Psychology is an exciting field that has seen a lot of changes since its early days. Some of the most famous psychologists are those who have produced the most noteworthy milestones in the field. Here are some of the most famous psychologists, and what each one is best known for.
- Full name: Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
- Born: 26 September 1849
- Died: 27 February 1936 (aged 86)
- Nationality: Russian
- What Pavlov was known for: Practically everyone has heard of Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov wasn’t technically a psychologist, but he made one of the most important discoveries in the field, and had a major hand in establishing psychology as an area of study. Pavlov is the one who recognized that responses to stimuli could be learned, based on his studies of dogs.
Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin. -Ivan Pavlov
- Full name: John Broadus Watson
- Born: January 9, 1878
- Died: September 25, 1958 (aged 80)
- Nationality: American
- What Watson was known for: When Pavlov jump-started the field of psychology by recognizing the role of learned responses, he also kicked off behaviorism. Watson was the first behaviorist, arguing that psychologists can only base their theories on observation, and utilizing the study of animals in order to draw conclusions regarding human behavior.
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select–doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and, yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years. -John B. Watson
- Full name: Burrhus Frederic “B. F.” Skinner
- Born: March 20, 1904
- Died: August 18, 1990 (aged 86)
- Nationality: American
- What Skinner was known for: Another behaviorist, Skinner’s theories of operant conditioning and reinforcement have had a lasting impact on psychology. Any time you read or hear about the use of reward and punishment, you are seeing the effects of Skinner’s theories.
I did not direct my life. I didn’t design it. I never made decisions. Things always came up and made them for me. That’s what life is. -B.F. Skinner
- Full name: Sigismund Schlomo Freud
- Born: 6 May 1856
- Died: 23 September 1939 (aged 83)
- Nationality: Austrian
- What Sigmund Freud was known for: What list of psychologists would be complete without Sigmund Freud’s name? Freud may be somewhat mocked today for his apparent preoccupation with sex, but his theories of psychoanalysis were extremely influential on the field.
A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist. -Sigmund Freud
- Full name: Carl Gustav Jung
- Born: 26 July 1875
- Died: 6 June 1961 (aged 85)
- Nationality: Swiss
- Awards: Zurich’s literature prize (1932), elected honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in England (1938)
- What Jung was known for: Jung is another of the influential early psychologists. He worked with and was influenced by Freud, but eventually developed theories of his own. For instance, he rejected Freud’s focus on sex in favor of symbol and what he called the collective unconscious. His theories also led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. -Carl Jung