This is the second edition of a 1980 publication that was an important early contribution to the then-infant literature on the historical perspectives on psychology. The approach to theory and history adapted by the contributors is to focus on some of the central figures in the development of the discipline. Within this approach, the authors offer analyses of three major theoretical currents in psychology: psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and the Geneva school.

Other chapters focus on psychophysics (the oldest incarnation of experimental psychology) and on Gestalt, cognitive, and evolutionary psychology. Covering such seminal influences as Fechner, G. E. Muller, Wundt, Galton, James, Darwin, Baldwin, and Vygotsky and such topics as the Americanization of psychology and psychoanalysis, the relationship between politics and psychology in the United States, and the contrasting development of the concept of the self in Western and Eastern psychology, and reprinting chapters originally contributed by B. F. Skinner and Jean Piaget, this text is considerably updated and expanded.

This book provides the reader with a broad overview of the development of a continually evolving field—one that has had such profound influence on the thought and culture of the 20th century.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


Overview of This Book

I. Psychology Becomes a Science: Influences From Within and Without

  1. Vicissitudes of Fechnerian Psychophysics in America
    —Helmut E. Adler
  2. Origins of American Psychology in the Work of G. E. Müller: Classical Psychophysics and Serial Learning
    —Edward J. Haupt
  3. Why Study Wundtian Psychology?
    —Arthur L. Blumenthal
  4. Francis Galton and American Psychology
    —Solomon Diamond
  5. William James on the Demise of Positivism in American Psychology
    —Eugene Taylor
  6. Theory and History of Psychology and the Denial and Affirmation of the Self
    —Anand C. Paranjpe

II. Socioeconomic and Political Factors in the Development of Psychology

  1. Americanization of Psychology Before William James
    —Robert W. Rieber
  2. American Culture and Psychology
    —David Bakan
  3. Diverse Relations Between Psychology and Evolutionary Thought
    —Howard E. Gruber

III. Psychological Systems: Past, Present, and Future

  1. Gestalt Theory and Evolutionary Psychology
    —David J. Murray and Bahar Farahmand
  2. The Experimental Analysis of Operant Behavior: A History
    —B. F. Skinner
  3. The Historical Antecedents of Contemporary Behaviorism
    —Willard F. Day, Jr.
  4. The Assimilation of Psychoanalysis in America: From Popularization to Vulgarization
    —Robert W. Rieber
  5. In Tribute to Piaget: A Look at His Scientific Impact in the United States
    —Gilbert Voyat with an addendum by Howard E. Gruber
  6. Genetic Epistemology and Developmental Psychology
    —Bärbel Inhelder
  7. Some Recent Research and Its Link With a New Theory of Groupings and Conservations Based on Commutability
    —Jean Piaget
  8. Thought and Things: James Mark Baldwin and the Biosocial Origins of Mind
    —Robert H. Wozniak
  9. Historical and Contemporary Significance of Vygotsky's Sociohistorical Psychology
    —Carl Ratner
  10. Sitzfleisch, the Zeitgeist, and the Hindsightgeist
    —Kurt D. Salzinger

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors