Plato: (428/427-348/347 BC): Plato was one of Greece’s early philosophical thinkers. Plato insisted that the human mind was the base of all mental processes, and believe that ideas are innate to the human mind. That we are born with certain knowledge and thoughts.
Aristotle (384-322 BC): Aristotle argued against Plato and debated that the heart was the base of all mental processes. Aristotle also denied Plato’s theory of innate ideas.
John Locke (1632-1704): Locke made waves in psychology by rejecting his predecessor, Rene Descartes’, theory of innate ideas, and is best known for his description of the human mind as a “blank slate” at birth.
Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795-1878): Weber was one of the earliest researchers into the field of human responses to physical stimuli. He approached his research in a quantitative fashion, and ended up formulating what was later called “Weber’s Law.” Weber’s Law is an attempt at describing the relationship between the physical magnitude of stimuli and the perceived intensity of stimuli. His work was given a great deal of attention by Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887) as he offered an interpretation of “Weber’s Law.”
Charles Darwin (1809-1882): Perhaps best known for his work on the evolutionary theory. After expeditions and journals of his observations, Darwin documented his theory of natural selection in his book On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s work led to a great deal of further study on evolution in many different fields, including psychology.
Wilhelm Wundt (1832- 1920): Wundt established the first psychology laboratory in Liepzig, Germany in 1879. One of his student’s, one G. Stanley Hall, would later (1883) open a psychology laboratory at John Hopkins University.
Carl Wernicke (1848-1905): Wernicke is known for his discovery of an “Wernicke’s area” an area in the left temporal lobe of the brain that causes disruptions in ability to comprehend or produce spoken or written language when damaged. Wenicke is also known for a model he created of language.
Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936): Pavlov’s most notable psychological work deals with his contributions to the conditioning of dogs which led to “classical conditioning,” a principle widely used in psychology and education today. Pavlov also worked in the field of medicine conducting experiments on digestion which won him a Nobel Prize in 1904. He also worked with reflexes and temperament types. Pavlovs work was carried on by such famous psychologists as B.F Skinner, and by Philosopher Carl Jung.
John Dewey (1859-1952): Dewey was one of the founders of the school of Functionalism, one of psychology’s earliest schools. Dewey studied the relationship between learning and the environment and the society which the learners are from. He advocated that learning was not a static process and that learning begets learning, that society had to keep learning.
Edward Thorndike (1874-1949): Thorndike formulated the “Law of Effect” that states that responses to stimuli that produce pleasant effects are more likely to occur again in a similar situation. The reverse is also true, that responses to stimuli that produce negative effects are more likely not to happen again in a similar situation. In his research to reach this theory, Edward Thorndike worked a great deal with animals and is widely known for it and the “Law of Effect.”
John Watson (1878-1958): Watson was the founder of the well known school of psychology of Behaviorism. Watson is best known for his work with on conditioning with children. His work was backed up by B.F Skinner, another Behaviorist who studied conditioning in animals.
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934): A popular psychology, especially among educational studies. Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, studied development of thought and explained this using a socio-cultural approach.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980): Developed the stages of cognitive development, a break down by stages the development of cognition from infancy through adolescence. Piaget’s theory is widely used in education and child development, as well as psychology, today.
B.F Skinner (1904-1990): B.F Skinner is one of behaviorism’s biggest contributors and advocates. Skinner built on the work of Ivan Pavlov during his work with operant conditioning of animals. Skinner documented his research in his book The Behavior of Organisms in 1938. Skinner’s giant contribution to the principles of conditioning are still widely used today.
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970): Maslow was one of the hard hitters and lead advocates of the humanistic psychology movement. Maslow arranged human needs into a ladder placing basic needs at the bottom and higher goals and needs on the upper rungs. The idea behind the ladder was that before humans can achieve their higher goals they must meet their most basic needs.