Psychologists have certainly helped the way we see the human
condition. This is especially true since the turn of the 20th
century when the profession gained new ground in public opinion
which was opened up by the discussion of mental health. A profession
that was once pursued only by a few has now become a part of our
Here are the most famous of the psychologists whose works have
become the basis for much of our understanding in mental health
and what makes us who we are today.
Arguably the most famous of all the psychologists, the works
of Sigmund Freud opened up new
insight to the workings of the human mind. His efforts supported
the belief that not all mental illnesses had roots in physiological
causes. Plus, he offered evidence that differences in cultural
background impacted our behavior and psychology as well. His works
continue to inspire and influence people today in terms of our
understanding of personality, human development and clinical psychology.
Among psychologists, B. F. Skinner
is arguably the most eminent and influential in the field of behaviorism.
His views helped lead the thinking on therapy techniques which
are still being used heavily today. Behavior modification is one
of the pillars of Skinner's work that is still being used today.
The understanding of the intellectual development of children
is largely the work of Jean Piaget.
His research contributed immensely to the growth of cognitive
and developmental psychology. In fact, many education reforms
were made because of his work. Albert Einstein himself once described
Piaget's work as "so simple that only a genius could have
thought of it."
The cognitive revolution that happed in psychology in the late
1960s and 1970s was certainly due in part to the work of Albert
Bandura. He stressed the importance of learning through observation,
imitation and modeling. In other words, people do not have to
rely upon experience, but instead have learned plenty through
others by observing their actions. His book, the "Social
Learning Theory" in 1977 was one of the landmark works that
help broaden the views of psychology.
The famous Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov researched conditioned
reflexes which helped to bring along the behaviorism theories
of the 20th century. Instead of being introspective and subjective,
Pavlov's experiments helped introduce objective measurements of
behavior. The famous phrase about "Pavlov's dogs" helped
seal his place in 20th century psychology.
The father of modern social psychology, his pioneering work that
used scientific methods along with experimentation to view social
behavior helped revolutionize this aspect of psychology. As a
theorist, Lewin's influence has been tremendous in regard to organizational
development and group dynamics
The psychologists of today owe a great deal to the research that
was carried on by their predecessors who advanced the field of
psychology over the decades.
Written by Kevin Lepton
Published September 29, 2014