Psychologists and their Contributions

Psychologists and Their Contributions

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1. Frances Galton: Maintained that personality and ability depend almost entirely on genetic

inheritance(human traits are inherited)

2. Charles Darwin: Theory of evolution, survival of the fittest-origin of the species

3. William Wundt: introspection-psychology became the scientific study of conscious experience (rather than


4. John Watson: Founder of behaviorism- Did the study of generalization

5. Little Albert: Watson’s study on the generalization of fear. Conditioning subject to be afraid

6. Alfred Adler: Neo Freudian, believed that childhood social not sexual tensions are crucial for personality


7. Carl Jung: People had conscious and unconscious awareness-two layers of unconscious archetypespersonal/


8. Gordon Allport: Three levels of traits: 1. Cardinal trait-it is the dominant trait that characterizes your life;

2.Central trait-one common to all people; 3. Secondary trait- it surfaces in some situations and not in others

9. Albert Ellis: Rational Emotive Therapy-focuses on altering client’s patterns of irrational thinking to reduce

maladaptive behaviour and emotions

10. Albert Maslow: Hierarchy of needs-Needs at the lower level dominate an individual’s motivation as long as

they are unsatisfied. Once these needs are adequately met, the higher needs occupy the individual’s


11. Carl Rogers: Humanistic psychology-the theory that emphasizes the unique quality of humans especially

their freedom and potential for personal growth.

12. B.F. Skinner: Operant conditioning-techniques to manipulate the consequences of an organism’s behaviour

in order to observe the effects of subsequent behaviour. Also Skinner Box.

13. Ivan Pavlov: Classical conditioning-An unconditional stimulus naturally elicits a reflexive behaviour called

an unconditional response. But with repeated pairings with a neutral stimulus, the neutral stimulus will elicit

the response. Dog Salivation etc.

14. Noam Chomsky: Disagreed with Skinner and said there an infinite number of sentences in a language. He

said that humans have an inborn native ability to develop language.

15. Jean Piaget: Four-stage theory of cognitive development. 1. Sensorimotor, 2. preoperational, 3. concrete

operational, 4. formal operational He said that two basic processes work in tandem to achieve cognitive

growth-assimilation & accommodation

16. Erik Erikson: People evolve through 8 stages over the life span. Each stage marked by psychological crisis

that involves confronting “who am I”

17. Lawrence Kohlberg: His theory states there are 3 levels of moral reasoning and each level can be divided

into 2 stages. 1. Pre-conventional, 2. conventional, His theory focuses on moral

reasoning rather than overt behaviour.

18. Carol Gilligan: She maintained that Kolbergs work was developed only observing boys and overlooked

potential differences between the habitual moral judgments of men and women

19. James Lange Theory: It asserts that the perception of emotion is our awareness of our physiological

response to emotion arousing stimuli. e.g. sight of coming car-pounding heart-fear

20. Cannon-Bard Theory: An emotion-arousing stimulus triggers cognitive body responses simultaneously.

E.g. arousal and emotion are simultaneous

21. Phineas Gage: First person to have a frontal lobotomy. Gave psychology information on part of the brain

that is involved with emotions reasoning etc.

22. Hans Eysenck: Personality is determined to a large extent by genes. He used the terms


23. S. Schacter: To experience emotions 1. must be physically aroused 2. must cognitively label arousal (know

the emotion before you experience it)

24. Mary Cover Jones: Systemic desensitization

25. Benjamin Whorf: His hypothesis is that language determines the way we think

26. Robert Sternberg: Triarchic theory of intelligence. 1. academic problem-solving intelligence 2. practical

intelligence 3. creative intelligence

27. Howard Gardner: Theory of multiple intelligences

28. Albert Bandura: Observational Learning-it allows you to profit immediately from the mistakes and

successes of others. His experiment had adult models punching BoBo dolls and then observed children

whom watched this exhibit many of the same behaviours.

29. E.L. Thorndike: Law of effect-(the relationship between behaviour and its consequences) the principle that

behaviour followed by favourable consequences becomes more likely. Behaviour followed by less likely

consequences becomes less likely

30. Alfred Binet: general I.Q. tests. A Frenchman designed a test that would identify slow learners in need of

remedial help. It was not that valuable in America as it was too culture bound.

31. Lewis Term an: Revised Binet’s I.Q. test and established norms for American children

32. David Weschler: he established an intelligence test especially for adults. It became the WAIS, Weschler

Intelligence Test for Adults.

