Psychology's Roots and Timeline

Timeline created by NPHSPsych101
  • 335


    Aristotle was one of the first Greek philosophers that contributed to today's understanding of psychology. He denied that innate ideas existed, but proposed instead that experiences were stored in the memories of humans. (B.C. 335)
  • 341


    Plato, student to Socrates, was a Greek mathematician and philosopher. During his life, he founded the Academy in Athens, which was the first form of higher education in the Western World. (341 BC)
  • 410


    Socrates was the teacher of Plato, who was the teacher of Aristotle. Socrates is partly credited for the development of Western Philosophy. The majority of what is known about Socrates was given to us in the dialogues of Plato, which described his methods, opinions, and philisophical views. (410 BC).
  • Francis Bacon

    Bacon contributed to the scientific approach to psychology and experimentation. He did studies on how each mind perceives certain events differently from one another. Francis Bacon also composed a book on his studies, called "Novum Organuum."
  • Rene Descartes

    Descartes was a French philosopher that wrote A Discourse on Method, and suggested that spirits were inside the brain (or nerves) that provided memories and reflexes. Descartes also disagreed with Aristotle's ideas, believing in innate ideas, that "the mind's being was entirely extinct from the body, and able to survive after death," (Myer's Psychology for AP, 3).
  • John Locke

    John Locke
    John Locke created the "theory of mind," which is considered today as the origin of the concepts of identity and self. He influenced several other well known thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau in the development of their work.
  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix
    Dix advocated for more civilized treatments of mental patients in hospitals. Originally, people thought that psychological disorders could be beaten or shocked out of people. She helped organize institutions with the distribution of therapeutic drugs and treatment programs.
  • Charles Darwin

    Known for his biological advancements in evolution, Charles Darwin also contributed to the field of psychology. In Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species," he proposed natural selection, or the traits given to help one survive and reproduce. His theory developed the question of nature vs. nurture, and whether one is more dominant than the other, or if they coexisted together.
  • G. Stanley Hall

    G. Stanley Hall was a pioneer of the psychology degree. Hall was a student of Wilhelm Wundt, and was the first student to be granted with a Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in 1878. He later created the first laboratory for psychological studies at John Hopkins University in 1883.
  • Wilhelm Wundt

    Wilhelm Wundt, German physician, psychologist, physiologist, philosopher, and professor is best known as the "father of experimental psychology." Perhaps his most remembered contribution is the founding of the first formal laboratory for psychological research.
  • William James

    William James
    James was a philosopher psychologist who taught as a professor at Harvard University. In 1890, James published "The Principles of Psychology," describing psychology as a "science of mental life" (Myer's Psychology for AP, 5). James studied the functions of our thoughts and feelings, and how they evolved into what we know now (also known as functionalism). As an example, James studied how certain functions such as smelling through ones nose could be an adaptive function through evolution.
  • E.B. Titchener

    Edward B. Titchener studied under the well known scientist Wilhelm Wundt for several years. He is credited for discovering and developing one of the perspectives of psychology known as structuralism. This was mainly influenced by Wundt's development of Voluntarism.
  • Margaret Floy Washburn

    Margaret Washburn is known for her influential research in and experimentation in animal behavior (which she later related to humans) and motor theory development. She was the first woman to earn a PhD in psychology.
  • Mary Whiton Calkins

    Philosopher William James at Harvard University mentored Mary Whiton Calkins back when women were not allowed to get a degree. After outdoing her male colleagues, she received a Ph.D. in psychology. Calkins became known for her memory research and was later elected to be the first woman president of the APA in 1905.
  • Rosalie Rayner

    Rosalie Rayner
    Rosalie Rayner and her partner, John B. Watson, are famous for their experiment called the Little Albert Experiment. The experiment was to test conditioned responses over time, similar to the experiment performed by Pavlov and his dogs.