Timeline of Psychology (03:02)
See a timeline of important names, theories, and areas of psychology from history.
Defining Psychology (01:04)
Psychology has origins in philosophy, constructed around finding the mind. The psyche still remains a mystery. Culture plays a critical role in constructing meaning.
Primitive Thinkers (02:38)
Early humans invented fables, mythologies, and religions that embodied their existence. Rulers provided basic necessities, while shamans provided emotional and mental security. Psychology experts discuss the role of superstition in interpreting natural and personal events. View a metaphysics definition.
Early Eastern Philosophy (01:47)
Six centuries before Christ, a wave of consciousness swept the planet. Hear how Chinese and Indian philosophers foreshadowed modern psychology concepts, including Confucius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Gautama Buddha. Shared emotions build community, rather than religion.
Classical Thinkers (04:08)
Greek philosophers developed an epistemology to answer fundamental questions about the nature of life, existence of a supreme being, and man's essential qualities. Learn about early contributions to psychology by Socrates, Plato, Hippocrates, and Aristotle— including empiricism.
Mystical Thinkers (04:45)
Jesus of Nazareth brought closure to the duality of spirit and matter through concepts of God and afterlife. St. Augustine distinguished sense perception from event interpretation and justified psychology as a science. Persian physician Avicenna described mental senses correlating with the body. St. Thomas Aquinas distinguished between general and special revelations.
Renaissance Thinkers (04:23)
The printing press made knowledge widely available. Johann Weyer diagnosed witches as mentally ill and used therapeutic relationships for treatment. Rudolph Goclenius invented the terms psychology and ontology, raising questions of existence and perception. Therapy works with individual constructions of the world.
Enlightenment Thinkers (05:33)
Rene Descartes saw mind and body as separate entities while Baruch Spinoza believed human nature was determined. John Locke argued that the mind is initially a blank slate and formalized empiricism. David Hume saw the self as derived from mental impressions. Resisting atheism, George Berkeley asserted that things exist through God's perception. Immanuel Kant distinguished "a priori" from "a posteriori" knowledge. Franz Anton Mesmer claimed to treat ailments by channeling animal magnetism.
Humanist Thinkers (04:41)
Philippe Pinel founded a mental hospital and discontinued inhumane physical treatments such as trephination. Benjamin Rush developed the tranquilizer chair and recognized substance addiction as a mental disease. Franz Joseph Gall theorized that skull shape determined personality.
Scientific Thinkers (01:12)
Weber and Fechner sought to discover the exact mathematical relationship between body and mind—a precursor to experimental psychology. Herbert Spencer established psychology as a bridge between sociology and biology and is considered the father of Social Darwinism.
Credits: Mind, Self, and Soul: Part 1—History of Psychology (00:33)
Credits: Mind, Self, and Soul: Part 1—History of Psychology
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