Template talk:Psychology

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Most important authors in psychology

Everyone has their pet theories and theorists, so some objective measure is needed to determine who the most important authors in psychology are. (Even though a good case could be made that psychodynamic theories and radical behaviorism have been largely abandoned by psychology departments these days, we'll not pursue this.) I've chosen the psychologists determined to be the most historically important throughout the 20th century by a multi-method empirical study (Haggbloom, S.J. et al, 2002, The 100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century, Review of General Psychology, Vol. 6, No. 2, 139–152.) The authors combined most frequently cited in the professional psychological journal literature, most frequently cited in introductory psychology textbooks, and most frequently named in a survey of members of the Association for Psychological Science, in addition to 3 qualitative variables converted to numerical scores. While a case could be made to chose a more recent period, namely, that outdated theories and theorists are more represented in a list going back so far, it nevertheless seems more appropriate to represent the whole period, including outdated theories, in an encyclopedia article. Someone can format this if they like (though it might take up a lot of vertical space):

Table 4. The 100 (99 Reported) Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century
Rank Name JCL rank TCL rank SL rank NAS APA award/president Eponym
1 B.F. Skinner 8 2 1 1950 1958/— Skinnerian
2 Jean Piaget 2 4 2 1966 1969/— Piagetian
3 Sigmund Freud 1 1 3 —/— Freudian
4 Albert Bandura 5 3 5 1980/1974 Bandura’s social learning theory
5 Leon Festinger 12 19 11.5 1972 1959/— Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory
6 Carl Rogers 28.5 5 9.5 1956/1947 Rogerian therapy
7 Stanley Schachter 46 6 24 1983 1969/— Schachter’s affiliation studies
8 Neal E. Miller 13 9 14.5 1958 1959/1961
9 Edward Thorndike 40 50 9.5 1917 —/1912 Thorndike’s puzzle box
10 Abraham Maslow 37 14 19 —/1968 Maslow’s hierarchy
11 Gordon Allport 51 18 14.5 1964/1939 Allport A–S reaction study
12 Erik Erikson 16 11 17 —/— Erikson’s psychosocial stages
13 Hans Eysenck 3 30 24 —/— Eysenck personality inventory
14 William James 29 6.5 1906 —/1904 James–Lange theory of emotion
15 David McClelland 34 10 31 1987/—
16 Raymond Cattell 7 37 31 —/— Cattell 16 Factor Personality Questionnaire
17 John B. Watson 17 4 —/1915 Watsonian behaviorism
18 Kurt Lewin 47 73.5 8 —/— Lewinian psychology
19 Donald O. Hebb 58 11.5 1979 1961/1960 Hebbian
20 George A. Miller 43 46 67 1962 1963/1969
21 Clark L. Hull 73 73.5 14.5 1936 —/1936 Hullian
22 Jerome Kagan 20 23 67 1987/—
23 Carl Jung 50 40 39.5 —/— Jungian
24 Ivan Pavlov 22 6.5 —/— Pavlovian
25 Walter Mischel 48 24.5 67 1982/—
26 Harry Harlow 100 7 51 1951 1960/1958
27 J. P. Guilford 10 61 1954 1964/1950 Guilford–Martin personnel inventory
28 Jerome Bruner 14 70.5 31 1962/1965
29 Ernest Hilgard 67 27 51 1948 1967/1949
30 Lawrence Kohlberg 39 16 97 —/— Kohlberg stages of moral development
31 Martin Seligman 93 13 31 —/1998
32 Ulric Neisser 59 71 31 1984 —/—
33 Donald T. Campbell 11 67 1973 1970/1975 Campbell’s design approach
34 Roger Brown 30 8 1972 —/—
35 Robert Zajonc 21 39.5 1978/— Zajonc social facilitation
36 Endel Tulving 32.5 47.5 1988 1983/—
37 Herbert A. Simon 32.5 24 1953 1969/—
38 Noam Chomsky 28 39.5 1972 1984/—
39 Edward E. Jones 57 44.5 1977/— Jones’s correspondent inference theory
40 Charles E. Osgood 9 97 1972 1960/1963 Osgood’s transfer surface

Remember that this is a psychology template, not a psychiatry template. -DoctorW 17:13, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! I was looking for something like this to help ID "Selected psychologists" for the Psychology portal. :-) Rfrisbietalk 20:51, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Is there any such objective criteria for pre-20th century psychologists? The current template makes it seem like there were no psychological thinkers before the 20th century. Also, why does the article only mention experimental psychologists and not any clinical psychologists? Jagged 85 (talk) 20:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Call for comments on adding Nathaniel Branden

I'd like to recommend Nathaniel Branden for addition to this list for the following contributions:

1) His pioneering work in self-esteem and the impact that has had,
2) He also did ground-breaking work in group therapy (Life-time achievement award for techniques of individual therapy in a group setting),
3) His Sentence-stem technique is one of the most powerful theraputic tools I've run across, and
4) His philosophy of psychology (from the first half of his first book on self-esteem) models the kind of foundation any theoretical approach should have.

