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A History of Psychology

Third Edition

John G. Benjafield

Publication Date - June 2010

ISBN: 9780195430219

520 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $127.95


Engaging and accessible, this new edition of A History of Psychology chronicles the study of the human mind from ancient times to the present day. Providing a comprehensive introduction to the field, author John Benjafield covers the fascinating history of psychology while also exploring how thinkers and eras are linked to one another. Through precise and clear language, Benjafield chronicles the contributions of scores of psychological thinkers and psychologists-from Pythagoras, Lao-tzu, and Aristotle, to Darwin, Abraham Maslow, B.F. Skinner, and Herbert Simon. The third edition of this acclaimed text integrates the latest scholarship and delivers an up-to-date survey of the theorists whose ideas have shaped, and continue to shape, the study and practice of psychology.


  • Accessible. Written in an engaging style, the text draws students into the study of the history of psychology and encourages them to reflect upon the discipline.
  • Current. Updated references in every chapter expose students to multiple viewpoints while providing a starting point for further research.
  • Canadian. Includes coverage of prominent Canadian psychologists and Canada's historical contributions to the discipline, ensuring student awareness of this country's role in the history of psychology.
  • Important historical connections. The chronological organization highlights links between psychological thinkers and psychologists, their works, and the social factors that influenced their ideas helping students understand how theories emerged and evolved.
  • Fascinating examples. Revised figures and tables provide students with over 100 interesting examples, including the Golden Section, the Scale of Nature, Pavlov's experimental apparatus, the visual cliff, Darwin's finches, and the latest data on the divisions of the American Psychological Association.

About the Author(s)

John G. Benjafield is Professor Emeritus from Brock University, where he taught cognition and the history of psychology for over thirty years. Benjafield received his Ph.D. in psychology from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA, and is currently a fellow of both the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. His extensive curriculum vitae includes writing both Cognition and A History of Psychology for Oxford.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 2004
January 1996

