychology (1917/73)
  • Senescence: The Last Half of Life (1922/78)

Professional contributions:

1891 founded Pedagogical Seminary (now Journal of Genetic Psychology)
1904 founded the Journal of Religious Psychology (now defunct)
1909 organized Clark symposium inviting Freud, Jung, Ferenczi, James, Titchener, Cattell, and many others
1915 founded Journal of Applied Psychology

Students (81 PhD’s at Clark from 1888):

J. M. Cattell
John Dewey
Joseph Jastrow
Arnold Gesell
Francis Sumner

Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930): A Little Chronology with a Big History Lesson

Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916)

1908 (45) On the Witness Stand
1909 (46) Psychotherapy
1910 (47) Psychology and the Teacher
1911 (48) Psychology and Industrial Efficiency
1914 (51) Psychology and Social Sanity
1916 (53) The Photoplay

James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944): Career Development

1886 (26) PhD under Wundt (then to Galton)
1888 (28) Professor of Psychology at University of Pennsylvania (1st anywhere in world)
1890 (30) paper coining term “mental tests”
1891 (31) moves to Columbia (until 1917): more doctorates there than anywhere else in next 26 years (including Thorndike and Woodworth)
1894 (34) started the Psychological Review (with Baldwin)
1895 (35) President of the American Psychological Association
1921 (61) began the Psychological Corporation

Chicago Functionalists

John Dewey (1859-1952)

  • wrote first American psychology textbook (1886/27)
  • at Chicago 1894-1904
  • article on “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” (Psychological Review, 1896/37)
  • elected APA President (1899/40)
  • APA address on “Psychology and Social Practice” (1900/41)

James Rowland Angell (1869-1949)

  • never earned PhD; at Chicago 1894-1921
  • first published experiment in Psychological Review (1896/27)
  • textbook Psychology: An Introductory Study of the Structure and Function of the Human Consciousness (1904/35)
  • elected APA President (1906/37)
  • address on “The Province of Functional Psychology”:
      (a) mental operations, not mental elements
      (b) fundamental utilities of consciousness
      (c) psychophysical relations
  • awarded 23 honorary degrees
  • became President of Yale 1921-37

Harvey Carr (1873-1954)

  • PhD under Angell at Chicago (1905/32)
  • outstanding experimentalist and department chair
  • wrote Psychology: A Study of Mental Activity (1925/52):
      (a) mental activity is adaptive
      (b) motivating stimulus provides direction
      (c) sensory situation
      (d) response
  • APA President in 1926 (53)

Mental Testing Movement:

Alfred Binet (1857-1911): Binet and Simon test of 1905
William Stern (1871-1938): IQ
Lewis M. Terman (1887-1956): Stanford-Binet test
Robert Yerkes (1876-1956): army Alpha test
David Wechsler (1896-1981): WAIS and WISC
Charles Spearman (1863-1945): general ability
Louis L. Thurstone (1887-1955): specific abilities





Expanded range of field
Established discipline in US
Set stage for Behaviorism and Gestalt psychologies

Back to top
Back to course page


Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)


  • first born of 11 children
  • son of village priest; mother daughter of priest; originally intended to become a priest
  • studied animal physiology at St. Petersberg; degree in 1875 (26); MD in 1883 (34)
  • 2 years in Germany under Ludwig at Leipzig
  • Professor of Pharmacology at St. Petersburg Military Academy 1890 (41)
  • Professor of Physiology 1895 (46)
  • won Nobel Prize for work on digestion 1904 (55)
  • opposition to Soviet regime until 1933
  • on February 21, 1936, fell ill following full day at work, and died


  • methodology: chronic instead of acute preparations; inspired by William Beaumont (1785-1853) gastric fistula study
  • accidental discovery (serendipity) of “psychic secretions”; conditioned reflexes
  • used classical conditioning paradigm to study: generalization and differentiation, experimental neurosis, extinction, etc.
  • theory of brain; Darwinian framework; materialistic atomistic reductionism
  • attitude toward psychology: not a science

John Broadus Watson (1878-1958)


  • 4th born of 6 children
  • born in family where mother was a highly religious fundamentalist
  • mediocre student in one-room schoolhouse
  • described by teachers as troublesome and argumentative
  • admitted that he was lazy and rebellious
  • entered Furman University to become a minister, yet
  • went to graduate school at the University of Chicago, originally to study philosophy
  • but worked in psychology under Angell; with minors in neurology and philosophy (Jacques Loeb)
  • problems with introspection, so switched to rats
  • although had nervous breakdown, finished degree in record time
  • got married and finished dissertation in 1903 (25): Animal Education: The Psychical Development of the White Rat.


