Who Is the Father of Psychology?

Question: Who Is the Father of Psychology?

Who is considered the “Father of Psychology”? This question does not necessarily have a cut-and-dry answer since many individuals have contributed to the inception, rise and evolution of modern day psychology. We’ll take a closer look at single individual who is most often cited as well as other individuals who are also considered fathers of psychology.


The Father of Modern Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt is the man most commonly identified as the father of psychology. Why Wundt? Other people such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Gustav Fechner and ErnstWeber were involved in early scientific psychology research, so why are they not credited as father of psychology?

Because Wundt’s formation of the world’s first experimental psychology lab is usually noted at the official start of psychology as a separate and distinct science. By establishing a lab that utilized scientific methods to study the human mind and behavior, Wundt took psychology from a mixture of philosophy and biology and made it a unique field of study.

In addition to making psychology a separate science, Wundt also had a number of students who went to become influential psychologists themselves. Edward B. Titchener was responsible for establishing the school of thought known as structuralism, James McKeen Cattell became the first professor of psychology in the United States and G. Stanley Hall established the first experimental psychology lab in the U.S.

Other Thinkers Also Considered “Fathers of Psychology”

A number of other influential thinkers can also claim to be “Fathers of Psychology” in some way or another. The following are just a few of these individuals who are noted in specific areas of psychology:

  • William James: The Father of American Psychology; he helped establish psychology in the U.S. and his book, The Principles of Psychology, became an instant classic.

  • Sigmund Freud: The Father of Psychoanalysis; his theories and work established psychoanalysis as a major school of thought in psychology.

  • Hugo Münsterberg: The Father of Applied Psychology; he was an early pioneer of several applied areas including clinical, forensic and industrial-organizational psychology.

  • John Bowlby: The Father of Attachment Theory; he developed the theory of attachment.

  • Kurt Lewin: The Father of Social Psychology; his work pioneered the use of scientific methods to study social behavior.

  • Edward Thorndike: The Father of Modern Educational Psychology; his research on the learning process helped establish the foundation for educational psychology.

  • Jean Piaget: The Father of Developmental Psychology; his theory of cognitive development revolutionized how research thought about children’s intellectual growth.

  • Ulric Neisser: The Father of Modern Cognitive Psychology; the cognitive movement in psychology received a major boost from the publication of his 1967 book, Cognitive Psychology.

  • Lightner Witmer: The Father of Modern Clinical Psychology; he founded the world’s first journal devoted to clinical psychology, The Psychological Clinic, in 1907.

  • Gordon Allport: The Father of Personality Psychology; he was one of the first psychologists to study personality.

Obviously, not everyone is going to agree with these generalized titles. A few people might suggest that Freud is the father of psychology, since he is perhaps one of its most “known” figures. Others might suggest that Aristotle is the true father of psychology, since he is responsible for the theoretical and philosophical framework that contributed to psychology’s earliest beginnings. Still others might argue that those earliest researchers such as Helmholtz and Fechner deserve credit as the founders of psychology.

No matter which side of the argument you are on, one thing that is easy to agree on is that all of these individuals had an important influence on the growth and development of psychology. While the theories of each individual are not necessarily as influential today, all of these psychologists were important in their own time and had a major impact on how psychology evolved into what it is today.

A simple rule in dealing with thosewho are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view.
Alfred Adler (via psych-quotes)

What is Amygdala?

The amygdala is a structure in the limbic system that is linked to emotions and aggression. The amygdala functions to control fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the forumation of emotional memories.

The amygdala is a small, almond shaped mass of nuclei located in the temporal lobes of the brain near the hippocampus.

Psychology Experiment Ideas

Do you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment? Coming up with a good topic and experiment idea is often the most daunting part of the process, but here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Think about things that interest you. Are there any topics in particular that grab your interest? Spend some time considering your options, and then make a list of questions that you have about the topic. Any of these questions could potentially serve as a potential experiment idea.

  • Consult your textbook for ideas. Browse through some of the experiments discussed in your book and then think of how you might devise an experiment related to some of the questions asked in your textbook.

  • Brainstorm with classmates. Get a group together to come up with a list of interesting ideas, subjects or questions. Use the information you gathered during your brainstorming session to serve as a basis for your experiment topic.

Finally, be sure to check out some of our psychology experiment ideas. Most of these can be performed easily at home or at school, but always discuss your experiment with your instructor before you begin.

Theories of Love

Psychologists and researchers have proposed a number of different theories of love. Love is a basic human emotion, but understanding how and why it happens is not necessarily easy. In fact, for a long time, many people suggested that love was simply something that science couldn’t understand.

The following are four of the major theories proposed to explain liking, love, and emotional attachment.

Liking vs. Loving

Psychologist Zick Rubin proposed that romantic love is made up of three elements: attachment, caring and intimacy. Attachment is the need to receive care, approval and physical contact with the other person. Caring involves valuing the other persons needs and happiness as much as your own. Intimacy refers to the sharing of thoughts, desires, and feelings with the other person.

Based upon this definition, Rubin devised a questionnaire to assess attitudes about others and found that these scales of liking and loving provided support for his conception of love. Learn more about Rubin’s Scales of Liking and Loving.

Compassionate vs. Passionate Love

According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.

Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months.