Table of Contents

    1. Psychology and History
    Studying the History of Psychology
    The New History of Psychology
    Person or Zeitgeist?
    Ixion's Wheel or Jacob's Ladder?
    The New History of Science
    Feminism and the Psychology of Women
    Psychology as a Social Construction
    Psychological Research as a Social Construction
    Reconciling the 'Old' and 'New' Histories of Psychology
    2. Touchstones: The Origins of Psychological Thought
    Pythagoras (570-495 BCE)
    Pythagorean Cosmology
    The Pythagorean Opposites
    Pythagorean Mathematics
    Plato (427-347 BCE)
    Pythagoras, Plato, and the Problem of the Irrational
    The Forms
    Lao-tsu (sixth century BCE)
    The Tension between Confucianism and Taoism
    What is Tao?
    The Book of Changes
    Aristotle (384-323 BCE)
    Aristotle's Differences with Plato
    The Nature of Human Action
    The Scala Naturae
    St Thomas Aquinas and the Medieval View of the Universe
    3. Touchstones: From Descartes to Darwin
    Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
    The Body as a Machine
    Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
    The Laws of Motion
    Can Newton's Laws Be Generalized to Psychology?
    The Nature of Colour
    The British Empiricists: John Locke (1602-1704), George Berkeley (1685-1753), and David Hume (1711-1776)
    John Locke
    George Berkeley
    David Hume
    James Mill (1773-1836) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
    Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
    Universal Education
    The Importance of Emotion
    The Utopian Tradition in Psychology
    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    Kant's 'Second Copernican Revolution'
    Can Psychology Be a Science like Other Sciences?
    Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
    The Voyage of The Beagle
    The Development of the Theory of Evolution
    Darwin and Psychology
    4. The Nineteenth-Century Transformation of Psychology
    J.F. Herbart (1776-1841)
    Herbart's Influence on Educational Psychology
    G.T. Fechner (1801-1887)
    Experimental Aesthetics
    Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1884)
    Helmholtz and the Nature of Perception
    Ewald Hering (1834-1918)
    Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930)
    The Localization-of-Function Controversy
    The Study of Brain Injuries
    Francis Galton (1822-1911)
    Hereditary Genius
    Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
    Social Darwinism
    5. Wundt and His Contemporaries
    Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)
    Investigations in the Laboratory
    Psychophysical Parallelism
    Cultural Psychology
    Wundt's Influence
    Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909)
    The Experimental Study of Learning and Remembering
    Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930) and the Invention of 'Paired Associates'
    Franz Brentano (1838-1917)
    The Wurzburg School
    6. William James
    The Principles of Psychology
    The Methods and Snares of Psychology
    The Stream of Thought
    The Consciousness of Self
    Attention and Memory
    The Emotions
    Other Topics
    7. Freud and Jung
    The Unconscious
    Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
    The Project for a Scientific Psychology
    The Interpretation of Dreams
    The Development of the Personality
    The Structure of the Personality
    Religion and Culture
    Freud's Death
    Freud and America
    Freud's Critics within Psychoanalysis
    Freud and Women
    Anna Freud (1895-1982)
    Karen Horney (1885-1952) and the Psychology of Women
    C.G. Jung (1875-1961)
    Jung's Relationship with Freud
    Analytical Psychology
    8. Structure or Function?
    Edward B. Titchener (1867-1927)
    Titchener's Experimental Psychology
    Titchener and the Imageless-Thought Controversy
    Titchener and the Dimensions of Consciousness
    Titchener's Influence
    John Dewey (1859-1952)
    Critique of the Reflex Arc Concept
    Dewey's Influence on Educational Practice
    James R. Angell (1869-1949)
    Robert S. Woodworth (1869-1962)
    The S-O-R Framework
    Intelligence Testing
    James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944)
    Alfred Binet (1857-1911)
    Intelligence Testing in the United States Army
    What Is 'Intelligence', Anyway?
    Psychology in Business
    Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915)
    Elton Mayo (1880-1949)
    Comparative Psychology
    Edward L. Thorndike (1874-1949)
    Learning as the Formation of Connections
    9. Behaviourism
    Ivan P. Pavlov (1849-1936)
    Conditioned Reflexes
    Temperaments and Psychopathology
    Vivisection and Anti-vivisectionism
    Vladimir M. Bekhterev (1857-1827)
    John B. Watson (1878-1958)
    Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It
    Watson's Psychology
    Emotional, Manual, and Verbal Habits
    Watson and Rosalie Rayner
    Watson's Second Career in Advertising
    Karl S. Lashley (1890-1958)
    Cortical Localization of Function
    The Problem of Serial Order in Behaviour
    B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)
    The Nature of Behaviourism
    Skinner's Radical Behaviourism
    The Behavior of Organisms
