Influential Psychologists

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Alfred Adler
Neo-Freudian psychologist who believed that children experience “feelings of inferiority” and also that birth order affects one’s personality.
Stanley Milgram
Social psychologist who conducts one of psychology’s most famous experiments, studying obedience to authority.
Paul Broca
Neuroscientist who has a region of the brain responsible for producing speech named after him.
lev Vygotsky
Studied the impact of culture on intellectual and language development.
Harry Harlow
Studied attachment in rhesus monkeys, and concluded that physical contact is an important aspect of parenting.
Sigmund Freud
Father of modern psychology and developer of psychoanalytic theory; considered to be the most influential psychologist of the first half of the 20th century.
Erik Erikson
Developmental psychologist that proposed the “8 stages of Psychosocial Development” tracing human development from infancy to old age.
Martin Seligman
Considered to be the found of Postive Psychology and known for his work on “learned helplessness”
William James
Early American psychologist who founded functionalism, the precursor of behaviorism and developed one of the 3 most often cited theories of emotion.
Leon Festinger
Social psychologist who developed the idea of “cognitive dissonance”, an incompatibility of one’s thoughts and behavior.
Philip Zimbardo
Social psychologist known for is work in attitude formation; conducted the famous “Stanford Prison Experiment”.
John Watson
Early American psychologist who founded behaviorism and studied classical condition.
Aaron Beck
Cognitive psychologist who studied depression and developed a scale for measuring depression.
Jean Piaget
Famous cognitive psychologist of the early 20th century who studied cognitive development in children and is famous for his stage theory of cognitive development.
Ivan Pavlov
Early psychologist who “discovered” classical conditioning whole doing work on salivation in dogs.
Albert Bandura
Social learning theorist famous for his “bobo doll experiment” and conclusions that much of learning is accomplished through observing others.
Mary Ainsworth
Followed the work of Harry Harlow, studying the attachment in children, and developed the “strange situation” experimental design; described secure and insecure attachment.
Carl Wernicke
Neuroscientist who has a region of the brain responsible for understanding language named after him.
Carl Yung
Neo-Freudian psychologist who developed the idea of archetype and the collective unconscious; famous for his work on dream interpretation as well.
Lawrence Kohlberg
Cognitive psychologist who studied how children develop morals and developed a stage theory of moral development.
B.F. Skinner
Famous behaviorist who develops operant conditioning, which elaborated on the “Law of Effect”
Elizabeth Loftus
Modern psychologist who studied long term memory, in particular the fallibility of eye witness testimony.
Abraham Maslow
Humanistic psychologist famous for his “Hierarchy of Needs” theory of motivation.
Solomon Asch
Social psychologist who studied conformity; famous for his “line length” experiment.
Noam Chomsky
Studied the development of language and believes that language development is innate and cannot be fully explained with learning theory alone.
Carl Rogers
Humanisitc psychologist famous for his “person centered theory” and “client centered therapy”.
Wilhelm Wundt
The father of psyhoclogy who developed the first psychology lab and studied the mind; developed the ideas that lead to structuralism.
Gordon Allport
Early personality theorist who developed a long lost of personality characteristics he called traits; also developed the idea of self-esteem.
Albert Ellis
Cognitive behavioral therapist who developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
Clark Hull
Early psychologist who developed “drive reduction theory” of motivation, focusing on physiological needs and drives.
Stanley Schacter
Developed the “two factor theory of emotions”, one of the most influential emotion theories; famous for his experiment with Singer.
Karen Horney
Neo-Freudian psychologist known for her feminine perspective on psychoanalytic theory and “womb envy”.
Hans Eysenck
Famous for his work on the structure of personality and his attacks on psychotherapy; also his position on genetic influence on intelligence.
Raymond Cattell
Trait theorist in personality theory who developed the “16 personality factors” and 16PF personality measurement instrument.
Hermann Ebbinghaus
Worked in the area of human memory and developed the “forgetting curve”; studied the effect of practice on memory.

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