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Key Figures In Psychology

Chronological order based on birth date of the key figures in psychology

Ahmed Saeed

on 17 February 2013

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Transcript of Key Figures In Psychology

4th century
BC 1800s 1879 1890 1895 1906 1912 1950 1960 Philosophical roots Aristotle
384–322 BC Greek philosopher and polymath Aristotle was a student of Plato and teacher to Alexander the great. His writings covered a variety of subjects including the understanding of the mind and logic. Often regarded as the father of psychology; Aristotle believed that the body and mind are apart of the same being, that the mind is simply one of the body’s functions. He maintained that mental activities are primarily biological and that the psych and the body form a unity. His theories are outlined in his book De Anima (on the soul). Philosophical roots Rene Descartes
March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650 French philosopher, mathematician and scientist; Descartes was considered the father of modern psychology. Descartes expanded on the notion that the mind and the body are in unity and proposed a theory that speculated that there is a mechanism for automatic reaction that derives from conscious sensation; body affecting the mind. His ideas of automatic reaction are considered to be the founding of reflex theory. His theories on this subject are discussed in his book: De Homine. Biological Charles Darwin
12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882 Charles Darwin is famous English naturalist whose idea that all species in the world come from common ancestors became world renowned. Darwin’s contribution to psychology is that he proposed the idea that humans share many traits with animals. His work prompted much interest into comparative psychology (studying animals to learn about human behavior), which in turn helped psychologists understand human traits. He presented his theory of evolution in his 1859 book: On the Origin of Species. Biological Pierre Paul Broca
28 June 1824 – 9 July 1880 Pierre Paul Broca was a French physician, surgeon, anatomist, and anthropologist. He is most famous for his research on the Broca's area, a region of the frontal lobe that has been named after him. His work was the first anatomical proof of localized brain function and he proposed that subjects with brain damage may develop disabilities such as speech constraints. With this proof of localized brain function, he concluded that damage to specific parts of the brain may result in specific disabilities. Structuralism Roger Sperry
August 20, 1913 – April 17, 1994 Roger Sperry was a neuropsychologist and neurobiologist who is most famous for his split brain research. His research was based on determining weather each hemisphere of the brain acts independently as apart of a whole, or weather the both hemispheres act together without independence. To determine this he tested subjects who had undergone surgery so that their corpus callosum (the area of the brain used to transfer signals between the right and left hemispheres) was severed. After testing he concluded that each half of the brain may contain consciousness on its own, “indeed a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting, all at a characteristically human level, and . . . both the left and the right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneously in different, even in mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel” —Roger Wolcott Sperry, 1974. In 1981 Roger Sperry, along with David Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work with split brain research. Structuralism Wilhelm Wundt
August 16, 1832 - August 31, 1920 Wilhelm Wundt was a German physician, psychologist, physiologist, philosopher, and professor. He is regarded as one of the founding figures of psychology and was the first person to ever call himself a psychologist. Wundt fell under the umbrella of structuralism, which involved describing the structures that compose the mind. He believed that psychology was a science of conscience experience that could be described by trained observers through a process called introspection. Wundt established the first psychology lab in Liepzig, Germany; this is considered the official beginning of psychology as a field separate from philosophy and physiology. Functionalism William James
January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910 William James was an American philosopher and psychologist who was the first educator in the United States to offer a psychology course. James had an illustrious career in which he had a large influence on the study of psychology. James had many theories, one of them he developed with physiologist Carl Lange; this was called the James-Lange Theory of Emotion. This theory outlined that when an event happens it triggers a physiological reaction, which is then interpreted and consequently becomes emotion. Physiological reactions in the body cause and influence emotion. James also published books on psychology the most famous being his classic textbook The Principles of Psychology (1890). Functionalism Hermann Ebbinghaus
January 24, 1850 — February 26, 1909 Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist who is famous for his work on experimental study of memory. He is known for discovering the forgetting curve, the spacing effect and was the first person to describe the learning curve. Ebbinghaus was particularly interested in memory; contrary to what the famous Wilhelm Wundt believed, Ebbinghaus was certain that memory and its strength could be mathematically measured. He launched into his research by using himself as the test subject and a very controlled system of recording and sorting data. Ebbinghaus tested his memory by memorizing nonsense syllables such as”wid” or “zof” and then recalling them after various time periods. By analyzing the results he could describe the shape of the forgetting curve.