    A Case History of Scientific Method
    The 'Baby Tender'
    Teaching Machines
    Skinner's Utopian and Dystopian Views
    10. Gestalt Psychology and the Social Field
    Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)
    Phi Phenomenon
    The Minimum Principle
    Precursors of Gestalt Psychology
    The Laws of Perceptual Organization
    Productive Thinking
    Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967)
    The Mentality of Apes
    The Concept of Isomorphism
    Kurt Koffka (1886-1941)
    Principles of Gestalt Psychology
    The Growth of the Mind
    Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) and the Emergence of Social Psychology
    The Zeigarnik Effect
    Group Dynamics
    Fritz Heider (1896-1988)
    Leon Festinger (1919-1989)
    Cognitive Dissonance
    Solomon Asch (1907-1996)
    Forming Impressions of Personality
    Stanley Milgram (1933-1984)
    Studies of Obedience
    The Small-World Phenomenon
    Kurt Goldstein (1878-1965)
    Organismic Theory
    The Abstract Attitude
    11. Research Methods
    Philosophy of Science
    Logical Positivism
    Where Did Psychologists Stand?
    Criticisms of Operationism
    Experimental Methods
    Statistical Inference
    R.A. Fisher (1890-1962)
    Fisher's Approach to Designing Experiments
    The Null Hypothesis
    Correlational Methods
    Charles Spearman (1863-1945)
    Cyril Burt (1883-1971)
    The Burt Scandal
    Louis Leon Thurstone (1887-1955)
    Lee J. Cronbach (1916-2001) and 'The Two Disciplines of Scientific Psychology'
    Qualitative Research Methods
    12. Theories of Learning
    Ernest R. Hilgard (1904- 2001)
    E.R. Guthrie (1886-1959)
    One-Trial Learning
    Clark L. Hull (1884-1952)
    The Formal Structure of Hullian Theory
    The Hypothetico-Deductive Method
    Kenneth W. Spence (1907-1967)
    Charles E. Osgood (1916-1991)
    The Semantic Differential
    E.C. Tolman (1886-1959)
    Purposive Behaviour
    Cognitive Maps
    The Place-versus-Response Controversy
    The Verbal Learning Tradition
    Functionalism and Verbal Learning
    Serial Learning
    The Fate of Verbal Learning
    D.O. Hebb (1904-1985)
    The Emergence of Neuroscience
    The Organization of Behaviour
    Experiments in Sensory Deprivation
    Albert Bandura (1925-)
    Social Learning Theory
    Behavior Modification
    Reciprocal Determinism
    13. The Developmental Point of View
    G. Stanley Hall (1884-1924)
    The Theory of Recapitulation
    Hall's Life and Career
    Hall's Recapitulationism
    James Mark Baldwin (1861-1934)
    Psychology of Mental Development
    Heinz Werner (1890-1964)
    The Comparative Psychology of Mental Development
    Uniformity versus Multiformity
    Continuity versus Discontinuity
    Unilinearity versus Multilinearity
    Fixity versus Mobility
    Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Barbel Inhelder (1913-1997)
    Genetic Epistemology
    The Development of Intelligence
    Piaget's Clinical Method
    Stages in the Development of Intelligence
    Piaget as a Structuralist
    Can Development Ever End?
    L.S. Vygotsky (1896-1934)
    Thought and Language
    The Zone of Proximal Development
    Erik H. Erikson (1902-1994)
    Lifespan Developmental Psychology
    The Eight Stages
    Eleanor J. Gibson (1910-2002)
    Perceptual Learning
    The Visual Cliff
    Eleanor Gibson on the Future of Psychology
    14. Humanistic Psychology
    Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
    Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
    Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966)
    The Emergence of Humanistic Psychology
    Charlotte Malachowski B?hler (1893-1974)
    Rollo May (1909-1994)
    Abraham H. Maslow (1908-1970)
    The Hierarchy of Needs
    The Self-actualizing Person
    Peak Experiences
    The Psychology of Science
    Carl R. Rogers (1902-1987)
    Client-Centred Therapy
    Eugene T. Gendlin
    Encounter Groups
    What Happened to Humanistic Psychology?
    George A. Kelly (1905-1967)
    The Psychology of Personal Constructs
    The Repertory Test
    Research in Personal-Construct Theory
    15. Cognitive Psychology
    The Concept of 'Information'
    Noam Chomsky (1928- )
    Syntactic Structures
    Cartesian Linguistics
    George A. Miller (1920- )
    The Magical Number Seven
    Plans and the Structure of Behaviour
    Subjective Behaviourism
    Giving Psychology Away
    Jerome S. Bruner (1915- )
    The New Look in Perception
    A Study of Thinking
    Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969)
    Ulric Neisser (1928-)
    Cognitive Psychology
    James J. Gibson (1904-1979)
    Cognition and Reality
    Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001)
    Spurious Correlation and the Nature of Causality
    Computer Simulation
    Criticisms of Computer Simulation
    Amos Tversky (1937-1996) and Daniel Kahneman (1934- )
    Heuristics and Biases
    Do Statistics Courses Help?
    16. The Future of Psychology
    Does Psychology Have Paradigms?
    Why Have So Many Psychologists Found the Paradigm Concept Congenial?
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
    Psychology, Modernism, and Postmodernism
    The Differentiation of Psychology
    The Future of the History of Psychology
    Psychology as a Global Endeavour