  • at Chicago 1903-1908; research in Dry Tortugas
  • competition between Chicago and Johns Hopkins (invited to latter by James Baldwin, the chair):
  • full professor at Johns Hopkins at age 30 (1908-1920)
  • becomes chair when Baldwin resigned; became editor of Psychological Review
  • extremely popular teacher
  • begins to develop behaviorism in talks at Columbia (invited by Cattell)
  • elected APA President at age 37 (1915)
  • wartime service; realized the importance of sex (read Freud since 1910)
  • returns to conduct research on infant behavior with Rosalie Rayner
  • then supposed research on human sexual behavior (a little history of putative historical “facts”)
  • forced out of job at age 42; married Rosalie; joined advertising agency (recommendation of Titchener)
  • debates with Köhler and McDougall
  • APA Gold medal in 1957 (79)

Chief Works

1913 (35) “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It” in Psychological Review
1914 (36) Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology
1915 (37) APA Presidential Address; Pavlov to replace introspection
1919 (41) Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist
1920 (42) “Conditional Emotional Reactions” (with Rosalie)
1925 (47) Behaviorism
1928 (50) Psychological Care of the Infant Child (with Rosalie)


Subject matter: BehaviorTwo conceptions of consciousness

in 1913: methodological behaviorism
in 1929: metaphysical behaviorism

Atomistic, mechanistic, and materialistic: stimulus-response reflexes

Hence arises Watson’s

1) Peripheral Theory of Thinking
2) Conditioned emotional responses: Little Albert
3) Habits: extreme nurture position


Back to top
Back to course page


Edward Chance Tolman (1886-1959)

Life and Career

  • second-born in well-to-do family
  • brother a renowned theoretical chemist and physicist
  • BS in electrochemistry 1911 (25)
  • crystallizing experience: William James
  • Harvard University, first summer school and then psychology: Yerkes, Holt, and Münsterberg
  • to Germany; with Kurt Koffka
  • back to Harvard
  • exposure to Watsonian behaviorism “tremendous stimulus and relief”
  • PhD 1915 (29)
  • at Northwestern until 1918, when dismissed for pacifism and poor teaching
  • then to UC Berkeley (except 1950-53, when at Harvard and Chicago)
  • APA President in 1937 (51)
  • Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award 1957 (71)
  • Regents of University of California award him an “honorary doctorate” in 1959 (later Tolman Hall)

Chief Ideas

Book Purposive Behavior in Animals and Man (1932/46):

molar rather than molecular level;
goal-directed behavior (“reeks of purpose”)

Intervening variables: B = f (S, P, H, T,A)

B = behavior
S = environmental stimuli
P = physiological drive
H = heredity
T = previous training
A = age

Learning theory

sensory S-S rather than S-R learning
cognitive theory of “sign Gestalts” (cognitive expectations)
learning versus performance
cognitive maps
debates with Hull in 30s and 40s



1. Introduced important cognitive ideas
2. Many outstanding students: Campbell, Gleitman, Hochberg, Krech, etc.


1. No Tolmanians
2. Numerous neologisms: discriminanda, manipulanda, sign-Gestalt-readiness
3. Failed to develop fully integrated theoretical system

Clark Leonard Hull (1884-1952)


  • born in log cabin in very poor, uneducated family; family moved often
  • only spotty education; virtually self educated
  • sickly (typhoid fever and polio)
  • discovered talent for mathematics and philosophy in preparatory school; also mechanical gifts
  • planned to become a minister, but
  • crystallizing experience: William James
  • BA U Michigan 1913 (30)
  • PhD U Wisconsin 1918 (34)
  • read Newton’s Principia


  • at Wisconsin next 10 years
  • built correlation machine
  • published Aptitude Testing (1928/44)
  • then 32 papers on hypnosis and suggestion; wrote Hypnosis and Suggestibility (1933/49)
  • converted to behaviorism:

1. invited Kurt Koffka to Wisconsin 1926-27

2. read Pavlov in 1927

3. invited to Yale in 1929 (45)

