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Key Psychologists and Historic Figures

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
was a British naturalist whose controversial and
groundbreaking theory of evolution had a significant influence
on the early development of psychology. Darwin's theory
of natural selection continues to influence the modern
evolutionary perspective.
Wilhellm Wundt (1832-1920)
is remembered as a German scientist who established the first psychology research laboratory. He pioneered a research method called introspection in which his subjects reported detailed descriptions of their own conscious mental experiences.
William James (1842-1910)
was a Harvard professor who played a key role in establishing psychology in the United States. He emphasized studying the purpose, or function, of behavior and mental experiences. According to the James-Lange theory of emotion, the experience of emotion follows a three-part sequence beginning with the perception of a stimulus. This triggers physiological arousal, which is interpreted as a specific emotion.
G. Stanley Hall
After studying psychology under William james, established America's first psychology laboratory. He served as the first president of the American Psychological Association.
Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930)
studied psychology under
William James. Denied a Ph.D. at Harvard, she established a
psychological laboratory at Wellesley College. Calkins served as the first elected female president of the American Psychological Association.
Margaret Floy Washburn (1871-1939)
holds the distinction of being the first
American woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in psychology. She is best known for her experimental work in animal behavior.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
founded the psychoanalytic school of psychological thought and developed a theory of personality that emphasized the role of unconscious conflicts in determining behavior and psychological disorders. Freud placed special emphasis on how childhood experiences influenced adult personality. He believed that dreams provided a particularly important insight into unconscious motives.
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
was an American psychologist who departed
from Wundt and the early psychologists by emphasizing the scientific study of observable behaviors rather than the study of subjective mental processes. Watson is now remembered as one of the founders of behaviorism.
Paul Broca (1821-1880)
was a French physician and anatomist who
discovered that the speech production center of the brain is
located in an area of the lower left frontal lobe. Today, this area in the left cerebral hemisphere is referred to as Broca's area. The discovery of Broca's area revolutionized the understanding of speech production.
Carl Wernicke
was a German neurologist and psychiatrist who
discovered that damage to an area on the left temporal lobe
caused deficits in language comprehension. Today, this area in the left hemisphere is called Wernicke's area.
Roger Sperry
best known for his pioneering research with
split-brain patients. He demonstrated that the brain's right and
left hemispheres have specialized functions.
Michael Gazzaniga
continued Roger Sperry's research by
advancing understanding of how the two cerebral hemispheres communicate with one another.
Ernst Heinrich Weber
was a German physician who discovered
the just noticeable difference (JND) and what we now call
Weber's law. Weber's law holds that for each sense, the size
the just noticeable difference will vary depending on its relation
to the strength of the original stimulus.
Gustav Fechner
was a German experimental psychologist who
demonstrated that mental processes can be measured.
David Hubel
is a Canadian neurophysiologist whose research
on feature detectors helped demonstrate the presence of
specialized neurons in the occipital lobe's visual cortex that
have the ability to respond to specific features of an image.
Torsten Wiesel
is a Swedish neurophysiologist who collaborated with Hubel. Their joint work expanded the scientific knowledge of sensory processing and perception.
Ernest Hilgard
is renowned for his research on hypnosis
and pain control. He theorized that a hypnotized person
experiences a special state of dissociation or divided
consciousness. As a result, the hypnotized person experiences one stream of mental activity that responds to the hypnotist's suggestions while a second stream of mental activity is also processing information that is unavailable to the consciousness of the hypnotized subject. Hilgard named this second, disassociated stream of mental activity the "hidden observer."
Ivan Pavlov
was a world-famous Russian (and later Soviet)
physiologist who devoted three decades and 532 carefully designed experiments to studying and formulating the
principles of classical learning.
John Garcia
conducted pioneering research on taste
aversion. He discovered that when rats drank flavored water
before becoming nauseated from a drug that produced
gastrointestinal distress, they acquired a conditioned taste
aversion for the flavored water. Additional studies, in which
Garcia paired noise or a shock with the nausea-producing drug, did not produce a taste aversion. Garcia's research supports the evolutionary perspective that being biologically prepared to quickly associate nausea with food or drink is adaptive.
Robert Rescorla
refined Pavlov's principle that
classical conditioning occurs simply because two stimuli are
closely associated in time. Rescorla's research indicated that
the conditioned stimulus must be a reliable signal that predicts the presentations of the unconditional stimulus. To Rescorla, classical conditioning "is not a stupid process by which the organism willy-nilly forms associations between any two stimuli that happen to co-occur." Instead, his research demonstrated that "the animal behaves like a scientist, detecting causal relationships among events and using a range of information about those events to make the relevant inferences."
