Psychology 3950G-001

History of Psychology

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


A survey of the major ideas and scholars important to the development of Western psychology, examined from an historical and sociocultural perspective. Recommended for those thinking of graduate work in clinical psychology. CPA accredited programs require coursework on this topic and most will accept this course as fulfilling the criterion.


Antirequisites: Psychology 3893F/G (King’s)


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.


Prerequisites: Psychology 2820E, or both 2800E and 2810

4 lecture/discussion hours, 0.5 course


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


       Instructor:   Dr. Albert Katz                           

       Office and Phone Number:  Room  7322 SSC; (519) 661-3681         

       Office Hours: by appointment                      



       Teaching Assistant: Emily Nielsen

       Office:       tba                                            

       Office Hours: tba                                         



       Time and Location of Classes:   8:30-10:30 NS7

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


Fancher, R. & Rutherford, A. Pioneers of Psychology, 5th Edition. New York: Norton (NOTE: this is a new edition)


This course will different from others that you will have taken in Psychology. Here we do not consider the specifics of a given field in depth (such as “Cognition” or “Social Psychology”) but rather discuss the ideas of people (and their times) who have made a difference in the growth of different strands of thoughts, ideas, and methodologies which have emerged over the centuries. Some of these ideas have been important to several of the sub-fields of modern day Psychology, and some of which are more specific to a given sub-field. 


As with other sciences, Psychology has evolved through changes in paradigms and technologies, making the study of Psychology a microcosm of the development of scientific thought. Examination of the history of Psychology also informs us on how the current concept of what it means to be human has been shaped. By exploring the history and (to a lesser extent) the philosophy of psychology we’re also exploring the great questions regarding who we are and how we came to acquired that knowledge (belief?).


The text book we use covers a critical period starting with the a brief outline of the “ancients” but really takes form in Chapter 2 with the work of Rene Descartes and other philosophers. Descartes is a good starting point given his influence and thoughts on the ‘mind-body” dichotomy. I have decided to end the time periods we will study somewhere around 1960-1980 because much of what you learn in other Psychology courses emphasizes the methods, theories, people, findings etc. that have been active since then.  .


The book for the most part works in a chronological fashion (as will I in lectures). You will notice that around 1900 Psychology starts to divide into the major sub-fields we have today. So after discussing the major themes that dominated Psychological thought, the later lectures will concentrate on the growth of the various sub-fields (such social psychology, cognitive psychology, clinical psychology and so on). Despite this basic chronological structure, I want you to continually think about what an historical perspective informs us about such questions as:


-What is the relationship between humans and non-human animals?

-What is the relationship between the “mind’ and the “body”

--What is the nature of “mind (what is being conscious, unconscious; is it best conceptualized as atomistic or holistic, static or dynamic??)

-Where does human knowledge come from?

     -What is the relationship of Psychology as a science and as an applied profession



In addition to learning “facts”, you will be asked to do some original historical research on former Western undergraduate students, finding out about the people and theories  that influenced them, and possibly people who they influenced.


Learning Outcome: By the end of course, the successful student should be able to

Learning Activity


demonstrate basic understanding of historical figure and theoretical concepts by accurately defining and discriminating between major concepts, and knowing the contributions of major figures in the history of psychology

- Reading and Discussing assigned chapters from the textbook

-          Mid-term test (multiple choice/short answer)


-          Final (multiple choice/short answer)


Demonstrate knowledge of how to conduct historical



-interview people with respect to the academic and personal achievements of a target figure from the history of Western’s department of Psychology


-use archival sources to learn about the  intellectual lineage of the target figure


-           1. describe the results of the interview,

-          2. a description of the archival sources used to obtain information of people in the target figurers intellectual


Summarize and critique the scholarly and professional achievement of an historical figure

Use archival sources to obtain a rounded picture of the target figure: lines of research, important findings, academic controversies, professional and teaching record.

Write a paper with two parts: A summary of the important contributions of the people in the target person’s lineage. Second, to write a paper on the target figure



PLEASE NOTE:  Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations (, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%.

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail


Feb  13                                  TEST  ONE =25%

April exam period              TEST TWO =25%

January 30                           Task 1 due (10%)

March 15                               Task 2 due (10%)

April 10                                  Final paper due (30%)


Philosophical Background

January 9-11               Classical Philosophy- What is Science? Descartes            Chapter 1

January 16- 18             British Empiricism, and Continental rationalists  Chapter 2 and Chapter 4  (to                                             p.p.161)                                                                                   

Psychology as an Emerging Science -- But what type of Science?

January 23-25                Wundt, and Structuraliosm                     Chapter 5

January 30  task 1 due

January 30 – Feb 1                `Titchener (and Ebbinghaus)   Chapter 5

February 6-                 Darwin                Chapter 6

February 8                 Galton                 Chapter 7

Test 1 Feb 13 covers chapters 1, 2, 4 (to page 161) 5, 6 and 7


February 15                   Willian James and Functionalism            Chapter 8

READING WEEK   Feb 19-23

Feb 27- 1 March 1         Behaviorism      Chapter 9                       

March  6-8                     Freud                Chapter 11           

March 15 Task 2 due

March 9                        Gestalt Psychology       Chapter 4 (pp.   161-167)


Growth of Sub-Disciplines in Psychology in the 20th Century

March 13-15                  Growth of Social  and Personality Psychology        Chapter 10;; Chapter 12

March 22                       Growth of Developmental Psychology                               Chapter 13                                                               

March -27-29                 Growth of Cognitive Psychology                                        Chapter 14

April 3                           Growth of Clinical  and Applied Psychology           Chapter 15-Chapter 16                                                                    

April 5-10                      Growth of the Neurosciences                                 Chapter  3

April 10 Final paper Due  


Final Exam: during Final Exam Period (April 14-30)


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.