Talk:History of psychology

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Mrs Irwin (talk) 21:37, 31 August 2009 (UTC)== This is not an NPOV article ==


I am sorry to demur but either there is something wrong with this article or there is something wrong with everything else, most notably the article on psychoanalysis. I feel that this article may have bent over so far backwards in order not to have any opinion that its back is broken and it reduces itself to a jumble of almost anecdotal and fragmented facts and fictions. The references to Freud portray him on an equivalent level to Mesmer. The reference to Psychoanalysis as some sort of pagan dark art practised by the equivalent of flat-earth fanatics is risable. Ironically I think this article deserves an NPOV tag. It is not "neutrality" in the context of an encyclopedia to simply amass fragments of facts and assemble them. Sorry, but really! This article needs balance, identify key issues and sub-issues, primary and secondary currents if you like. I would help but my knowledge is rudimentary. However, Freud is arguably the first person to delineate the subconcious mind as separate to the conscious mind, to recognise its importance, and to work on trying to determine its functioning. That his work didn't solve the riddles, or that he (maybe) overemphasised the role of sexuality etc etc is not relevant to his standing in the framing of what is currently taken for granted in our perception of ourselves, our reality-orientation to the world around us. It is simply impossible to consider any cognitive process without standing on Freud's shoulders. To dismiss psychotherapy in the way it has been in this article is like relegating surgery, a nonsense. Have all who have followed Freud, Jung, . . . see, there are over 100 considered as meriting an entry of their own here, been "dismissed"?? This dismissive reference to Freud and the whole field of Psychoanalysis underpins and distorts the article out of any semblance of neutrality. It can readily be argued that the entire field of modern psychotherapy has evolved from Freud's work and developed directly from psychoanalysis, which incidentally is alive and well in all its many versions! The history of the evolution of religion, philosophy etc and the emergence of modern psychotherapy (AKA psychoanalysis - simply the process of therapy through talking and the quest for subconcious mechanisms in a "patient's" thoughts and behaviours) is extremely interesting but needs to be contextualised and balanced. Perhaps someone could just take a knife to it?
LookingGlass 18:21, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I understand your line of reasoning. Writing about history by necessity cannot be neutral, nor should we aim at being so. Your defense of Freud is a bit reaching, though. Yes, Freud is an important figure in the history of psychology, for many reasons, but I do recommend reading a history of psychology textbook to get a more objective stance on his contributions (e.g., he was not the first to divide between conscious and unconscious mental processes). Also, Freud was never a main figure within the discipline of scientific psychology itself. It's no coincidence that Freud did not even consider himself a psychologist. So yes, we need to work on this article, but the psychodynamic perspective should only be part of the whole, not the main guideline by which to judge events. -- Cugel 08:28, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Mrs Irwin (talk) 21:37, 31 August 2009 (UTC) I would agree with Cugel. Any one with the slightest acquaintance with the history of psychotherapy will realise that Freud cannot be held up as the founding father of psychotherapy - given the long history of nineteenth-century psychotherapeutic experimentation, particularly that associated with Myers and Janet. Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). See Henri Ellenberger's, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970).Mrs Irwin (talk) 21:37, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Subjects in the history of psychology[edit]

Nice to see this one started! I'll try and help out on this one (I teach a course on the history of psychology, that might help). What's important is to get a good overview of the different perspectives and thoughts over time (not just 'behaviorism', but also functionalism, structuralism, Gestalt psychology, empiricism vs. nativism, voluntarism and a lot of other isms, for example). 22:29, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I am a student of psychology and I am planning to major in psychology and I thought that this article was quite excellent, but I was also looking for the historical roots of psychology... for example, cosmology, theology, philosophy... these are all the roots that started psychology.

This article is OK but could use some editing. I personally recommend A history of psychology by Leahey. It is not an easy read, but very accurate and interesting. If you want easier material, try the link at the end of the article to the web page about the history of psyhology. It is not as accurate, but a nice introduction. --Heida Maria 23:37, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
I'd recommend Hergenhahn _History of Psychology_. It is considered a standard work. -- Cugel 11:53, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

I've never really edited a page here before, and I haven't looked into protocol for doing so, but I deleted this sentence: "In 1888 he left Johns Hopkins for the presidency of the newly-founded Clark University, where he remained for the rest of his career." This is not true:

Mammalian / Reptilian brains[edit]

Hi, first, pardon me for being a curious neophyte on the subject!

