Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. Its
roots lie in philosophy and science, but it has
developed over the year...
“When the
mind is
thinking it is
talking to
itself”
Plato suggested that the brain is the
mechanism of mental processes
Franz Mesmer detailed his cure for
some mental illness, originally called
mesmerism and now known
as hypnosis
Philippe Pinel released the first mental
patients from confinement in the first
massive movement for more humane
treatment...
Franz Gall wrote about phrenology (the
idea that a person's skull shape and
placement of bumps on the head can
reveal pers...
Phineas Gage survives significant
injuries when a tamping iron is driven
through his head although he
experiences signific...
Charles Darwin published the On the
Origin of Species, detailing his view of
evolution and expanding on the theory
of 'Sur...
Sir Francis Galton’s classic, Hereditary
Genius is published. Galton first used
the terms nature and nurture to
describe g...
Willhelm Wundt has a room set aside at
Leipzig University for undertaking
psychological experiments. This is often
acknowl...
Freud first uses the term
‘psychoanalysis’ in his paper Further
Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of
Defense. While much of F...
The Psychological Society was founded
on 24 October 1901 at University
College London. Its aim was ‘to
advance scientific ...
Ivan Pavlov first described classical
conditioning. This was a key discovery
in the behaviourist psychological
approach an...
Electroconvulsive therapy is used for
the first time on a person. It becomes a
popular method of treatment throughout
the ...
“If freedom is a
requisite for human
happiness, then all
that‟s necessary is to
provide the illusion of
freedom.”
Skinner ...
Psychological Review publishes ‘A
theory of human motivation’ by
Abraham Maslow in which he described
the ‘hierarchy of ne...
Solomon Asch conducts the first of his
experiments on conformity in groups.
Asch’s work was important in our
understanding...
Harry Harlow presents „The Nature of
Love‟ where he describes his findings
on comfort deprivation on rhesus
monkeys. The c...
Gibson & Walk carry out research into
the depth perception of infants and
animals, using the ingenious visual cliff
Bandura et al. publish ‘Transmission of
aggression through imitation of
aggressive models’ The study raised
questions abou...
“It may be that we are
puppets-puppets
controlled by the strings
of society. But at least we
are puppets with
perception, ...
Aaron Beck published a psychological
model of depression suggesting that
thoughts play a significant role in the
developme...
Gardner and Gardner attempt to teach
Washoe, the chimpanzee, to
communicate using sign language
Rahe investigates the relationship
between stressful life events and rates
of illness on board 3 US Navy Ships
“If you put
good apples
into a bad
situation,
you‟ll get bad
apples.”
Philip Zimbardo conducts the notorious
Stanford pris...
Rosenhan publishes his study on
‘Being Sane in Insane Places’,
demonstrating that psychiatric hospitals
were unable to ide...
Loftus and Palmer publish studies
highlighting the fallibility of eyewitness
testimony and suggestibility in the face
of ‘...
Langer and Rodin investigate how the
lives of the elderly are affected by
giving them more control over decisions
in their...
The British Psychological Society
publishes its first ethical principles for
research with human subjects to
attempt to pr...
Bennett Levy and Marteau research
evolutionary explanations of phobias,
suggesting that phobias of animals
such as spiders...
Baron-Cohen et al publish research to
support the hypothesis that children
with autism lack a ‘theory of mind’, i.e.
they ...
Buss carries out his study into the mate
preferences of men and women across
37 cultures. His results support key
principl...
The Oxford Centre for Functional MRI
of the Brain was opened. fMRI
scanning furthered discoveries of brain
functionality m...
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  1. 1. Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. Its roots lie in philosophy and science, but it has developed over the years to become the subject we know today. This timeline highlights some of the key moments and discoveries in the history of Psychology, as well as many theories and studies that make up the A Level Specification. Such discoveries have not only had an impact on Psychology, but also on our everyday lives. Psychology has changed in many ways since the first studies in 1875 and it continues to evolve today. To find out more you can visit the British Psychological Society Origins site: http://origins.bps.org.uk/ Or follow them on twitter @BPSOfficial .
  2. 2. “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself” Plato suggested that the brain is the mechanism of mental processes
  3. 3. Franz Mesmer detailed his cure for some mental illness, originally called mesmerism and now known as hypnosis
  4. 4. Philippe Pinel released the first mental patients from confinement in the first massive movement for more humane treatment of the mentally ill
  5. 5. Franz Gall wrote about phrenology (the idea that a person's skull shape and placement of bumps on the head can reveal personality traits
  6. 6. Phineas Gage survives significant injuries when a tamping iron is driven through his head although he experiences significant changes in his personality. This was the first case in which a direct link was drawn between brain damage and personality change.
  7. 7. Charles Darwin published the On the Origin of Species, detailing his view of evolution and expanding on the theory of 'Survival of the Fittest.'