  • at Yale between 1929-1950: 21 theoretical articles in Psychological Review
  • APA President in 1936 (52)
  • Mathematico-Deductive Theory of Rote Learning: A Study in Scientific Method (with 5 others; 1940/56)
  • Principles of Behavior (1943/59)
  • massive coronary heart attack (1948/64)
  • Essentials of Behaviorism (1951/67)
  • A Behavior System published posthumously

1. mathematico-deductive system: 18 postulates & 12 corollaries

2. drives and incentives

3. learning: Thorndike’s law of effect with Pavlovian conditioning (law of reinforcement);

4. habit strength and reaction potential (= habit strength X drive)



1. Highly cited in the psychological literature
2. Numerous disciples and followers, including future APA presidents and DSC Award recipients


1. Never fully developed system
2. What he did develop was extremely sterile as a precise mathematical framework

B[urrhus] F[rederic] Skinner (1904-1990)


  • first-born in professional family; both parents well educated
  • displayed early talents and precocious interests; first literary publication at age 10
  • English major at Hamilton College; great practical joker
  • attended writer’s workshop
  • “Dark Year” after graduation: Greenwich Village for 6 months; summer in Paris
  • crystallizing experience: Watson’s Behaviorism and Pavlov’s Conditioned Reflexes
  • entered Harvard; PhD in 1931 (27)
  • returned to Harvard as professor in 1947 (43)

Chief Works

1938 (34) The Behavior of Organisms

1948 (44) Walden Two 

1953 (49) Science and Human Behavior

1957 (53) Verbal Behavior 

1971 (67) Beyond Freedom and Dignity

1974 (70) About Behavior

Main Ideas

Positivistic, “empty-organism” approach; atheoretical

Nonstatistical analyses of single cases under extremely controlled conditions: Skinner box and cumulative record

1. operant rather than respondant behavior
2. positive versus negative reinforcement;
3. punishment;
4. secondary reinforcement;
5. reinforcement schedules;
6. discriminative stimulus;
7. shaping; etc.


  • many followers and admirers; outstanding students
  • founded Journal for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior in 1958 (56)
  • won DSC Award in 1958 (56)
  • listed in The 100 Most Important People in the World Today in 1970 (68)
  • identified as the best-known US scientist in 1975 (73) survey
  • major practical contributions: programmed instruction; behavior modification
  • and yet …

Back to top
Back to course page



Nativism rather than Empiricism

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Phenomenology rather than trained Introspection

“unbiased scrutiny of experience” or “disciplined naiveté”
Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832): Theory of Colors (1810/61)

Holism rather than Atomism (or Elementarism)

Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932): Gestaltqualität: e.g., the same melody in different keys

The Founding in 1910:

Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)

train-ride insight
bought toy stroboscope to study phi phenomenon
to Frankfurt Psychological Institute;
two postdocs volunteered:

Kurt Koffka (1886-1941)
Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967)

The triumvirate

Wertheimer –

difficulty getting ideas down on paper; but a prophet and catalyst, generating ideas for others to follow up

Koffka –

a leading organizer and promoter who brought movement to the US in 1927

Köhler –

most productive researcher and systematic theorist



  • born in intellectual and artistic household in Prague
  • father innovative educator
  • talent in mathematics, philosophy, literature, and music (violin, piano, composition)
  • poet in adolescence; friendships in literary circles
  • fascination with Spinoza (holism and optimism)
  • started law school, then to philosophy of law, then legal testimony, and hence psychology
  • PhD with highest honors from Würzburg in 1904 (24)


  • published article on “Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement” 1912 (32)
  • position at University of Berlin (friends with Einstein)
  • founded the Psychologische Forschung in 1921 (41) (22 vols until 1938, when shut down by Nazis)
  • offered professorship at University of Frankfurt 1929 (49)
  • forced to emigrate to the US 1933 (53); New School for Social Research 1934 (54)
  • dies suddenly of coronary embolism 1943 (63)
  • Productive Thinking published posthumously (1945)



  • born in Berlin to distinguished family of lawyers
  • educated at Berlin, but perfected English one year at Edinburg
  • PhD on “Experimental Investigation of Rhythm” (1908/22)


  • taught University of Giessen 1911-24; Visiting professor at Cornell 1924-25; visited U. Wisconsin 1927; took position at Smith College in 1927 (until death in 1941)
  • published first Gestalt article in English in Psychological Bulletin: “Perception: An Introduction to Gestalt Theory” 1922 (36)
  • The Growth of the Mind (1924/28)
  • Principles of Gestalt Psychology (1935/49): covered perception, memory, learning, personality, and social psychology