I noticed my addition about 'mammalian and reptilian lobes' was partly reverted with the comment 'There are 4 lobes, none are mammalian or reptilian'...

OK so 'lobes' was probably the incorrect word to use... But I definitely remember learning this in 9th grade biology class 20 years ago, that there is a part of the brain shared by reptiles, and another more developed part that mammals have and reptiles lack... Is this considered wrong now? It doesn't seem to be addressed anywhere, either here or at psychology, and perhaps it should be... Also, this may or may not be quite the same as the 'right / left hemispheres' I also learned about... Could somebody qualified perhaps write a sentence or two about this in the appropriate article? Thanks...! Codex Sinaiticus 15:21, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

It is correct that some parts of the brain are more ancient than others, and that younger parts are more flexible than the evolutionary older ones. Maybe there is something about this in the brain stem article, or the limbic system, or mammalian brain. However, I'm almost positive that there is not general agreement that those parts correspond to different kinds of temperament. User:Heida Maria
I did a little research, and you should try the mesencephalon article, and maybe diencephalon User:Heida Maria


It would be nice to see an account of pre-historic psychotherapies, a.k.a "shamanism". Although based on personal bayesian inference their benefit to society warranted that the practice was almost universal in some form regardless of culture. —Preceding unsigned comment added by GrEp (talkcontribs) 21:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Development of Psychological thought?[edit]

I always appreciate the fact that there is intelligent comment on so many subjects at Wikipedia and that an enormous amount of time and angst (judging by the discussions elsewhere) has gone into each article.

However, it appears that those who come here looking for information often have a different perspective from those providing it--or at least I do.

Have you noticed that this "history" is primarily a history of psychologists and only faintly a history of psychology? In fact if you went through this article and deleted all the names, places and journals there would not be much left.

There's undoubtedly value in this perspective but has anyone considered the alternative, of turning the discussion on its ear and focusing on the development of ideas with only functional mention of individuals? Much more difficult of course as it means that someone has to actually boil everything down to basics and discern which are the major arteries and which are merely side-streets...and I personally wouldn't have the stomach to read the discussion page on that one!

But wouldn't this be an interesting article? And I wonder whether others arriving at this page aren't really looking for this, rather than a Who's Who of scientists.

-- (talk) 21:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I would welcome a greater focus on the development of psychological concepts and theories. How do theories emerge? How are hypotheses proven or falsified? What constitutes a meaningful psychological theory? Which psychological theories are now generally rejected, what replaced them and why? How do psychologists respond to Karl Popper's claim that psychology is an unfalsifiable and untestable pseudoscience? --Tediouspedant (talk) 17:49, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Accuracy Dispute tag[edit]

From the WikiProject Psychology talk page:
Discussion about "doing history" in psychology

In response to the spate of recent edits of the history of psychology article, which incorporated anachronistic presentations of Islamic "psychology" into the general description of the discipline, Chris Green started a discussion at his blog. Having evolved over several weeks, this examines the clashing historiographic sensibilities evinced between expert and naive contributions to Wikipedia, as well as suggestions from both communities about what to do about it. Although further comments are of course welcome, the discussion itself may serve as a useful touchstone for future edits with historical implications. (In short, the argument is that historical movements should be examined in their own contexts, rather than in ours.) --JTBurman (talk) 03:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I think a distinction should be made between "psychology" as a general term, at times almost synonymous with Philosophy, under which almost anything may fall on wikipedia, and Psychology as a science and discipline that originated, we could perhaps agree, in the 1800s with experimental psychology (e.g. Pavlov) and writer/clinicians such as Freud, Kraepelin (really psychiatrists) and others continuing on to Alfred Binet, William James etc. through John Watson and its formation as a recognized profession with standards and credentials in the 1940s, in the United States at least. In short, I agree with the above statement. by JTBurman. Mattisse 14:46, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't mean to offend your judgement, but I disagree with the Accuracy Dispute tag for the same reasons I've given in Talk:Islamic psychology. I don't mind the section being tagged (maybe with something like Template:NPOV or Template:Weasel) but I think Template:Accuracy should only be used if the content is unverifiable or if there is any original research, which is not the case with the Medieval section (which has more references than the rest of the article). Jagged 85 (talk) 15:25, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Here as elsewhere the issue is not whether the mediaeval/islamic section has references – of course it does – but whether those references have adequate quality to elucidate the issues concerned. Islamic terms are assumed to correspond to scientific terms, for instance, but in many cases they are loose ordinary language terms, but in Arabic rather than English or German. Such sections have a flavour of special pleading rather than objective, impartial survey. Elsewhere, I've mentioned the problems we have in understanding what ancient Greek philosophers have said on scientific questions, and that's a field with much scholarship and many reference works available in English. Macdonald-ross (talk) 21:51, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Modern developments[edit]

