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history of Psychology

  • 387 BCE


    Plato suggested that the brain is the mechanism of mental processes.
  • 335 BCE


    Aristotle suggested that the heart is the mechanism of mental processes.
  • Franz Mesmer

    Franz Mesmer detailed his cure for some mental illness, originally called mesmerism and now known as hypnosis.
  • Philippe Pinel

    Philippe Pinel
    Philippe Pinel released the first mental patients from confinement in the first massive movement for more humane treatment of the mentally ill.
  • Franz Gall

    Franz Gall wrote about phrenology (the idea that a person’s skull shape and placement of bumps on the head can reveal personality traits.
  • Ernst Heinrich Weber

    Ernst Heinrich Weber published his perception theory of ‘Just Noticeable DIfference,’ now known as Weber’s Law.
  • Phineas Gage

    Phineas Gage suffered brain damage when an iron pole pierces his brain. His personality was changed but his intellect remained intact suggesting that an area of the brain plays a role in personality.
  • Paul Broca

    Paul Broca
    French physician Paul Broca discovered an area in the left frontal lobe that plays a key role in language development.
  • Sir Francis Galton

    Sir Francis Galton
    Sir Francis Galton, Influenced by Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species,’ publishes ‘Hereditary Genius,’ and argues that intellectual abilities are biological in nature.
  • Carl Wernicke

    Carl Wernicke published his work on the frontal lobe, detailing that damage to a specific area damages the ability to understand or produce language
  • G. Stanley Hall

    G. Stanley Hall received the first American Ph.D. in psychology. He later founded the American Psychological Association.
  • Wilhelm Wundt

    Wilhelm Wundt founded the first formal laboratory of Psychology at the University of Leipzig, marking the formal beginning of the study of human emotions, behaviors, and cognitions.
  • The first laboratory of psychology in America

    The first laboratory of psychology in America
    The first laboratory of psychology in America is established at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Herman Ebbinghaus

    Herman Ebbinghaus introduced the nonsense syllable as a means to study memory processes.
  • Sigmund Freud

    Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud began performing therapy in Vienna, marking the beginning of personality theory.
  • term “Mental Tests”

    The term “Mental Tests” was coined by James Cattell, beginning the specialization in psychology now known as psychological assessment.
  • William James

    William James published ‘Principles of Psychology,’ that later became the foundation for functionalism.
  • the American Psychological Association

    the American Psychological Association
    Foundation of the American Psychological Association (APA) headed by G. Stanley Hall, with an initial membership of 42.
  • the first laboratory of psychodiagnosis

    Alfred Binet founded the first laboratory of psychodiagnosis.
  • John Dewey began

    Writings by John Dewey began the school of thought known as functionalism.
  • first psychological clinic

    first psychological clinic
    The first psychological clinic was developed at the University of Pennsylvania marking the birth of clinical psychology.
  • Edward Thorndike

    Edward Thorndike
    Edward Thorndike developed the ‘Law of Effect,’ arguing that “a stimulus-response chain is strengthened if the outcome of that chain is positive.”
  • ‘Interpretation of Dreams’

    Sigmund Freud published ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ marking the beginning of Psychoanalytic Thought.
  • The British Psychological Society

    The British Psychological Society
    The British Psychological Society was founded.
  • Alfred Binet’s test

    Alfred Binet’s test
    Alfred Binet’s Intelligence Test was published in France.
  • Ivan Pavlov

    Ivan Pavlov published the first studies on Classical Conditioning.
  • Edward Thorndike

    Edward Thorndike published first article on animal intelligence leading to the theory of Operant Conditioning.
  • formula for the Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

    William Stern developed the original formula for the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) after studying the scores on Binet’s intelligence test.
  • the perception of movement

    Max Wertheimer published research on the perception of movement, marking the beginnings of Gestalt Psychology.
  • John E. Watson

    John E. Watson published ‘Psychology as a Behaviorist Views It’ marking the beginnings of Behavioral Psychology.
  • Carl G. Jung

    Carl G. Jung
    Carl G. Jung departed from Freudian views and developed his own theories citing Freud’s inability to acknowledge religion and spirituality. His new school of thought became known as Analytical Psychology.
  • Stanford-Binet intelligence test

    Stanford-Binet intelligence test was published in the United States.
  • the Army Alpha and Beta Tests

    Robert Yerkes developed the Army Alpha and Beta Tests to measure intelligence in a group format. The tests were adopted for use with all new recruits in the U.S. military a year later.
  • the Little Albert experiments

    the Little Albert experiments
    John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner published the Little Albert experiments, demonstrating that fear could be classically conditioned.
  • First psychological test development company

    not only commercializing psychological testing, but allowing testing to take place at offices and clinics rather than only at universities and research facilities
  • Jean Piaget

    Jean Piaget
    Jean Piaget published ‘The Moral Judgment of Children’ beginning his popularity as the leading theorist in cognitive development.
  • Walter B. Cannon

    Walter B. Cannon coined the term homeostasis and began research on the fight or flight phenomenon
  • Thematic Apperception Test

    Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) was published by Henry Murray.
  • Electroshock therapy

    Electroshock therapy
    Electroshock therapy was first used on a human patient.
  • Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test

    Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test was published which eventually became the most widely used intellectual assessment.
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) was developed and fast became the most widely researched and widely accepted psychological assessment device.
  • The Journal of Clinical Psychology

    The Journal of Clinical Psychology was founded.
  • Erik Erikson

    Erik Erikson
    Erik Erikson published ‘Childhood and Society,’ where he expands Freud’s Theory to include social aspects of personality development.
  • The Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published by The American Psychiatric Association.
  • B.F. Skinner

    B.F. Skinner
    B.F. Skinner outlined behavioral therapy, lending support for behavioral psychology via research in the literature.
  • Code of Ethics for Psychologists

    Code of Ethics for Psychologists was developed by the American Psychological Association.
  • Abraham Maslow

    Abraham Maslow helped to found Humanistic Psychology and later developed his famous Hierarchy of Needs.
  • First Psychologists prescribe medication

    First Psychologists prescribe medication through the U.S. military’s psychopharmacology program.
  • ‘Cognitive Dissonance’

    Leon Festinger proposed his theory of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ and later became an influence figure in Social Psychology.
  • Alfred Bandura

    Alfred Bandura
    Alfred Bandura introduced the idea of Observational Learning on the development of personality.
  • DSM II

    DSM II was published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • First Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

    First Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) professional degree program in Clinical Psychology was established in the Department of Psychology at The University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign.
  • the Psy.D. degree

    APA endorsed the Psy.D. degree for professional practice in psychology

    DSM III published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • theory of multiple intelligence

    Howard Gardner (professor at Harvard University) introduced his theory of multiple intelligence, arguing that intelligence is something to be used to improve lives not to measure and quantify human beings.
  • American Psychological Society established.

  • DSM IV

    DSM IV published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • technological age

    technological age
    Psychology advances to the technological age with the emergence of e-therapy.
  • prescribe psychotropic medication

    New Mexico becomes the first state to pass legislation allowing licensed psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medication.
  • Simon Baron-Cohen's

    Simon Baron-Cohen's
    'The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain' proposes that autism may be an "extreme form of maleness".
  • The DSM - 5 is published

    The DSM - 5 is published