  • born in Estonia, but raised in northern Germany; trained with Max Planck
  • doctorate at University of  Berlin in 1909 (22)


  • Director of Anthropoid Station of the Prussian Academy of Science in Tenerife Island (then WW I)
  • Intelligenzprüfung an Menschenaffen (“Mentality of Apes”) 1917 (30)
  • returns to Germany: publishes Static and Stationary Physical Gestalts in 1920 (33)
  • Director of psychology laboratory at University of Berlin
  • succeeded Stumpf in most prestigious professorship in Germany 1922 (35)
  • first book in English: Gestalt Psychology 1929 (42)
  • William James Lecturer at Harvard 1934-35; published as The Place of Value in a World of Facts 1938 (51)
  • conflict with Nazi regime 1935 (48)
  • Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore 1935-1955
  • Dynamics in Psychology 1940 (53)
  • Figural After-Effects 1944 (57)
  • Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award 1956 (69)
  • APA President 1959 (72)

Principles of Gestalt Psychology

General Methodological Strategy

1. Naïve phenomenology rather than trained introspection
2. Holistic rather than atomistic analysis
3. Perception as foundation for basic psychological principles
4. Extend holistic principles to all fields of psychology
5. Avoid premature quantification

Gestalt Theory

Phi phenomenon
Perceptual organization
Learning (relations)
Thinking (insight)


Cognitive psychology
Personality and social psychology

Back to top
Back to course page


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

  • born to Jewish parents in Moravia:
  • father a part time rabbi (as was his grandfather)
  • but earned living as relatively poor wool merchant, with economic ups and downs
  • frequent threats of mob violence led to many changes of residence (moved to Vienna when Freud was 4)
  • mother age 19, very attractive; born 8 months after his parents’ marriage
  • her 1st child (7 more to be born), but father’s 3rd, his older brothers as old as his mother
  • four childhood events that stood out in Freud’s memory
  • extremely precocious; encouraged by his parents
  • entered the gymnasium a year early
  • a brilliant student; head of class, and graduated summa cum laude at age 17
  • but difficult career choice: business, law, or medicine

1873 (17) medical studies at the University of Vienna; took courses from Franz Brentano (1838-1892)
1876 (20) began scientific research

first scientific publications appeared
worked for 6 years at the physiological institute of Ernst Brücke (1819-1892)

1879 (23) military service; translated J. S. Mill
1880 (24) returns to lab, but advised about career prospects
1881 (25) earns MD as Nervenartzt, or clinical neurologist1882 (26) a “big year” for Freud: five events –

1. studied under Theodor Meynert (1833-1893)
2. began his private practice
3. fell in love with Martha Berneys; 4 year engagement
4. began friendship with Josef Breuer (1842-1925), who was dealing with case of Anna O.; “talking cure,” cathartic method, and positive transference
5. on November 18 Freud notes that he first becomes aware of the power of the unconscious in the genesis of psychopathology

1884 (28) first chance to become famous:

discovers the analgesic properties of cocaine;
resulting addiction and death of friend;
missed out on credit for discovery while in France

1885 (29) studied a few months with Charcot in Paris, then with Hippolyte Bernheim at Nancy
1886 (30) marries Martha: 6 children, including daughter Anna Freud, and sons Jean Martin, Ernst, and Oliver

Same year adopted various therapeutic techniques, such as hypnosis, but eventually develops method of free-association

1895 (39)

  • Breuer and Freud publish Studies in Hysteria; highly critical reaction; sold poorly; breaks up relationship
  • works on his “Project for a Scientific Psychology”
  • discovers the role of wish-fulfillment in dreams
  • develops a friendship with Wilhelm Fliess (1858-1929); neurotic episode

1896 (40) Two critical events:

  • presented paper before Society of Psychiatry and Neurology in Vienna on his “seduction theory”; negative reception from Richard Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) and others
  • father died: entered 2-year long self-analysis