  8. 8. Sir Francis Galton’s classic, Hereditary Genius is published. Galton first used the terms nature and nurture to describe genetic factors versus environmental factors
  9. 9. Willhelm Wundt has a room set aside at Leipzig University for undertaking psychological experiments. This is often acknowledged as the point at which psychology became a discipline in its own right.
  10. 10. Freud first uses the term ‘psychoanalysis’ in his paper Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense. While much of Freud’s work is controversial and criticised for a lack of empiricism, the influence of Freud on the development of ‘talking therapies’ is significant. “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
  11. 11. The Psychological Society was founded on 24 October 1901 at University College London. Its aim was ‘to advance scientific psychological research, and to further the co- operation of investigators in the various branches of Psychology.’
  12. 12. Ivan Pavlov first described classical conditioning. This was a key discovery in the behaviourist psychological approach and has a number of applications in psychology such as addiction treatments
  13. 13. Electroconvulsive therapy is used for the first time on a person. It becomes a popular method of treatment throughout the 40s and 50s (and remains in use today)
  14. 14. “If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that‟s necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom.” Skinner The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis outlines the operant conditioning hypothesis. The publication of the book drew attention to behaviourism as a movement and led to an increase in lab experiments in this area, influencing developments in modern psychological therapies such as aversion therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy
  15. 15. Psychological Review publishes ‘A theory of human motivation’ by Abraham Maslow in which he described the ‘hierarchy of needs’. Starting with basic physiological needs the hierarchy continues up through various social and emotional needs to the pinnacle, that being ‘self-actualization’ where a person has reached and achieved their potential.
  16. 16. Solomon Asch conducts the first of his experiments on conformity in groups. Asch’s work was important in our understanding of how people behave in social situations, It inspired some of the greatest (and most controversial) psychology experiments of our time including Milgram’s (a student of Asch) studies of obedience and Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment
  17. 17. Harry Harlow presents „The Nature of Love‟ where he describes his findings on comfort deprivation on rhesus monkeys. The controversial experiments whereby rhesus monkeys were separated from their mothers and provided with a ‘wire mother’ or a ‘cloth mother’ demonstrated the importance of comfort from the mother in forming attachments
  18. 18. Gibson & Walk carry out research into the depth perception of infants and animals, using the ingenious visual cliff
  19. 19. Bandura et al. publish ‘Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models’ The study raised questions about learning and modelling behaviours and links to many subsequent studies carried out on the effects of television and gaming as well as extending the behaviourism school of thought
  20. 20. “It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation” Stanley Milgram’s infamous experiment ‘Behavioural study of obedience’ is published. Influenced by the events of the Nazi Holocaust, the study led Milgram to conclude that behaviour is less likely to be influenced by personal conscience than by the situation they find themselves in.
  21. 21. Aaron Beck published a psychological model of depression suggesting that thoughts play a significant role in the development and maintenance of depression
  22. 22. Gardner and Gardner attempt to teach Washoe, the chimpanzee, to communicate using sign language
  23. 23. Rahe investigates the relationship between stressful life events and rates of illness on board 3 US Navy Ships
  24. 24. “If you put good apples into a bad situation, you‟ll get bad apples.” Philip Zimbardo conducts the notorious Stanford prison experiment. He concluded that the roles assigned to people in certain situations have a significant impact on their behaviour, perhaps more so than their personal beliefs about right and wrong.
  25. 25. Rosenhan publishes his study on ‘Being Sane in Insane Places’, demonstrating that psychiatric hospitals were unable to identify those faking the symptoms of mental illness
  26. 26. Loftus and Palmer publish studies highlighting the fallibility of eyewitness testimony and suggestibility in the face of ‘leading’ questioning. These led to significant changes in the criminal justice system in terms of convicting on eyewitness testimony alone, particularly on the basis of one person’s evidence
  27. 27. Langer and Rodin investigate how the lives of the elderly are affected by giving them more control over decisions in their life
  28. 28. The British Psychological Society publishes its first ethical principles for research with human subjects to attempt to provide a guideline framework for psychological research.
  29. 29. Bennett Levy and Marteau research evolutionary explanations of phobias, suggesting that phobias of animals such as spiders are linked to their appearance and other characteristics such as their movements
  30. 30. Baron-Cohen et al publish research to support the hypothesis that children with autism lack a ‘theory of mind’, i.e. they are unable to understand and detect the mental states of others. The study used the ‘Sally-Ann story’ and identified a cognitive deficit that was specific to autism, marking a breakthrough in this area of research
  31. 31. Buss carries out his study into the mate preferences of men and women across 37 cultures. His results support key principles of evolutionary psychology, suggesting that mate preferences have adapted to help enhance reproductive success
  32. 32. The Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain was opened. fMRI scanning furthered discoveries of brain functionality made by PET scanning in the 1980s, greatly increasing our understanding of the brain

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