Hatfield also suggests that passionate love arises when cultural expectations encourage falling in love, when the person meets your preconceived ideas of an ideal love, and when you experience heightened physiological arousal in the presence of the other person.

Ideally, passionate love then leads to compassionate love, which is far more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield believes that this is rare.

The Color Wheel Model of Love

In his 1973 book The Colors of Love, John Lee compared styles of love to the color wheel. Just as there are three primary colors, Lee suggested that there are three primary styles of love. These three styles of love are: (1) Eros, (2) Ludos and (3) Storge.

Continuing the color wheel analogy, Lee proposed that just as the primary colors can be combined to create complementary colors, these three primary styles of love could be combined to create nine different secondary love styles. For example, a combination of Eros and Ludos results in Mania, or obsessive love.

Lee’s 6 Styles of Loving

  • Three primary styles:
    1. Eros – Loving an ideal person
    2. Ludos – Love as a game
    3. Storge – Love as friendship

  • Three secondary styles:
    1. Mania (Eros + Ludos) – Obsessive love
    2. Pragma (Ludos + Storge) – Realistic and practical love
    3. Agape (Eros + Storge) – Selfless love 

Triangular Theory of Love

Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed a triangular theory of love that suggests that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love.

According to Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring that those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term consummate love to describe a combination of intimacy, passion and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare.

How to Take Psychology Notes

Good note-taking skills are important if you want to do well in your psychology courses. While your professor may assign a variety of required and supplementary readings, you should assume that at least half of all exam questions will be pulled directly from content covered in class lectures and discussions. As one of my own psychology professors once declared, “If I talk about it in class, just assume that it will be on the exam.”


The following are just a few tips for taking great psychology notes. It may take some time, but you can make these strategies part of your regular academic habits with just a little effort.


1. Be Well-Prepared for Class

In order to get the most out of class discussions and lectures, it is absolutely essential to go to class prepared. Before a class session, read all of the assigned materials. Make notes of important concepts from the chapters and write down any questions you may have about the readings. In many cases, you will be able to answer these questions yourself after the lecture, but you can also ask your instructor for further clarification if you are still confused by particular concepts.


2. Bring the Tools and Supplies You Need

Part of being prepared to take notes involves assembling the tools you need before you arrive in class each day. Basic supplies such as pens, pencils and paper are essential. Decide how you want to organize your notes. Use a basic three-ring binder with loose-leaf paper or get a separate notebook for each of your classes.


Some students prefer to take notes using a laptop or netbook, while other prefer to record lectures and transcribe their notes after class. While technology can be a valuable tool, don’t let your notes fall victim to data loss. Back up your data every day so that you always have a saved record of all your psychology notes. If you decide to record a lecture, remember to always get permission from your instructor first.


3. Follow the Instructors Directions

In some cases, your class instructor may require a specific format for your psychology notes. Some professors ask students to turn in their notes periodically. If your instructor does require a specific format, be sure to follow his or her guidelines.


4. Always Write Down Key Points

When taking psychology notes, it is important to remember that you do not need to write down every single thing that the instructor says. Instead, focus on making a record of the main points. You should also write down key terms and any questions or concepts that you are still struggling with.


Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if something is important, so if you are in doubt, write it down. As you become more experienced at taking psychology notes, it will be easier to determine what information is “note worthy.” One important thing to remember - if your professor writes something down on the board or shows it on an overhead projector, you should definitely write it down.


5. Keep Your Notes in Sequential Order

As you begin to collect more psychology notes, it is important to make sure that you keep your notes in order. By studying your notes in the order they were given, it will be easier to connect related concepts. In some cases, the exam may even follow the same basic order as your class notes. Perhaps the easiest way to keep your notes in order to to write down the date of every course lecture at the top of your notes.


6. Ask Questions

Sometimes, students fail to ask questions during class because they are afraid that they will look stupid. Don’t be nervous about asking questions! There’s nothing wrong with being confused or uncertain about different concepts. In fact, many of your classmates probably have the exact same questions, but are just unsure about asking them. Posing questions about the class lecture is also a great way to show your instructor that you are actively engaged in the discussion.


7. Try to Take Neat, Legible and Accurate Notes

Even if you have sloppy handwriting, invest a little extra effort in making sure that your notes are legible. Leave plenty of space in your notes so that the writing is not cramped. Try to break up the material into a basic outline, highlighting the main points and including supplementary notes to help deepen your understanding of the concepts you are learning about. Most importantly, strive for complete accuracy in your notes. If the information in your notes is inaccurate, then your understanding of the concepts will also be faulty.


8. Use a Highlighter

After you have compiled your psychology notes, use a highlighter marker or pen to emphasize only the most important points. This might include main ideas, definitions or anything that your instructor placed special emphasis on during the lecture.


9. Review Your Notes After Every Class

Don’t wait until the night before the big exam to break out your notes and start studying. Instead, spend at least five to ten minutes after every class going over your notes. This will help cement the information in your memory and ensure that you are well prepared for the next class lecture.


10. Don’t Be Afraid to Personalize Your Note-Taking Habits

Each student is unique, which is why it is so important to find the note-taking style that works best for your unique needs. As you gain more experience taking psychology notes, focus on discovering the strategies that help you learn effectively.