1897 (41): began using dream analysis; sudden revelation about the “great secret”
1900 (44): publishes The Interpretation of Dreams; ends relationship with Fliess
1902 (46) “Psychological Wednesday Circle”
1904 (48) The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
1905 (49) Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality
1908 (52) First International Congress of Psychoanalysis; journal appears next year
1909 (53) Hall’s invitation to Clark conference
1910 (54) Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood1911 (55) Break with Adler
1914 (58) Break with Jung and WW I breaks out
1917 (61) Painful swelling in mouth discovered (smoked 20 cigars per day)
1920 (64) Beyond the Pleasure Principle
1923 (67) Diagnosed with mouth cancer; 33 operations, almost continuous pain
1927 (71) The Future of an Illusion
1930 (74) Civilization and Its Discontents: Thanatos as rival to Eros
1933 (77) Freud’s books burned by the Nazis; by the end of 1934, most psychoanalysts had left Germany
1938 (82) The Nazis invaded Austria; Freud’s home taken over; daughter arrested; goes to England
1939 (83) Health fails rapidly, pain ever more severe, while the Nazi armies menace Europe

September 1, Nazi Germany invades Poland; France and England declare war two days later
September 23, dies

Back to top
Back to course page


The Apostates

Alfred Adler (1870-1937)


  • born in Vienna to wealthy parents, but unhappy childhood; sickly; rivalry with older brother
  • at 5, recovery from serious illness inspired him to become a physician
  • MD from U. Vienna in 1895 (25), specializing in ophthalmology, and then psychiatry
  • member of Marxist-oriented Social Democrat Party
  • met Freud after defended latter’s The Interpretation of Dreams
  • attends the weekly discussion groups 1902 (32)
  • begins arguing that aggression > sex as drive
  • but still named President of Viennese Analytic Society in 1910 (40);
  • becomes openly critical; resigns 1911 (41)
  • publishes Über den nervösen Charakter, on individual psychology
  • founds first Child Guidance Clinic in Vienna 1921 (51)
  • espouses feminism 1922 (52)
  • settled permanently in US 1936 (66), dying a year later


  • inferiority feelings, especially organ inferiority, produce compensation
  • striving for superiority; “will to power”
  • sex act as male domination; penis envy as symbolic resentment over male social dominance
  • style of life, “life plan,” or “superordinate guiding idea”; each the “artist of his own personality”
  • but may fail, creating a neurosis
  • order of birth:

oldest – insecure and hostile;
youngest – spoiled, behavior problems as adult;
middle – ambitious, rebellious, and jealous, but better adjusted than the others!


American Journal of Individual Psychology
Many Neo-Freudians actually Neo-Adlerians

Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933)


  • MD University of Vienna 1894 (21)
  • met Freud 1908 (35)
  • travels to Clark with Freud 1909 (36)
  • collaborates with Otto Rank on The Development of Psychoanalysis 1924 (51)


  • wrote Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality 1924 (51)
  • advocated shorter therapy; introduced questionable practices
  • Freud thought he would discredit psychoanalysis

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)


  • born in Swiss village; son of pastor (clergy on both sides of family)
  • but both parents remote
  • MD from University of Basel 1900 (25)
  • dissertation On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena
  • specialized in psychiatry
  • appointment at Berghölzli Asylum at University of Zurich, directed by Eugen Bleuler
  • attended lectures of Pierre Janet
  • developed “word association” test, including a psychogalvanometer
  • read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams; established a correspondence in 1906 (31)
  • to Vienna in 1907 (32); to Clark with Freud in 1909 (34)
  • named first President of the International Psychoanalytic Association 1911 (36), despite strong opposition
  • began to de-emphasize sex; libido concept changed
  • resigned from presidency 1912 (37)


Libido just generalized life energy

Development stages different

Infancy – nourishment
Childhood – play
Puberty – heterosexual
Old age – spiritual

Rejected Oedipal complex; child’s attachment to mother based on her food-providing function

Psychologische Typen 1921 (46): direction of libidinal energy either

introversion or

Structure of personality; psyche has three levels:

conscious (ego),
personal unconscious,
collective unconscious (archetypes)

Otto Rank (1884-1939)


  • poor Jewish family; father alcoholic
  • left school, but voracious reader (including Freud)
  • family physician was Adler, who introduced them
  • presented Freud with essay “The Artist” 1906 (22); published next year; encouraged to continue education
  • PhD 1912 (28) University of Vienna
  • edited first European journals of psychoanalysis, such as the Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 1912-24 (28-40)
  • begins to practice psychotherapy 1920 (36)