Edward Thorndike
conducted the first systematic
investigations of animal behavior. His famous law of effect
states that responses followed by a satisfying outcome are more likely to be repeated, while responses followed by unpleasant outcomes are less likely to be repeated.
B. F. Skinner
insisted that psychologists should focus on
observable behavior that could be objectively measured
and verified. During his long career, Skinner formulated the
principles of operant conditioning. A 2002 survey ranked
Skinner as the most frequently cited psychologist of all time.
Edward Tolman
Thorndike and Skinner believed that behavior is a complex
chain of stimulus-response connections that is strengthened
or "stamped in" by a rewarding consequence, challenged this view by conducting a series of experiments demonstrating that rats formed a cognitive map or mental representation of a maze. They then used this prior learning to quickly find food placed at the end of the maze; concluded that learning involves the acquisition and use of knowledge rather than simply conditioned changes in outward behavior.
Wolfgang Kohler
Like Tolman, believed that behaviorists underestimated animals' cognitive processes and abilities. In a pioneering series of experiments, suspended bananas just outside the reach of a caged chimpanzee named Sultan. Unlike Skinner's rats and pigeons, Sultan did not solve the problem through trial-and-error. Instead, he studied the situation and, in a flash of insight, used a stick to knock down the fruit. ;called this. sudden understanding of a problem insight.
Albert Bandura
is best known for his famous "Bobo doll" experiments illustrating the role of modeling in human behavior; contends that observational learning is responsible for most human behavior.
George A. Miller
is best known for his classic paper, "The Magical Number
Seven, Plus or Minus Two."; presented convincing
evidence that the capacity of short-term memory is limited to
seven items (plus or minus two) of information. It is interesting
to note that memory span depends upon the category of
chunks used.
Hermann Ebbinghaus
was a German psychologist who conducted pioneering research on forgetting. His famous forgetting curve shows a rapid loss of memories of relatively meaningless information, followed by a very gradual decline of the remaining information.
Elizabeth Loftus
is one of America's most influential, and most controversial, cognitive psychologists. Her extensive research on the misinformation effect demonstrated that eyewitness testimony is often unreliable and can be altered by simply
giving a witness incorrect post-event information.
Noam Chomsky
is a renowned linguist who argues that young
children possess an innate capacity to learn and produce
speech; notes that children in widely different cultures
nonetheless progress through the same stages of language
development at about the same time. He hypothesized that
humans learn language because of innate speech-enabling
structures called the language acquisition device or LAD.
Abraham Maslow
is considered the founder of the humanistic
approach to psychology. While many psychologists followed
Freud in studying mental disorders, _____ focused on what
constituted positive mental health. _____ famous hierarchy
of needs begins with basic physiological and safety needs
and then ascends to belonging and self-esteem. Individuals
reach top level of "self-actualization" by realizing their full potential and achieving harmony and understanding.
Stanley Schachter
is best known for his two-factor theory of emotions. According to this theory, our emotions depend on physical arousal and a cognitive labeling of that arousal. For example, if you cry after breaking up with your boyfriend, you label your emotion as sadness.
Hans Selye
is best known for his study of stress. According
to ____'s three-stage general adaptation syndrome, stress
begins with an alarm reaction when people confront a stressproducing event by mobilizing internal resources such as producing adrenaline, to bring about the fight-or-flight
response. If the stressor continues, the body enters a second
stage of resistance characterized by heightened physiological
arousal and a sudden outpouring of hormones. Long-term
exposure to the stressor event eventually leads to a third stage of exhaustion that depletes the body's resources and leads to physical disorders, vulnerability to illness, and a complete collapse.
Alfred Kinsey
renowned for his pioneering research on human
sexuality. Although very controversial, ____'s extensive
research provides data that is still used as a baseline for modern research.
Mary Ainsworth
was a developmental psychologist who devised
a research procedure called the Strange Situation to observe
attachment relationships between infants and their mothers.
Harry Harlow
was a developmental psychologist who conducted a famous series of experiments on rhesus monkeys.
Konrad Lorenz
regarded as the founder of ethology, the
comparative study of animal behavior (including humans)
and their natural surroundings; earned widespread
recognition for his study of imprinting and aggression. He
concluded that the mechanism inhibiting aggression works less well in humans than among other species.
Jean Piaget
was a Swiss psychologist whose theories of
cognitive development have had a profound impact upon our
understanding of how the mind develops; focused on the rational, perceiving child who has the capacity
to make sense of the world.