Ebbinghaus discovered the exponential nature of forgetting, describing the formula of forgetting by

R = e (−t/S)

Where R is memory retention, S is the relative strength of memory, and t is time.

Ebbinghaus published his works in: Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology. 1987. Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud
6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939 Sigmund Freud was one of the most controversial and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Freud was an Austrian neurologist who is known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. The basic components of psychoanalysis are the following:

1. Beside the inherited constitution of personality, a person's development is determined by events in early childhood.
2. Human behaviour, experience, and cognition are largely determined by irrational drives;
3. Those drives are largely unconscious.
4. Attempts to bring those drives into awareness meet psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms,
5. Conflicts between conscious and unconscious (repressed) material can result in mental disturbances such as neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety, depression etc.
6. The liberation from the effects of the unconscious material is achieved through bringing this material into the conscious mind (via e.g. skilled guidance).

This theory was met with a lot of controversy and opposition but is very influential in modern psychiatry. Freud published many works and as a whole had a massive impact on psycology. Psychoanalysis Eric Kandel
November 7, 1929 (age 83) Eric Kandel is an American neuropsychiatrist who is the winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This was for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons and he shared the award with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. His research found that long term memory involves the synthesis of new proteins, which as a result, create new synaptic connections in the brain. This meant that in order to convert short term memory into long term memory, there must be new connections created to store the biological data. It was this work that earned him and his associates the 2000 Nobel Prize and this research gave a biological base for the understanding of memory and was a huge contribution to the world of psychology. Psychoanalysis Carl Jung
26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961 Carl Jung was a Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. Jung worked with Sigmund Freud for some time; however, their friendship ended when Jung parted from Freud’s ideas and took on an approach of his own. Jung theorized that the human psych consists of three parts: the ego (the conscious mind), the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. He believed that the collective unconscious was a pool of all the knowledge and experience from the human species. He also proposed and developed personality types such as extraverted and the introverted. Jung’s theories may have been criticized but they did impact psychology and psychotherapy. His work with personality types and his advice to a patients suffering from alcoholism led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous. His work on analytical psychology is outlined in his 1917 book, Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology. Behaviorism Ivan Pavlov
26 September 1849 – 27 February 1936 Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who was famous for his work on conditional reflexes. While studying dogs, Pavlov noted that before the presentation of food the dogs would salivate. After a series of experiments in which he presented various stimuli before food, Pavlov established that by association, a dog would salivate in the presence of a stimulus that was not food. He also discovered that these reflexes originate in the cerebral cortex of the brain. This process of using a conditioned stimulus to elicit an unconditioned response is known as classical conditioning. His work had considerable influence of psychology, particularly the development of behaviourism. He received the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physiology and published a book outlining his research: Conditioned reflexes by Ivan Pavlov. 1927. Behaviorism Edward Thorndike
August 31, 1874 – August 9, 1949 Edward Thorndike was an American psychologist who worked on animal behavior and the learning processes. His work also helped lay the foundations of modern educational psychology. Thorndike used cats to test his learning experiments and through the process he developed a law. The law of effect states that if responses are followed by satisfaction, the response will become firmly attached to the situation and therefore more likely to reoccur. If the response is met with discomfort, the attachment of the situation and the response will be weaker and less likely to reoccur. Thorndike concluded that reward is stronger motivation than failure and that there is a higher chance the subject will retain the lesson if met with satisfaction. He also emphasized that reward must come directly after the lesson in order for the lesson to sink in. In 1912 Thorndike was elected president of the American Psychological Association, in 1917 he was admitted to the National Academy of Sciences; one of the very first psychologists to be admitted. Behaviorism John B. Watson
January 9, 1878 – September 25, 1958 John B. Watson was an American psychologist who is most famous for establishing the psychological approach of behaviourism. Watson promoted his view on psychology through his address given to Columbia University, Psychology as the Behaviourist Views it, in 1913. According to Watson, psychology should be the science of observable behaviour. His most famous and most controversial experiment was the "little Albert” experiment. In this, Watson and a graduate assistant named Rosalie Rayner repeatedly paired the child with a white rat and a loud noise, consequently conditioning a fear of white rats in the child. They were also able to demonstrate that the fear could be generalized to other white, furry objects. The ethics of the experiment are criticized because the child's fear was never deconditioned. Many of Watson's concepts and principles of behaviorism are still widely used today; in things such as therapy and behavioural training. Behaviorism B. F. Skinner
March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990 B.F Skinner was an American psychologist, behaviourist, author, inventor, and social philosopher; he was also the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until 1974. Skinner’s research on operant conditioning and negative reinforcement made him one of the key figures in behaviouristic psychology. Skinner believed that behaviours are dependent on the consequence after the response, he called this operant behaviour. He invented what is known as the operant conditioning box or the “Skinner box”. In this Skinner conducted experiments in which a rat would pull a lever and receive food, consequently the rat made more pulls of the lever; this process is called reinforcement. Skinner’s work in operant conditioning remains vital today; with mental health professionals, teachers and animal trainers still heavily relying on the methods today. Gestalt psychology Max Wertheimer
April 15, 1880 – October 12, 1943 Max Wertheimer was a Prague born psychologist who was one of the founders of Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology is a theory of the mind and the brain, it postulates that the brain is parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies. It states that the human eye sees objects as a whole before perceiving its individual parts and infers that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt psychology took aim on explaining the wholeness of how these mental processes worked; and through research the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization were formed.