Oedipal complex supplies themes for poetry and myth (1909-14/25-30)
Presents first ideas on the birth trauma 1922 (38)
Publishes The Trauma of Birth 1929 (45): “separation anxiety”
Resigned from Vienna Psychoanalytic Society same year

The Neo-Freudians

Karen Horney (1885-1952)


  • born in Hamburg; MD from University of Berlin 1913 (28)
  • trained at Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute 1914-18 (29-33)
  • to US 1932 (47); associate director of Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis
  • teaches at New York Psychoanalytic Institute 1934 (49)
  • expelled from New York Psychoanalytic Institute 1941 (56)


The Neurotic Personality of Our Time 1937 (52): “basic anxiety”

No universal Oedipal complex

Three kinds of neurotic response:

Movement towards people
Movement away from people
Movement against people

Possibility of self-help: Self-Analysis 1942 (57)

Erich Fromm (1900-1980)


  • born in Frankfurt; studied psychology and sociology at Heidelberg, Frankfurth, and Munich
  • PhD 1922 (22) from Heidelberg in sociology
  • psychoanalytic training in Munich and Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute
  • to US in 1933 (33)


Escape from Freedom 1941 (41): authoritarianism to fulfill a neurotic need
Man for Himself 1947 (47): personal accountability
The Sane Society 1955 (55): consensus-oriented, industrial man at mercy of material creations
Greatness and Limitations of Freud’s Thoughts 1980 (80): Marx the better psychologist!

Back to top
Back to course page


The Metasciences

Humanistic Studies of Science

History of Science


George Sarton (1884-1956)
E. G. Boring (1886-1968)


Externalist (e.g., J. D. Bernal)
Internalist (e.g., Thomas Kuhn)

Philosophy of Science

Ontological versus Epistemological

Ontological (e.g., atoms, mind)
Epistemological (e.g., rationalism, empiricism,  skepticism, Kantianism, logical empiricism)

Prescriptive versus Descriptive

Prescriptive (e.g., Bacon, Descartes, Newton, Popper)
Descriptive (e.g., Piaget, D. T. Campbell)

Scientific Studies of Science

Sociology of Science

The Sociology of Knowledge

The Mertonian School: Robert K. Merton (1910-2003)

Norms in science

1. Universalism
2. Originality
3. Community
4. Disinterestedness
5. Humility
6. Emotional neutrality
7. Individual independence

Critical research sites

1. Inequality and elitism: e.g., Ortega hypothesis
2. Age structure: e.g. Planck’s principle
3. Multiples and priority disputes

Psychology of Science

General approaches

Cognitive psychology
Differential psychology
Developmental psychology
Social psychology

Specific applications

Psychology of psychologists
Psychology of scientific genius

Back to top
Back to course page


Below is a complete outline of all chapters and sections in Creativity in Science: Chance, Logic, Genius, and Zeitgeist.

Next to each section I have placed asterisks indicating the importance of that material to your paper.  The greater the number of asterisks, the greater the significance of that material.  In particular,

Extremely important; should be included or at least mentioned in any term paper = ***
Moderately important; may or may not prove useful depending on your subject = **
Least important; optional material; mostly useful if missing information relevant to above = *

Naturally, any section or chapter that has no asterisk at all can be completely ignored for the purposes of your paper.  Save those pages for recreational reading in an airport terminal or sandy beach.

Needless to say, this information will provide the basis for the lecture.

I. Introduction: Scientific Creativity***

A. Four Possible Perspectives**

1. Logic*
2. Genius***
3. Chance*
4. Zeitgeist**

B. Their Potential Integration*

II. Creative Products***

A. Scientific Careers: Publications***

1. Individual Variation***

a. Elitist Distribution***
b. Equal-Odds Rule**

2. Longitudinal Change***

B. Scientific Communities: Multiples*

1. Distribution of Multiple Grades*
2. Temporal Separation of Multiple Discoveries*
3. Individual Variation in Multiple Participation**
4. Degree of Multiple Identity*

