Throughout psychology's relatively brief history, there have been many famous psychologists who have left their mark both on psychology and on the world at large. While some of these individuals do not necessarily fit today's definition of a 'psychologist', a term which indicates a doctoral-level degree in psychology, their influence on psychology is without question. Learn more about psychologists by browsing through this list of some of the most famous thinkers in psychology history.
Alfred Adler is known as one of the most influential thinkers in psychology. While he was initially a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, Adler eventually departed from Freud's theories and developed his own perspective, which he called Individual Psychology. He had a strong influence on a number of other eminent psychologists, including Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Karen Horney
Mary Ainsworth was a psychologist best known for her research on attachment theory
and the development of the "strange situation" assessment
. Her work played an important role in our understanding of child development and has influenced other fields including education.
Gordon Allport was a psychologist perhaps best-known as one of the founding figures of personality psychology. He also developed a trait theory of personality that described three broad categories of personality traits.
Albert Bandura is a psychologist known for his famous "Bobo doll" experiment as well as his concepts of self-efficacy
and social learning
. Bandura’s work is considered part of the cognitive revolution in psychology that began in the late 1960s. His theories have had tremendous impact on personality psychology, cognitive psychology, education, and therapy.
Alfred Binet was a French psychologist famous for his development of the first widely used intelligence test
. He is often described as one of the most influential thinkers in psychology history and his original test still serves as the basis for modern measures of intelligence.
Mary Whiton Calkins was the first female president of the American Psychological Association. She studied at Harvard with famous teachers including William James and Hugo Munsterberg. Despite completing all of the requirements for a doctorate degree in psychology, Harvard refused to grant her degree simply because she was a woman.
Image courtesy Library of Congress
James McKeen Cattell was the first U.S. psychology professor. He is an important figure in psychology thanks to his work in intelligence, his use of quantitative methods and his focus on establishing psychology as a legitimate science.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Raymond Cattell was a pioneering thinker who is perhaps best known for his use of multivariate analysis and his 16-factor personality model.
Mamie Phipps Clark was a pioneering psychologist known for her important research on child development and self-concept among minorities. As the first black woman to graduate from Columbia University, she faced discrimination because of her race and her gender. Her research with her husband, Kenneth Clark, played a major role in the Supreme Court's decision in the pivotal Brown vs. Board of Education case.