Here is a link to a summarized explanation of these laws: http://psychology.about.com/od/sensationandperception/ss/gestaltlaws.htm

Max Wertheimer’s work has also had immense impact on other areas of psychology including sensation and perception as well as experimental psychology. Some of his research on Gestalt psychology was written in his: Gestalt theory. Social Research, 11, 78-99. 1944. Gestalt psychology Wolfgang Köhler
21 January 1887 – 11 June 1967 Wolfgang was German psychologist and phenomenologist, who along with max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka, gave birth to Gestalt psychology. Other than Gestalt theory, Wolfgang is famous for his research with the problem solving of apes. During the time period, Edward Thorndike had released his conclusion with the law of effect which stated that an animal’s learning is a trial and error process dependent on reward or failure. Wolfgang; however, believed the contrary, that animals arrive on a solution through insight rather than trail and error. He conducted experiments with apes that consisted of putting the reward (bananas) out of reach. One in particular was when he put the ape inside a cage with two bamboo sticks; on the outside of the cage was his reward; both sticks alone were not long enough to reach the reward. After some contemplation, the ape put the two sticks together and created a stick long enough to reach the reward. Kohler described the properties of insight learning in three points:

• Insight-learning is based on the animal perceiving the solution to the problem.
• Insight-leaning is not dependent on rewards.
• once a problem has been solved, it is easier to solve a similar problem

Wolfgang Köhler’s work has been a huge contribution to the world of psychology and was recorded in his books: The mentality of apes 1915 and Gestalt psychology: an introduction to new concepts in modern psychology 1947. Humanism Abraham Maslow
April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970 Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is famous for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory that proposes five stages of human growth:

1. Physiological: Air, water, food and shelter.
2. Safety: security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health and property
3. Social: friendship, family and sexual intimacy
4. Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement and respect
5. Self actualization: Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

Note that one cannot move through the hierarchy without first satisfying the needs of the previous stages. Maslow is considered to be one of the founders of humanistic psychology; and at a time when psychologists were looking at the abnormal side of human nature, Maslow was concentrating on human potential. Maslow's theory was fully expressed in his book: Motivation and Personality. 1954 Humanism Carl Rogers
January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987 Carl Rogers was an American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach (or client-centered approach). He was also one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy and was honored with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association in 1956. Carl Rogers’s approach of person-centered psychology was a criticized one; however, it proves to be a very effective treatment. Person-centered psychology is a method that consists of the client developing a sense of self worth and to induce a self reflection of how their attitudes, feelings and behaviour are having a negative affect and to have them make an effort to find their true positive potential. Therapists create a comfortable, non-judgmental environment, in which they hold their clients in a positive regard in order for them to find their own solutions to their problems. Carl Rogers had an enormous effect on psychology and is considered to be one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. His work on person-centered psychology is explained in his: Client-centered Therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. 1951. Cognitivism Albert Bandura
December 4, 1925 (age 87) Albert Bandura is a psychologist who is currently the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University. Among other things, Bandura is held in regard for his social cognitive theory. This theory states that learning comprises of the observation of role models; an example being, in education, the teacher is the role model.
The main principles of Bandura’s theory are:

•People learn by observing others.
•The same set of stimuli may provoke different responses from different people or from the same people at different times.
•The world and a person’s behaviour are interlinked.
•Personality is an interaction between three factors: the environment, behaviour, and a person’s psychological processes.

