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Timeline of Modern Psychology

Major Events in the History of Psychology

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timeline of modern psychology

Learn more about this history of modern psychology with this timeline of important dates and events.

Image courtesy Ayhan Yildiz

1878 - G. Stanley Hall becomes the first American to earn a Ph.D. in psychology. Hall eventually founds the American Psychological Association.

1879 Wilhelm Wundt founds the first experimental psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany. The event is considered the starting point of psychology as a separate science.

1881 --Wundt forms the professional journal Philosophische Studien (Philosophical Studies)

1883 - G. Stanley Hall opens the first experimental psychology lab in the United States at John Hopkins University.

1885 - Herman Ebbinghaus published his famous Über das Gedächtnis ("On Memory"), which was later translated to English as Memory. A Contribution to Experimental Psychology. In the work, he describes his learning and memory experiments that he conducted on himself.

1886Sigmund Freud begins providing therapy to patients in Vienna, Austria.

1888 - James McKeen Cattell becomes the first professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

1890 - James McKeen Cattell publishes Mental Tests and Measurements, marking the beginning of the practice of psychological assessment.

-William James publishes Principles of Psychology.

-Sir Francis Galton creates correlation technique to better understand relationships between variable in intelligence studies.

1892 --G. Stanley Hall forms the American Psychological Association (APA), which initially has just 42 members.

- Wundt’s student Edward B. Titchener moves to America.

1894 - Margaret Floy Washburn completes her training under Tichener.

1895 - Alfred Binet forms the first psychology lab devoted to psychodiagnosis.

1898 - Edward Thorndike develops the Law of Effect.

1900 – Sigmund Freud publishes Interpretation of Dreams.

1901 - The British Psychological Society is formed.

1905 - Mary Whiton Calkins is elected the first woman president of the American Psychological Association.

- Alfred Binet publishes the intelligence test New Methods for the Diagnosis of the Intellectual Level of Subnormals.

1906 - Ivan Pavlov publishes his findings on classical conditioning.

- Morton Prince founds the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

1907 Carl Jung publishes The Psychology of Dementia Praecox.

1909 - Calkins publishes A First Book in Psychology.

1912 - Edward Thorndike publishes Animal Intelligence. The article leads to the development of the theory of operant conditioning.

- Max Wertheimer publishes Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement, leading to the development of Gestalt Psychology.

1913 – Carl Jung begins to depart from Freudian views and develops his own theories, which are eventually known as analytical psychology.

- John B. Watson publishes Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. The work helped establish behaviorism, which viewed human behavior arising from conditioned responses.

1915 – Sigmund Freud publishes work on repression.

1917 - Then president of the APA, Robert Yerkes writes the Alpha and Beta Tests for the Army to test intelligence.

1919 - John B. Watson publishes Psychology, From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist.

1920 - Watson and Rosalie Rayner publish research the classical conditioning of fear with their subject, Little Albert.

1925 - Gestal Psychology is brought to America with the publication of Wolfgang Kohler’s Perception: An Introduction to the Gestalt Theory.

1932 - Jean Piaget becomes the foremost cognitive theorist with the publication of his work The Moral Judgment of Children.

1935 - Henry Murray publishes the Thematic Appreception Test (TAT).

1942 - Carl Rogers developed client-centered therapy and publishes Counseling and Psychotherapy. His approach encourages respect and positive regard for patients.

1952 - The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published.

1954 - Abraham Maslow publishes Motivation and Personality, describing his theory of a hierarchy of needs. He also helps found humanistic psychology.

1958 - Harry Harlow publishes The Nature of Love, which describe his experiments with rhesus monkey's on the importance of attachment and love.

1961 - Albert Bandura conducts his now famous Bobo doll experiment.

1963 - Albert Bandura first describes the concept of observational learning to explain personality development.

1974 - Stanley Milgram publishes Obedience to Authority, which presented the findings of his famous obedience experiments.

1980 - The DSM-III is published.

1990 - Noam Chomsky publishes On Nature, Use and Acquisition of Language.

1991 - Steven Pinker publishes an article in Science introducing his theory of how children acquire language, which he later details further in his book The Language Instinct.

1994 - The DSM-IV is published.

2000 - Genetic researchers finish mapping human genes. Scientists hope to one day isolate the individual genes responsible for different diseases.

2002 - Steven Pinker publishes The Blank Slate, arguing against the concept of tabula rasa.

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