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Rene Descartes

Seventeenth century French Philosopher and Mathematician who believed that knowledge was innate; also theorized that the brain contained"animal souls" which flowed through tubes throughout the body and moved muscles, which became the precursory theory to the nervous system.


Student of Plato, founder of the scientific Lyceum Academy, and (arguably) the earliest known philosopher to promote empiricism, in contrast to his mentor Plato; believed that people were born with blank brains to be sculpted by experience.


Believed that people are born with all knowledge and only relearn it during their lives; also believed that the mind/soul was separable from the body and immortal.

Francis Bacon

Sixteenth century English Philosopher and proponent of scientific empiricism; mused over topics such as illusory correlations and selective memory.

John Locke

Seventeenth century English Political philosopher, encouraged scientific empiricism; popularized the term "tabula rasa", which means "blank slate" in Latin, to describe the human mind upon birth.

Wilhelm Wundt

Founder of Leipzig University in Germany; Psychology's first real scientist.

Edward Bradford Titchener

Student of Wilhelm Wundt; founder of Structuralist school of psychology.

William James

Late nineteenth century philosopher and psychologist; founded the Functionalist school of psychology.

John B. Watson

Radical proponent of behaviorism; conducted "Little Albert" experiment.

Charles Darwin

Theorist who coined the concept of "natural selection"; theorized that certain psychological traits had been "selected" by the environment because they enhanced our ancestor's (hominid and otherwise) survival.

Franz Gall

Nineteenth century phrenologist; invented phrenology, or the study of the correlation between head-shape and behavior.

Ivan Pavlov

Theorist who defined Classical conditioning with his dog-salivation experiment.

B. F. Skinner

Theorist who defined Operant Conditioning with his Operant Chamber, or Skinner Box.

Edward L. Thorndike

Defined the Law of Effect, which was validated by B. F. Skinner's experiments.

Albert Bandura

Defined Observational Learning with his preschool Bobo doll demonstration.

Atkinson and Shiffrin

Theorists who constructed the three part Modal Model of Memory.

Hermann Ebbinghaus

Experimenter who discovered and defined several characteristics of short and long term memory in his Nonsense-Syllable experiments.

George Sperling

Experimenter who defined the capacities of sensory memory with his letter flashing experiment.

Jean Piaget

Developmental and cognitive psychologist who believed that humans develop through distinct stages; is famous for defining several stages of infant development.

Erik Erikson

Theorist who proposed that as humans develop, they have psycho-social tasks that, if completed, lead to healthy development.

Harry Harlow

Experimenter who demonstrated the two accepted forms of attachment in monkeys.

Lawrence Kolberg

Theorist who developed the concept that human morality develops in stages as cognitive development does.

Jonathan Haidt

Theorist who proposed that moral thoughts were not necessarily logical, because they are prompted by moral feelings, which are the equivalent of gut feelings.

Herman von Helmholtz

Theorist who both aided in the development of the trichromatic theory of color perception and Place theory of pitch perception.

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