Bandura’s work was a hug part of the “cognitive revolution” in psychology and was also a huge impact on personality psychology, cognitive psychology, education and psychotherapy. His research on the social cognitive theory is explained in: Social Learning Theory. 1977. Cognitivism Noam Chomsky
Born December 7, 1928 Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist. Chomsky’s research consisted of attempting to answer whether language acquisition is innate or learned. Chomsky debates that language is an innate structure - or function - of the brain. In his research Chomsky found a series of factors that gave base to his claim:

• The first, that there is an optimal learning age. Between the age 3 to 10 a child is the most likely to learn a language in its entirety and grasp fluency.
• The second, a child does not need a prompt to start learning. It happens on its own and does not need any external help. Some things may help the child develop faster but they are not necessary.
• The third, it does not matter if a child is corrected. They still grasp the language in the same manner and speak the same way.
• The fourth, children go through stages of language acquisition. They all go through these stages at the same time, around the same age and a child in China will go through the same stages as a child in England.

Chomsky’s linguistic research is a branch of cognitive psychology and has been given insights into the
thought processes and human nature. His work is explained in: Language and the Mind, 1986 by Noam Chomsky. Cognitivism Wilder Penfield
January 26, 1891 – April 5, 1976 Penfield was an American born Canadian neurosurgeon and devoted much of his thinking to the functioning of the mind. Penfield specialized in treating epilepsy; which he did by surgically destroying the responsible cells. Before surgery, Penfield conducted experiments on his patients, in order to determine the areas which were causing the epilepsy. He did this by stimulating the brain with electrical probes while the patients were conscious, so that he could observe their responses. This way he could more accurately target the areas of the brain responsible and reduce the side-effects. By doing this, Penfield was able to draw maps of the sensory and motor cortices of the brain and show how their connections affected various body parts and organs. His maps are still used today and are virtually unaltered. His work contributed hugely to understanding the lateralization of brain function and gave psychologists a biological reference point in their research. Penfield collated his research with others and published: Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain. 2nd edition. Jasper, H. and Penfield, W. Little, Brown and Co. 1954. Cognitivism Jean Piaget
9 August 1896 – 16 September 1980 Jean Piaget was a Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher; and was famous for his research on what he called “genetic epistemology”. Genetic epistemology’s aim is to explain the method in which knowledge is obtained and how this affects the validity of the knowledge. Piaget believed that knowledge is a biological function that consists of structures, and that knowledge comes about by adapting to these structures. His research showed that young children can only process one thing at a time. An example is when you show a child, the age of 5; a short wide glass full of milk and a tall glass. When you pour the milk of short glass into the taller one, the child will say that the tall glass has more milk in it. Even if you pour the glasses in front of the child it will still say the tall one has more because it looks larger. Piaget believed that intellect grows though processes he called assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is using existing mental patterns in new situations. Accommodation is when the ideas have to be modified to meet new requirements .Piaget also believed that there are four primary stages of development:

•Sensorimotor (birth to age 2).
•Preoperational (2-7).
•Concrete operational (7-11).
•Formal operational (11 years onward).

Piaget’s research has had a huge effect on the way we interpret the learning and had large impact on the way we educate children. Cognitivism Howard Gardner
born July 11, 1943 Howard Gardner is an American developmental psychologist who is the Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Gardner is famous for his theory of multiple intelligences; according to this theory, people have many different ways of learning and so far he has identified and described eight:

1.Visual-spatial intelligence
2.Linguistic-verbal intelligence
3.Mathematical intelligence
4.Kinesthetic intelligence
5.Musical intelligence
6.Interpersonal intelligence
7.Intrapersonal intelligence
8.Naturalistic intelligence

This theory has so far been of the greatest practical and theoretical use to society and has is implemented in classrooms which, in theory, aids in learning of students. His theory is outlined in his book: Frames of mind. The theory of multiple intelligences.1983. accessed on 25/ 1/13









http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hermann_Ebbinghaus accessed on 26/ 1/13










http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/bio_rogers.htm accessed on 27/ 1/13
http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesal/p/howard-gardner.htm bibliography Key Figures In The History Of Psychology Psychology:
The systematic study of human behaviour and mental processes including perception, cognition and emotion.
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