33. Charles Spearman: He found that specific mental talents were highly correlated. He concluded that all

cognitive abilities showed a common core which he labeled “g”, for general ability

34. H. Rorschach: He developed one of the first projective tests, the Inkblot test. The subject reads the inkblots

and projects to the observer aspects of their personality. It uses 10 standarized inkblots

35. Philip Zimbardo: Conducted the famous Stanford Prison experiment. It was conducted to study the power

of social roles to influence people’s behaviour. It proved people’s behaviour depends to a large extent on the

roles they are asked to play.

36. David Rosenhan: He with a number of people from different walks of life conducted a hospital experiment

to test the diagnosis of hospitals make on new patients. He also wanted to see the impact on behaviour on

being a patient. He proved that once you are diagnosed with a disorder, your care would not be very good in

a mental hospital setting.

37. Simon Asch: Study on conformity. His experiment had a subject unaware of his situation, test to see if he

would conform if all the members of the group gave an incorrect answer.

38. Stanley Milgram: Conducted a study on obedience when he had a subject shock a patient to the extent that

they would be seriously injuring the patient.

39. Kurt Lewin: A German refugee who escaped Nazi oppression. He designed an experiment to investigate

the effects of different leadership styles on group functions. He wanted to find out if people were more

productive under 3 different leadership styles. 1. autocratic 2. laizssez-faire 3. democratic. This is the study

when he had the children do activities under the 3 conditions. The democratic style proved to be the most

productive as was expected.

40. Harry Harlow: Studied theory of attachment in infant Rhesus monkeys.

41. William Sheldon: The theory that linked personality to physique on the grounds that both are governed by

genetic endowment. Endomorphic- (large), Mesomorphic- (average), Ectomorphic- (skinny)

42. Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalytical theory that focuses on the unconscious- Id-Ego-Superego

43. Karen Horney: Critical of Freud’s theories. She said that personality is continually mold by current fears

and impulses, rather than being determined solely by childhood experiences and instincts.

44. Mary Cover Jones: Systemic desensitization. She maintained that fear could be unlearned. We could teach

Little Albert, to be unafraid of rabbits.

45. Martin Seligman: Learned helplessness is the giving up reaction, the quitting response that follows from

the belief that whatever you do does not matter. The woman in Schindler’s List who explains to Schindler

that no matter what she does she receives the same punishment

46. H. Ebbinghas: The first to conduct scientific studies on forgetting: first, a rapid loss followed by a gradual

declining rate of loss.

47. Hubel/Wisel: Did a study of the activities of neurons in the visual cortex.

48. Young-Helmholz-Trichromatic theory of colour vision: said 3 types of colour receptors in the eye

49. Clark Hull-Drive theory: It maintains that the goal of all motivated behaviour is the reduction or

alleviation of a drive state. It is the mechanism through which reinforcement operates.

50. Walter B. Cannon: He believed that that gastric activity in as empty stomach was the sole basis for hunger.

Did an experiment by inserting balloon in subjects stomach

51. Broca’s Area: The left frontal lobe that directs muscle movement involved in speech. He did his studies

with a subject who could only speak one word, “Tan”. The person damaged in this area has speech that

makes sense but has difficulty speaking

52. Wernicke’s Area: An area of the left temporal lobe involved language understanding. The person damaged

in this area uses correct words but they do not make sense.

53. Ernst Weber: He pioneered the first study on JND- (just noticeable difference). It became Weber’s law; the

JND between stimuli is a constant fraction of the intensity of the standard stimulus. E.g. the bigger or more

intense the standard stimulus, the larger the increment needed to get a noticeable difference. Room with 10

candles vs. one with 30 candles.

54. Fechner’s law: It states that the magnitude of a sensory experience is proportional to the number of JND’s

that the stimulus causing the experiences above absolute threshold.

55. Kubler-Ross: Her theory proposes that the terminally ill pass through a sequence of 5 stages. 1. denial, 2.

anger/resentment, 3. bargaining with God, 4. depression, 5. Acceptance

56. Robert Zajonc: Mere exposure effect It is possible to have preferences without inferences and to feel

without knowing why.

57. Henry Murray: he stated that the need to achieve varied in strength in different people and influenced their

tendency to approach success and evaluate their own performances. He devised the TAT-Thematic

Appreciation Test along with Christiana D. Morgan. Subjects are asked to generate stories in response to

ambiguous pictures. e.g. the person resting against the park bench.

58. David McClelland: He devised a way to measure H. Murray’s theory “the need to achieve that varied in

strength in different people and influenced their tendency to approach success and evaluate their own

performances”. He is credited with developing the scoring system for the TAT's use in assessing

achievement motivation, not for the TAT itself.

59. Paul Ekman: The theory that facial expressions are universal.