Most influential Psychologists 1900 – 2000

Here is a list of influential psychologists, grouped by their wave of influence:




First Wave:
Wilhelm Wundt, Ivan Pavlov, John Watson, B.F. Skinner, Gordon Allport, Jean Piaget, Aaron Beck, Howard Gardner,

Second Wave:
Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Margaret Mahler, Melanie Klein, Heinz Kohut, Eric Berne, Virginia Winnicutt, John Bowlby, Daniel Stern, George Vaillant, Lawrence Kohlberg

Third Wave:
Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung, Fritz Perls, Carl Rogers, George Kelly, Harold Garfinkel, Erving Goffman, Harry Stack Sullivan, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, George Lakoff, Symbolic Interactionism

Fourth Wave:
Existential-Phenomenological: Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Roberto Assagioli, Franco Spinelli, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Murphy, Daniel Goleman
Transpersonal Psychology: Stanislav Grof, John Lilly, Charles Tart, Michael Murphy
Eastern Traditions: Japanese Zen, Chinese Taoism, Tantra, Sufism, Global Brain

Note: This list is not exhaustive and there are many other psychologists who have made significant contributions to the field of psychology. Additionally, it is important to note that the classifications are not mutually exclusive and many psychologists have had influences from multiple waves.

Define Wave classifications

Natural Science Psychology: This approach to psychology emphasizes the scientific method and objective measurements to study human behavior. It views human behavior and mental processes as the result of biological and environmental factors, and seeks to understand and explain these phenomena in a systematic and empirical manner.

Humanistic Psychology: This approach to psychology emphasizes the subjective experience of individuals, and seeks to understand their unique perceptions, feelings, and motivations. It views people as inherently good and possessing the potential for growth, and focuses on helping individuals achieve self-actualization and fulfillment.

Analytical Psychology: This approach to psychology, founded by Freud and Carl Jung, focuses on the unconscious mind and the exploration of unconscious archetypes, symbols, and experiences. It seeks to integrate the conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche and promote a deeper understanding of self.

Existential-Phenomenological Psychology: This approach to psychology emphasizes the subjective experience of existence and the ways in which people make sense of their lives and the world around them. It focuses on the lived experiences of individuals and the search for meaning and purpose in life. This approach is rooted in the philosophical traditions of existentialism and phenomenology.

Summary: It is difficult to summarize the key findings of all of psychology as it is a broad and diverse field, but here are a few key findings from some of the major areas of psychology:

Social Psychology: Social psychologists have found that people are heavily influenced by the presence and behavior of others, and that social norms and expectations play a large role in shaping behavior. They have also shown that people tend to conform to group norms, even when those norms are harmful or unjust.

Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychologists have shown that human thinking and perception is much more complex and sophisticated than previously believed, and that many mental processes occur automatically and unconsciously. They have also found that people use mental shortcuts, or heuristics, to make decisions and solve problems, and that these heuristics often lead to biases and errors in thinking.

Developmental Psychology: Developmental psychologists have shown that human development is a complex and ongoing process that occurs across multiple domains (e.g. cognitive, social, emotional). They have found that childhood experiences can have a lasting impact on development and that there are certain critical periods during which experiences are particularly impactful.

Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychologists have found that psychological disorders and mental health problems are common and affect many people at some point in their lives. They have developed effective treatments for a range of psychological disorders, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medication management.

Neuroscience: Neuroscience research has shed light on the workings of the brain and the role of brain activity in behavior and mental processes. It has shown that the brain is highly plastic, meaning that it is capable of changing and adapting in response to experience, and that this plasticity is a key factor in learning and development.

These are just a few examples of the many important findings in psychology. Overall, psychology has made significant contributions to our understanding of human behavior and mental processes, and has provided practical applications for improving individual and societal well-being.