Lev Vygotsky
was a pioneering Russian psychologist. He placed particular emphasis on how culture and social interactions with parents and other significant people influenced a child's cognitive development.
Diana Baumrind
is best known for her work on parenting styles; identified three distinct parenting styles based upon "parental responsiveness" and "parental demandingness."
Erik Erikson
created an influential theory of social development; as we progress from infancy to old age, we enter eight psychosocial stages of development. Each stage corresponds to a physical change and takes place in a distinctive setting.
Lawrence Kohlberg
was an American psychologist who used hypothetical moral dilemmas to study moral reasoning. His influential theory of the stages of moral development is a milestone in developmental psychology.
Carol Gilligan
is best known for her critique of Kohlberg's
theory of moral development. "In a Different Voice". argued that the participants in Kohlberg's basic study were all male.
Alfred Adler
Known as a Neo-Freudian, ____ pioneered
the use of psychiatry in both social work and early childhood
education; introduced such fundamental mentalhealth
concepts as "inferiority feeling," "Iife-style," "striving
for superiority," and "social interest." tried to help his
patients "see the power of self-determination" and "command
the courage" to alter their interpretation of events and life
Carl Jung
is best known as a Neo-Freudian who developed
the concept of the collective unconsciousness; the collective unconsciousness includes shared human experiences embodied in myths and cultural archetypes, such as the wise grandfather, the innocent child, and the rebellious son.
Carl Rogers
rejected Freud's pessimistic view of human nature.
Instead, offered the optimistic view that people
are innately good, and, thus, "positive, forward-moving,
constructive, realistic, [and] trustworthy." argued that
self-concept is the cornerstone of a person's personality.
Paul Costa and Robert McCrae
are personality theorists best known for their work in developing the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Popularly known as the "Big Five Model," it identifies openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism as broad domains or dimensions of personality.
Francis Galton
was a multifaceted British psychologist who
had a passion for applying statistics to the variations in human
abilities; developed the statistical concept of correlation
and was the first to demonstrate that the "normal distribution"
could be applied to intelligence.
Charles Spearman
was a British psychologist who observed
that an individual's scores on various tests of intellectual
performance correlated with one another.
Robert Sternberg
is an American psychologist best known for his triarchic theory of intelligence. The triarchic model distinguishes among analytic, creative, and practical intelligences.
Howard Gardner
is widely known for his theory of multiple
intelligences. ____disputes Spearman's assertion that there is a single general intelligence. Instead, believes that there are a number of intelligences including linguistic, logicmathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
Alfred Binet
was a French psychologist who invented the first
usable intelligence test; made an important distinction
between a child's mental and chronological ages.
Lewis Terman
was a pioneer in educational psychology who
is best known as the inventor of the Stanford-Binet IQ test; computed a child's intelligence quotient or IQ by
dividing mental age by chronological age and then multiplying
the result by 100; also conducted an influential
longitudinal study of gifted children.
David Wechsler
was a leading American psychologist who
developed a series of widely used intelligence tests. Instead of
using Terman's approach to calculate an IQ score, ____
determined how far a person's score deviates from a bellshaped normal distribution of scores. Most intelligence tests now use this system.
Dorthea Dix
was an American reformer who documented the
deplorable conditions of how states cared for their insane poor.
Albert Ellis
is renowned for developing the principles and
procedures of rational-emotive therapy; helped his clients
dispute irrational beliefs and replace them with more rational
interpretations of events.
Aaron Beck
is widely regarded as the father of cognitive therapy. His pioneering theories are widely used to treat clinical depression.
Mary Cover Jones
conducted pioneering research in applying
behavioral techniques to therapy; is often called "the mother of behavior therapy."
Joseph Wolpe
anxiety-producing phobias; taught his client how to maintain a state of deep relaxation. He and his client then created a hierarchy of anxiety-arousing images and situations.
Leon Festinger
is best known for formulating the theory
of cognitive dissonance.
Philip Zimbardo
is a textbook author and the developer of
the popular PBS-TV series Discovering Psychology. Conducted Stanford prison experiment.
Solomon Asch
is widely recognized as one of the pioneers in
developing social psychology as an academic discipline. His
celebrated study of conformity provided a vivid demonstration
of how individuals respond to the social pressures and
expectations of others.
Stanley Milgram
famous and controversial study of obedience
to authority comprises one of the largest research programs
in the history of social psychology; transformed
our understanding of human nature by demonstrating that
ordinary citizens were willing to obey an authority figure
who instructed them to administer electric shocks to an
innocent "learner,"