History of Psychology Homepage

History of Psychology Timeline

In the beginning.......

700 B.C.

Psamtik I conducts the first psychological experiment in Egypt

625 – 546 B.C.

Time period of Thales, who invented the idea of Nous. He was the first Greek philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, is credited with writing a book on navigation, and is rumored to have been Anaximander’s teacher.

Circa 600 B.C.

”Discovery of mind” in various parts of the world

580 B.C.

The Greek philosopher Anaximander, a biologist, geographer, and astronomer, organizes a map of the world

550 B.C.

Pythagoras, the first pure mathematician, completes his famous theorem

535 - ~450 B.C.

The time Period of Alcmaeon, who proposed four 'powers' of the body: hot, cold, wet, and dry. Also asked the question, "Where does the nous live?"

507 B.C.

Cleisthenes makes Athens the world’s first democracy.

500 - 428 B.C.

The Time Period of the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, philosopher, mathematician and teacher of Pericles

490 - 420 B.C.

The Time Period of the Greek philosopher Protagoras, who believed that truth and knowledge are created by the mind.

469 - 399 B.C.

The Time Period of the Greek philosopher Socrates, teacher of Plato.

460 - 377 B.C.

The Time Period of Hippocrates, father of medicine, the Hippocratic oath, and the 4 "humors" (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile)

460 - 370 B.C.

The Time Period of the Greek philosopher Democritus, who came up with the concept of 'atoms.' Atoms struck the body and were translated into perception in the mind.

427 - 348 B.C.

The Time Period of the Greek philosopher Plato, teacher of Aristotle

384 - 322 B.C.


Era of the great philosopher

367 B.C.

Plato becomes the founder of the Academia

350 B.C.

Aristotle creates The Anima

341 - 270 B.C.


Time period of the philosopher Epicurus, who based his physics on the theory of a materialistic universe unregulated by divine providence and composed of indestructible atoms moving in a void. Founder of Epicureanism: "Pleasure is the beginning and the end of the blessed life"

336 - 264 B.C.

Time period of the philosopher Zeno, cofounder of stoicism (a philosophy that stated that peace could only be found through controlling ones emotions)

335 B.C.

Aristotle becomes the founder of the Lyceum

120 - 201

Time period of Galen, whose work influenced the medical community for 1500 years. Galen worked on a theory of personalities, and was the first to classify emotions.


Augustine completes Confessions


Augustine completes City of God



World's first mental hospital opens in London. It was called Bethlehem Royal Hospital, but soon became commonly known as 'Bedlam.'


St.Thomas Aquinas

Publishes his famous Summa Theologica


Francis Bacon

The Proficience and Advancement of Learning is published

1632 - 1704

Time period of John Locke, a major leader of the British empiricist tradition, and one of the most influential philosophers of post-renaissance Europe.


French philosopher Renê Descartes publishes Discourse on Method. Descartes is famous for the quote "I think, therefore I am"


René Descartes

Writes Passions of the Soul which postulates the total separation of body and soul


Thomas Hobbes

Publishes the Leviathan


An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is published by English philosopher John Locke


George Berkeley

An Essay Toward a New Theory of Vision is published


A treatise of empirical psychology is published by Christian von Wolff


A treatise of rational psychology is published by Christian von Wolff


David Hume

Publishes the famous An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding


Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers of the day, publishes Critique of Pure Reason


Johannes Müller publishes Handbüch des Physiologie des Menschen


Elements of Physiology is published by Johannes Müller


Wilhelm Wundt

Works with Hermannn von Helmholtz as his assistant


Charles Darwin

Publishes The origin of the species


Gustav Theodor Fechner publishes Elements of Psychophysics


Francis Galton

Hereditary Genius is published


The descent of man is published by Charles Darwin


Charles Darwin publishes The Expression of the Emotions in the Man and in the Animals


Wundt left Heidelberg for a better position at the University of Zurich


William James

Teaches the course The relationships among the Physiology and the Psychology

Wundt leaves Zurich and heads toward University of Leipzig


Francis Galton uses method of twin comparisons


Wilhelm Wundt establishes first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany


Francis Galton makes systematic use of questionaries


Wundt begins to publishes journal Philosophische Studien


Francis Galton publishes Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development

The first laboratory of psychology in America is established at Johns Hopkins University by G. Stanley Hall


Hermann Ebbinghaus

Ebbinghaus publishes Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology (Über das Gedächtnis)


Christine Ladd-Franklin receives an honorary LLD from Vassar, the only Vassar graduate to receive this honor


J. McKeen Cattell

Becomes America's first professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania


William James publishes Principles of Psychology

J. M. Cattel publishes Mental Tests and measurements.


The American Psychological Association is founded, having only 42 members

Ladd-Franklin develops the Ladd-Franklin theory, which stated that evolution led to an increased differentiation between color and black and white vision, and assumed a photochemical model of the visual system. This theory enjoyed widespread acceptance for many years.

