United States

C. James Goodwin

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Psychology: Global Perspectives

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195366556
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

United States

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Psychology in the United States emerged in the 19th century, advanced by the work of such pioneers as William James, and came to maturity in the 20th. One constant theme has been the creative tension between basic laboratory science, which emphasized research aimed at understanding human behavior and mental processes, and the professional practice of psychology, with its emphasis on application. In the first part of the 20th century, different “schools” of psychology developed (e.g., structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, Gestalt), each proposing alternative ways of conceiving of psychology’s goals and methods. At the same time, psychologists vigorously developed applications for psychology, creating mental tests, finding ways to aid business and education, and helping those in psychological distress (clinical psychology). After World War II, psychological science rapidly expanded, led by the evolution of cognitive psychology, and psychological practice continued to be grow and make substantial contributions.

Keywords: Structuralism; functionalism; behaviorism; Gestalt psychology; mental testing; industrial psychology; clinical psychology; diversity in psychology

Article.  17753 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology

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