C. Conclusion: Statement of the Problem

III. Combinatorial Processes**

A. Assumptions
B. Implications

1. Research Publications*
2. Multiple Discoveries*

C. Extension

1. Career Trajectories*
2. Individual Differences***
3. Interdisciplinary Contrasts**

D. Objections

1. Alternative Explanations
2. Explanatory Limitations

IV. Scientific Activity**

A. Individuals: Research Programs***
B. Fields: Peer Review**
C. Domains: Disciplinary Zeitgeist*
D. Two Implications*

V.  Creative Scientists***

A. Disposition***

1. Intelligence***
2. Associative Richness*

a. Hierarchies*
b. Constraints**

3. Openness to Experience***
4. Psychopathology***
5. Janusian Thinking**

B. Development***

1. Family Experiences***

a. Shared Environment***
b. Nonshared Environment***

2. Education and Training***

a. Creative Scientists versus Creative Artists***
b. Creative Scientists versus Noncreative Scientists***

3. Sociocultural Context***

a. Creative Epochs***
b. Scientific Epochs***

4. Conclusion*

VI. Scientific Discovery**

A. Logical Processes*
B. Chance Processes*

1. Insight Problems*
2. Creative Production*
3. Computer Problem Solving
4. Group Creativity**

C. Conclusion

VII. Consolidation: Creativity in Science**

A. Integration

1. Chance*
2. Logic*

a. The Role of Logic
b. The Limits on Logic*

3. Zeitgeist*

a. Disciplinary Zeitgeist*
b. Sociocultural Zeitgeist*

4. Genius***

a. High versus Low Creativity***
b. Chance and Creativity***

B. Implications*

1. Research Framework***
2. Potential Applications*

Also, don’t forget to check out the grading criteria here
and the term paper guidelines here.
Back to top
Back to course page




New England Transcendentalists

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Sören Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

Human Sciences

Giambattista Vico (1668-1774)
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938)
Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911)

The Founders

Background history

1961 Journal of Humanistic Psychology
1962 American Association for Humanistic Psychology
1964 Meeting at Old Saybrook, CT: The Third Force – Allport, Rogers, Maslow, May, and others
1972 Division of Humanistic Psychology: 788 members by 1985

Gordon Allport (1897-1967)


  • son of physician;
  • older brother Floyd (b. 1890); Harvard BA 1919 (Floyd PhD same year)
  • Harvard PhD 1922 (25, Floyd was 29)
  • Floyd behavioristic social psychologist; Gordon a humanistic personality psychologist
  • instrumental in 1934 Harvard split into Department of Psychology and Department of Social Relations


  • distinction between normal and neurotic personalities (unconscious, infantile past, etc.)
  • motivation: functional autonomy
  • role of self (propium): becoming
  • nomothetic vs. idiographic research methods
  • students: Jerome Bruner, Roger Brown, Gardner Lindzey, Herbert Kelman, Stanley Milgram, & Kenneth Gergen

Carl Rogers (1902-1987)


  • strict mid-West, hardworking, upper-middle-class, Christian household;
  • father engineering degree; mother attended college
  • but not intellectual: forbid dancing, playing cards, attending movies, smoking
  • sibling rivalry: older son the favorite; but had good relations with younger brother
  • chronic daydreamer and social isolate
  • BA in history from Wisconsin 1924 (22)
  • enrolled in Union Theological Seminary, but in second year courses at Columbia Teachers College
  • contact with Thorndike, Adler, Leta Hollingworth
  • PhD in psychology in 1931 (29)
  • The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child 1939 (37)
  • APA President 1946-47 (44-45)
  • Client-Centered Therapy 1951 (49)
  • Center of Studies of the Person, La Jolla 1968 (66)


  • self theory: “principle of self-enhancement”; tension between self and ideal; unsymbolized self
  • client-centered therapy: “unconditional positive regard”; non-directive
  • experiential groups; “facilitator”
  • attitude toward scientific psychology
  • debate with B. F. Skinner

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)


  • PhD under Harry Harlow 1934 (26) at University of Wisconsin
  • unemployed; research assistant to Thorndike
  • contacts with refugees at New School: Wertheimer, Horney, etc.
  • APA President in 1968 (60)


Hierarchy of Motives

1. Physiological needs
2. “Safety” needs
3. Belongingness and love
4. Esteem and respect
5. Self actualization
6. Knowledge
7. Esthetics and beauty


1. Efficient perception of reality
2. Acceptance of self, others, and of nature
3. Spontaneity
4. Centered on social and universal problems rather than the personal
5. Detachment, need for privacy
6. Autonomy, independence
7. Mystic experiences and oceanic feelings
8. Identification and sympathy with humanity
9. Few deep friendships rather than wide superficial relations
10. Democratic character structure, freedom from prejudice
11. Creativity
12. Resistance to enculturation

Rollo May (1909-1994)

  • originally studied to become a minister; remained a practicing Christian
  • rebelled against orthodox psychoanalysis
  • introduced existentialism into American psychology
  • the “human dilemma” – “man’s capacity to experience himself as both subject and object at the same time”


1. Experiential psychology
2. Positive image of humans
3. Role of self, of self-actualization and uniqueness
4. Importance of values
5. Psychotherapeutic innovations

But challenge: Positive Psychology?

Back to top
Back to course page



Influences from outside the discipline

Noam Chomsky (1928- ): nativism; attack on B. F. Skinner
Communications engineering: Information theory (1948)
Cybernetics: Norbert Wiener’s self-governing systems (1948)
Computer science:

A. R. Turing’s test (1950)
Von Neumann’s The Computer and the Brain (1958)

Brain science: neurosciences:

1948 Hixon Symposium on “Cerebral Mechanisms in Behavior”
Karl Lashley “The Problem of Serial Order in Behavior.”

Influences from within the discipline

Early anticipations

Wundt: mental chronometry
Donders: reaction times
Ebbinghaus: verbal memory
Functionalists: operations of mind
Gestalt psychologists
Tolman’s cognitive behaviorism

The gradual emergence

Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969): Remembering (1932/46)
Jean Piaget (1896-1980): cognitive development
Jerome Bruner (1915- ): A Study of Thinking (1956/42)
George Miller (1920-2012): Plans and the Structure of Behavior (1960)
Harvard’s Center for Cognitive Studies in 1962
Ulrich Neisser’s Cognitive Psychology in 1966
Journal Cognitive Psychology in 1969
Cognition in 1972


Representations – symbols, images, ideas, rules, etc.
Computer as model or metaphor – input, output, storage, programs, algorithms, heuristics, memory, etc.
Generic thinker – ignore affect, context, culture, history
Interdisciplinary nature – psychology, neurosciences, AI, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology
Roots in classical philosophical problems – epistemology, mind-body, nativism


Verbal learning and memory – semantic clustering

Memory storage systems –

Sensory, STM, LTM
Procedural, semantic, episodic

Mental images – Mental rotationComputer simulation (AI) –

General Problem Solver

Expert Systems
Discovery Programs

Connectionist Models

Mental chronometry and response times – mathematical models

Psycholinguistics – bottom-up vs. top-down


Lack of unified theory or paradigm
Reliance on laboratory experiments with college students isolated from context
Reintroduction of soft data
Infatuation with computer metaphor

Back to top
Back to course page


Current Developments

The death of schools and systems

in scientific psychology

humanistic psych?
cognitive psych?

in clinical practice

eclectic approaches replacing

orthodox psychoanalysis
behavior modification

“managed care” of HMOs

Substantive pluralism: hence

the proliferation of journals: e.g., APA

none in 1892
6 in 1942
> 20 by mid-1980s
and now? (plus division journals)

the proliferation of APA divisions

Fragmentation and disintegration


Experimental vs. correlational

e.g., Wundt vs. Galton

Cognitive vs. personality/social/etc.
James tough/tender minded

Natural vs. human sciences
Sciences vs. humanities


1892 APA founded by academics
1936 AAAP
1936 SPSSI
1946 APA adopts division structure; practitioners become majority
1988 attempted reorganization failed
1989 APS formed
Emergence of professional schools

Hence, tripart division?

Future course: Will psychology continue?

The criteria of science: explanation, prediction, and control
The problems of human subjectivity

Subjectivity of subject matter
Subjectivity of choice of topic

But … what other discipline?

Back to top
Back to course page


The Lectures

The Ancients
Medieval & Renaissance
British Empiricists
Continental Rationalists
French Clinicians
British Evolutionists
German Physiologists
Behaviorism I
Behaviorism II
Gestalt Psychology
Psychoanalysis I
Psychoanalysis II
Humanistic Psychology
Cognitive Science

The Themes

What is human nature?
How are humans related to nonhuman animals?
How are the mind and the body related?
Where does human knowledge come from?
Rationalism versus Irrationalism
Consciousness versus Unconsciousness
Reductionism versus Nonreductionism
Atomism versus Holism
Objective versus subjective reality
Mechanism versus vitalism
Determinism versus Freedom
What is the basis for human happiness?

Back to top
Back to course page