Edward B. Titchener, student of Wundt, comes to the US.


Margaret Floy Washburn

Washburn completes her training under Titchener


Mary Whiton Calkins

Calkins publishes a paper in the Psychological Review extending Ebbinghaus' memory research.


Sigmund Freud

Publishes The Interpretation of Dreams

Carl G. Jung

Carl G. Jung is appointed Bleuler's assistant


Alfred Binet

Publishes New Methods for the Diagnosis of the Intellectual Level of Subnormals.

Calkins elected as the first woman president of the American Psychological Association


Ivan Pavlov

Publishes his findings regarding classical conditioning


Carl G. Jung publishes The Psychology of Dementia Praecox

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler publishes his main work: A Study of Organic Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation


Kurt Koffka

Koffka receives his doctorate under Stumpf at the University of Berlin

Alfred Binet and Theodor Simon develop tests for measurement children's intelligence

Washburn publishes, "The Animal Mind"


Wolfgang Kohler

Kohler receieves his doctorate under Stumpf at the University of Berlin

Calkins publishes an introductory psychology textbook, "A First Book in Psychology"


Max Wertheimer

Wertheimer discoveres the illusionary movement of light, and calls it the "Phi Phenomenon"

Wertheimer, Koffka and Kohler meet


E. L. Thorndike

Publishes his famous Animal Intelligence


Wertheimer publishes, "Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement." These findings marked the beginning of Gestalt Psychology


John Watson

Publishes Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It Carl G. Jung begins to depart from freudian views and develops his own theories

Kohler goes to the Canary Islands to study chimpanzees. He is stranded there until the end of World War I.


Sigmund Freud publishes the metapsychological work on repression


Washburn publishes, "Movement and Mental Imagery"


Kohler writes "The Mentality of Apes"


Calkins elected as the first woman president of the American Philosophical Association


Kohler returns to Germany

Watson is forced to leave academia. He enters the advertising business, where he applies psychological methods and principles to advertising.


Washburn elected as the second woman president of the American Psychological Association

Koffka publishes "The Growth of the Mind," which deals with child development.


Koffka introduces Gestal Psychology to America with Perception: An Introduction to the Gestalt Theory

Kohler succeeds Stumpf at the University of Berlin


Sigmund Freud publishes The Ego and the Id


E. K. Strong publishes The Psychology of Selling and Advertising

Ladd-Franklin publishes "The Nature of Color Sensation"


B. F. Skinner

Publishes his first experimental paper, On The Conditions of Eliciation of certain Eating Reflexes


Washurn becomes the first woman psychologist and second woman scientist elected to the National Academy of Sciences


Koffka publishes "Principles of Gestalt Psychology"

Kohler flees Germany, joins the faculty of Swarthmore College, and becomes the spokesman for Gestalt Psychology


B. F. Skinner uses the term operant for the first time and applies the term respondent to the pavlovian type of reflex


B. F.Skinner publishes The Behavior of the Organisms


Carl Rogers

Develops therapy centered on the patient


Abraham Maslow developes a hierarquical theory of human personality in the book Motivation and Personality


B. F. Skinner publishes Verbal behavior

Watson receives a citation from the American Psychological Association for his contributions to psychology


Kohler elected as president of the American Psychological Association


Robert Watson publishes article History of Psychology: a Neglected Area


Carl Rogers publishes On becoming a person


Abraham Maslow publishes Toward a Psychology of Being


B. F. Skinner publishes Beyond Freedom and Dignity

Information about the History of Psychology Homepage 

can be obtained from: 

Dr. Charles I. Abramson
at (405) 744-7492
via E-Mail: charles.abramson@okstate.edu

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with special thanks to Craig Satterfield and Charles Abramson.

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