Famous Figures in Psychology - Deepstash





What Personality Theories in Psychology May Tell You About Yours

Famous Figures in Psychology

  • Sigmund Freud: He was the founder of psychoanalytic theory. His theories emphasised the unconscious mind, childhood experience, dreams, and symbolism.
  • Erik Erikson: He was an ego psychologist. His theory of psychosocial stages describes the development of personality throughout the lifespan.
  • B.F. Skinner: He was a behaviourist and known for his research on operant conditioning and schedules of reinforcement.
  • Sandra Bem: She developed a gender schema theory to explain how society and culture transmit ideas about sex and gender.
  • Abraham Maslow: He was a humanist psychologist and developed the hierarchy of needs.
  • Carl Rogers: He was a humanist psychologist and believed people have a drive to fulfil the individual potential that motivates behaviour.





When Psychology Became A Separate Scientific Discipline
When Psychology Became A Separate Scientific Discipline

When psychology developed as a science that was separate from biology and philosophy, they did not know how to describe the human mind and behaviour.

Different schools of psychology...

Psychology: Early Schools of Thought
  • Structuralism was the first school of thought and focused on breaking down mental processes into their most basic elements using techniques such as introspection. Major thinkers are Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener.
  • Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of structuralism and focused on the role that the mental processes play instead of the mental processes themselves. Thinkers associated with this outlook include John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, and Harvey Carr.
Gestalt Psychology
  • This school of psychology is based on the idea that we experience things as unified wholes.
  • The approach started in the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism.
  • Instead of breaking down thoughts and behaviour to their smallest parts, the gestalt psychologists believed you should view the whole of experience.
The need to understand psychology

The beginnings of psychology differ significantly from contemporary conceptions of the field. Modern psychology covers a range of topics, looking at human behavior en mental processes from the neur...

The Beginnings of Psychology

Psychology was not separate from philosophy until the late 1800s.

  • During the 17th century, philosopher Rene Descartes introduced the idea of dualism - that the mind and body were two entities that interact to complete the human experience.
  • While early philosophers relied on methods such as observation and logic, today's psychologists use scientific methodologies to draw conclusions about human thought and behavior.
  • Physiological research on the brain and behavior also contributes to psychology.
Psychology as a Separate Discipline
  • During the mid-1800s, a German physiologist Wilhelm Wundt outlined many of the major connections between the science of physiology and the study of human thought and behavior.
  • He viewed psychology as the study of human consciousness and tried to apply experimental methods to study internal mental processes.
  • His processes are known as introspection and seen as unreliable and unscientific today, but it helped to set the stage for future experimental methods.
  • The opening of his psychology lab In 1879 is considered to be the official start of psychology as a separate scientific discipline.
The first views on motivation
The first views on motivation
  • At first, psychologist William James thought that only the initial act was conscious, thereafter behaviour was a spontaneous cascade of habits. He suggested we struggle with motivation when ...
Mathematics of motivation

When Ivan Pavlov and his dogs led to the discovery of learned behaviour through repeated exposure, and Edward Thorndike discovered the Law of Effect that stated that rewarded behaviours tended to increase, many psychologists were impelled to separate psychology from armchair introspection and formulated their theories as mathematical formulas.

  • The Drive x Habit Theory. Clark Hull's formula was sEr = D x sHr, which states that excitatory tendency (E) is the result of the drive (D) combined with the habit (H). The drive is nonspecific, such as hunger or thirst. The habit, however, depends on the stimulus (s) and response (r). But the theory turned out to be wrong and even opposite in many cases. 
  • Expectation x Value Theory. Drawing on ideas in economics and game theory, Edward Tolman and Kurt Lewis formulated an alternative account by evaluating motivation based on expectations. Tolman expressed the ideas as the mathematical formula: Subjective Expected Utility = Probability1 * Utility1 + P2U2 + P3U3 + … where subjective expected utility of an action equalled the motivation to act. But, if you expect a reward, why act and not simply passively wait for the expected reward? 
Motivation as change

Donald Hebb realised that existing theories were too focused on reacting to the immediate environment. Thoughts, ideas and goals could be just as strong for triggering action as sights and sounds.

Together with John Atkinson, they noted that the study of motivation had undergone a "paradigm shift", where motivation couldn't be seen as how actions get started, but how the organism decides to change its behaviour from one thing to another.