Evolutionary psychology seems to be missing, perhaps among others. -- Beland (talk) 16:43, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the short section on humanistic psychology should reflect its history, so that the recent fashion of so-called positive psychology can be included. This article needs work, that's for sure. Cugel (talk) 18:44, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Beland and Cugel above. There's a saying that the layman's knowledge of a subject is 30 years out of date. There are many aspects of Wikipedia psychology articles that suggest a view which is more than 30 years out of date! -DoctorW 21:50, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Soviet psychology[edit]

I've removed the section heading, "Soviet psychology of 1920-30s," because there is no content under that heading. It's probably worth developing, though. Cosmic Latte (talk) 08:40, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Specialized Terms[edit]

"For instance, in Ancient Egypt, the coverboiz contains an early description of the brain, and some speculations on its functions (though in a medical/surgical context)." What is "coverboiz"? Is this a typo or special terminlogy? If the latter, it should be defined or a link to it should be created or a footnote regarding the term added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerry808 (talkcontribs) 23:28, 15 August 2009 (UTC)


It sounds as if cognitive science is a hole new world in psychology. Cognitive psychology is based on the same principles as did behaviorism. Or that behavior is the basis for analysing concepts. I would not say that cognitive science gave rise to AI. Behaviorism is the derect couse of AI. Hull described humans as a machine that could be seen througt mathematics. He hoped to build a machine capable of human thougt and behavior and to be able to describe them in matematical laws. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Psychology Box[edit]

The psychology box on the right side of the page is blocking out text. (talk) 22:57, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

The Invisibility of Women in Psychology[edit]

This section reads like feminist propaganda. For instance, the sentence "When it comes to psychology the names that are often recognized are Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, and Jean Piaget but very few recognize the works that women such as Mary Whiton Calkins, Christine Ladd-Franklin, Virginia Staudt Sexton, Jacqueline Jarrett Goodnow, Clara Mayo, and others have contributed to the development of psychology." only makes sense if the value of the work of said women psychologists is comparable to that of Freud, Skinner or Piaget, which is far from certain. Following the same logic, and being Spanish, I could require the following sentence: "When it comes to psychology the names that are often recognized are Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, and Jean Piaget but very few recognize the works that Spaniards such as Francisco Giner de los Rios, Luis Simarro, Ramon Turró, Gonzalo Rodriguez Lafora, and others have contributed to the development of psychology." Thus I believe this section should be deleted (or the text on Spanish psychologists added ;-) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

There's no reason the article shouldn't discuss the role of women in psychology. That said, the section does have numerous problems. It's ironic that a section complaining about "the invisibility of women in psychology" would be placed right at the very end of the article, thus diminishing its importance and providing an example of what it's complaining about. The first two paragraphs of it are social history of questionable relevance to the history of psychology as a whole. The comments about how "very few recognize the works that women" play in psychology do not have any source (or, if they do, the source is not clearly indicated); they also seem to be written inappropriately for an encyclopedia. So is the material in the final paragraph ("When taking a history of psychology course one learns about the persons behind the various theories of color vision. One classical theory of color vision is that of Ladd-Franklin, at first glance someone would assume that the theory was contributed by Mr. Ladd and Mr. Franklin but in fact it is a theory that was contributed by a Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, a woman that hyphenated her surname after marriage.") There is no "one" or "you" in an encyclopedia. With the section in that state, I don't object to its removal. Polisher of Cobwebs (talk) 18:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


Why is there such a large gap between the summarizing paragraph in the beginning of the article to the table of contents???? Please also fix the alignment of the boxes and position. --Darkspartan4121 (talk) 05:18, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Re-evaluate quality of article[edit]

The WikiProject template has this article labeled as "Start Class", but it looks much better than Start Class now. It seems a re-evaluation is in order, no? EPM (talk) 00:56, 9 January 2014 (UTC)