father of psychology

5 Founders: Father of Psychology

father of psychology

5 Founding Fathers of Psychology

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Carl Jung
  • William James
  • Ivan Pavlov
  • Alfred Adler

Who founded psychology? Whether you build a career in it, major in it, or just walk around being an average human, psychology is a huge part of your life every single day. Psychology is the study of the mind and all of its infinite functions. Having a basic understanding of psychology helps us be our best selves and relate most effectively with others. Here is an introduction to five of the founders of psychology.

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Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Dr. Sigmund Freud was known for his work in human physiology. He is famous in the field of physiological psychology. He probably thought of himself as the original Founding Father of Psychology, and many other people would agree. His is a name that most people have at least heard once or twice before ever stumbling into their first introduction to psychology course. He actually began his career as a biologist and physiologist in Vienna. He was one of the first documented scientists to manifest his intense curiosity for the human mind and the observable behaviors it produces. His approach to psychology was deep with frequent analysis of people’s past traumas. He then connected these experiences with present problematic behaviors. He then assisted patients in resolving said traumas to eliminate said behavioral responses.

Carl Jung

Another founder of psychology, doctor Carl Jung was a student, turned colleague, turned competitor of Sigmund Freud. Jung was just as interested as Freud in the influence human subconscious and unconscious processes on observable behaviors. However, Jung branched out into what he termed the collective unconscious. His psychological research focused less on a deep dive into an individual’s past and more on the invisible connections between all people and the universe as a whole. He believed that we are all striving for individuation within this collective system. He also believed we are striving for the ability to use both our conscious and unconscious minds.

William James

Who is generally regarded as the father of American psychology? American psychologist Dr. William James is best known for two contributions to the field of psychology. William James, pioneer of psychology, pioneered the focus of psychology to include emotions as well as thoughts and behaviors. He conceptualized emotion as a secondary reaction to our physiological reactions to various stimuli. While modern researchers have since discovered that this is true only some of the time, this theory was revolutionary for James’s time. Second, James was an American. He was the first person to bring psychology to the United States through his studies and work at Harvard University in the 20th century. Who is credited with founding psychology? The answer would be William James along with Wilhelm Wundt.

Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov, quite possibly most well known for his experimental psychology salivating dog experiment, was a biologist. It is debatable whether or not Dr. Ivan Pavlov should be considered a Founding Father of Psychology because he was purely a biologist. Nevertheless, his discoveries in animal behaviorism laid a foundation for consequential work in human behaviorism. Specifically, Pavlov discovered the roles of rewards and punishments on behaviors, a concept foreign to none of us. From parenting and managing a classroom, to gambling and purchasing that tenth cup of coffee in order to earn a free one on a punch card, our society is driven by consequences. The New York Times offers an insightful account of the modern human equivalents we have become to the dogs that Pavlov studied so many years ago. Pavlov is also considered an early leader in experimental psychology.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler is vital to the development of psychology. He came along and challenged psychologists to dive deeper than ever into the emotional processes of being human. His original theory focused mainly on the need to feel desired and appreciated by others. This led him to important contributions in social interactions and the pursuit of happiness and emotional fulfillment. His goal was to help people rid themselves of insecurities in order to make room for their successes.

More Important Figures

These five gentlemen are only a handful of the intelligent and driven individuals who have shaped the history of psychology over the years. Who is considered the father of modern behaviorism? John B. Watson is considered the father of modern behaviorism. Which founding contributors to psychology helped develop behaviorism? John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, Ivan Pavlov, and Edward Thorndike helped develop behaviorism. Other notables include Edward Titchener, the German Wilhelm Wundt (dubbed the father of modern psychology), and Carl Rogers, to name but a few. Skinner was known for his use of positive and negative reinforcement. However, these Founding Fathers are dubbed so because they laid the groundwork upon which we have built what we now understand about the human mind and dynamic process through which it shapes our individual and shared experiences. The more we know about the world they created, the more we know about ourselves.

People Also Ask

Who were the three pioneers of psychology?
There are a number of important psychologists who are considered the “pioneers” of psychology, though the exact number probably depends on to whom you are speaking. Generally, Alfred Adler, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and B.F. Skinner are included on lists of those who most paved the way for modern psychologists.

Is Sigmund Freud the father of psychology?
Though Sigmund Freud is certainly one of the most famous psychologists in history, it is actually Wilhelm Wundt who is considered the “father of psychology.” Wundt established the very first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Austria, and it is because of him that we have scientific psychology. Wundt established the first experimental psychology lab in 1879. He is the reason that psychology became accepted as a scientific discipline. By creating the lab, he established psychology as a separate science. Wundt believed that was an important step in psychology.

Who is the father of behaviorism?
John B. Watson is considered the “father of behaviorism” for having founded the idea of classical behaviorism, the psychological theory that says our behavior is a conditioned response to our environment.

What is cognitive psychology?

Cognitive psychology is the study of how people think and process data. Cognitive development is a widely studied concept of which Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget made famous the cognitive stage theory.

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