You Gotta Know These Psychologists

  1. Sigmund Freud (Austrian, 1856-1939) Sigmund Freud founded the extremely influential discipline of psychoanalysis, which used the technique of "free association" to identify fears and repressed memories. He argued that many problems were caused by mental states rather than by biochemical dysfunction--a purely materialist viewpoint then in vogue. He separated the psyche into the id (illogical passion), ego (rational thought), and superego (moral and social conscience). His best known works are The Interpretation of Dreams and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, though many others come up frequently in quiz bowl.

  2. Carl Jung (Austrian, 1875-1961) Carl Jung was a close associate of Freud's who split with him over the degree to which neuroses had a sexual basis. He went on to create the movement of "analytic psychology" and introduced the controversial notion of the "collective unconscious"--a socially shared area of the mind. Quiz bowlers should be familiar with "anima," "animus," "introversion," "extroversion," and "archetypes," all terms that occur frequently in questions on Jung.

  3. Alfred Adler (Austrian, 1870-1937) Alfred Adler was another close associate of Freud who split with him over Freud's insistence that sexual issues were at the root of neuroses and most psychological problems. Adler argued in The Neurotic Constitution that neuroses resulted from people's inability to achieve self-realization; in failing to achieve this sense of completeness, they developed "inferiority complexes" that inhibited their relations with successful people and dominated their relations with fellow unsuccessful people, a theory given the general name of "individual psychology."

  4. Ivan Pavlov (Russian 1849-1936) Ivan Pavlov was more of a physiologist than a psychologist, but questions about him are more often classified as "psychology" than "biology" by question writers. He is largely remembered for his idea of the "conditioned reflex," for example, the salivation of a dog at the sound of the bell that presages dinner, even though the bell itself is inedible and has no intrinsic connection with food. He won the Nobel Prize in 1904 for Physiology or Medicine for unrelated work on digestive secretions.

  5. John B. Watson (American, 1878-1958) John Watson was the first prominent exponent of behaviorism; he codified its tenets in Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology, arguing that psychology could be completely grounded in objective measurements of events and physical human reactions. His most famous experiment involved conditioning an eleven-month-old boy to be apprehensive of all furry objects by striking a loud bell whenever a furry object was placed in his lap.

  6. B. F. Skinner (American, 1904-1990) B. F. Skinner was one of the leading proponents of behaviorism in works like Walden II and Beyond Freedom and Dignity. He argued that all human actions could be understood in terms of physical stimuli and learned responses and that there was no need to study--or even believe in--internal mental states or motivations; in fact, doing so could be harmful. Guided by his ideas, he trained animals to perform complicated tasks including teaching pigeons to play table tennis.

  7. Jean Piaget (Swiss, 1896-1980) Jean Piaget is generally considered the greatest figure of 20th-century developmental psychology; he was the first to perform rigorous studies of the way in which children learn and come to understand and respond to the world around them. He is most famous for his theory of four stages of development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. His most famous works are The Language and Thought of a Child and The Origins of Intelligence in Children.

  8. Erik Erikson (German-born American, 1902-1994) Erik Erikson is best known for his theories on how social institutions reflect the universal features of psychosocial development; in particular, how different societies create different traditions and ideas to accommodate the same biological needs. He created a notable eight-stage development process and wrote several "psychohistories" explaining how people like Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi were able to think and act the way they did.

  9. Abraham Maslow (American, 1908-1970) Abraham Maslow is principally known for two works, Motivation and Personality and Toward a Psychology of Being, that introduced his theory of the "hierarchy of needs" (food, shelter, love, esteem, etc.) and its pinnacle, the need for "self-actualization." Self-actualized people are those who understand their individual needs and abilities and who have families, friends, and colleagues that support them and allow them to accomplish things on which they place value. The lowest unmet need on the hierarchy tends to dominate conscious thought.

  10. Stanley Milgram (American, 1933-1984) Though he did the work that created the idea of "six degrees of separation" and the "lost-letter" technique, he is mainly remembered for his experiments on "obedience to authority" that he performed at Yale in 1961-1962. Milgram found that two-thirds of his subjects were willing to administer terrible electric shocks to innocent, protesting human beings simply because a researcher told them the experimental protocol demanded it.

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