He is often thought of as a pop-psychologist which isn't true given the depth of his work and the impact on the field as a whole. He is also criticized for his association with Ayn Rand when young - but that isn't relevant to his work as a psychologist. I'll let this sit for a while, as a kind of request for comments, before adding his name. Steve 21:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Did you read what is above? -DoctorW 23:56, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I read it. And I appreciate your effort and the intent to create an objective standard. But in the end it is hard to find methods that don't carry a bias of some sort or another - particularly when you are attempting what, at its root, is a subjective evaluation (top 100). That is why I put this in as a call for comments. I'm hoping to hear from other editors. You have created an excellent navigation template - But I'm assuming, that like the rest of WP, it is here to be edited. Steve 00:12, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Nathaniel Who? Famousdog 23:12, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Islamic scholars

Thanks for reverting those edits, DoctorW. "Ill-conceived" is the word. This is outright boosterism. Perhaps Jagged85 would like to create a separate template to push his POV that Muslim scholars did everything hundreds of years before Europeans. Famousdog (talk) 22:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't remember ever claiming anything of the sort... was that meant to be a personal attack by any chance? I'll admit I didn't read this talk page before updating the template at the time, but the "objective criteria" above only lists 20th century psychologists. Why aren't there any pre-20th century psychologists or any clinical psychologists mentioned on the template? Most of the medieval Muslim scholars I added before were very similar to what we would today consider to be clinical psychologists, so I don't see any reason why they (or at least the most important ones) shouldn't be included on the template. Jagged 85 (talk) 20:24, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Order of entries in multi-method empirical study

The order of entries in the template was taken from the order found in the multi-method empirical study, that is, in order by importance. The length of the list was decided by the somewhat subjective judgment that Jung and Pavlov should be on it but the next several names were not as important and list shouldn't be too long. Rearranging them by alphabetical order suggests that this particular group is some kind of canonical list. It makes a lot more sense to me to keep it in order of importance, suggesting that it trails off after the names included. One could also cite the rationale behind ordering disambiguation pages by importance, though in this case there is the added argument that a continuation of the list is implied.

In any case, people making a substantial change to the template should probably argue for their change here. -DoctorW 14:27, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Reasons for adding Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck

Probably everyone with a slight knowledge of psychotherapy would agree of the importance of Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis in modern psychotherapy. Both are the founder of the cognitive paradigm shift in psychotherapy. Psychology Today described Albert Ellis as the "greatest living psychologist," while the American Psychological Association in 2003 named him the second most influential psychologist of the twentieth century (Carl Rogers came first; Freud was third). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:00, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

What do people think of the idea of creating a psychotherapy template? -DoctorW 18:47, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Good idea. It would take some of the pressure off the Psychology template. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Objective inclusion criteria

I would like to ask for suggestions. Maintaining this template is difficult, because lots of editors want to add their pet psychology topic to it, but often such additions are questionable. This has been especially true of important psychologists, but in fact this is where we've had some success. The widely cited multiple-criteria research study cited in detail above is by far the best guideline we have found, and we have been able to stick to it well. Where help is needed is in coming up with some guidelines, preferably somewhat objective, for inclusion of other items, particularly subdisciplines. There will be lots of borderline topics needing a decision.

One possibility is Google Scholar results, which is an objective, though somewhat blunt, instrument. If we use them (perhaps as one of several criteria?) we would have to make an allowance for the fact that in some cases adding the word "psychology" to the phrase will be necessary (e.g., "Evolutionary psychology"). Taking a stab at this, it looks like requiring about 10,000 Google Scholar results for a phrase that does not need to have "psychology" added, or about 5,000 results if "psychology" does need to be added. What do people think? What other objective criteria might we use? Having a division of APA? If there are a number of good, objective criteria, editors could argue for inclusion even if all criteria weren't met, but rather on the basis of being very strong on the others. Comments? -DoctorW 18:47, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

What about disciplines that have APA-approved doctoral programs? (I do not know what this would yield, but my sub discipline has such programs plus an ABBP certification in the area.) —Mattisse (Talk) 00:53, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't agree with this list

Because, only behaviorist psychologist have a lot of citation. I think that other psychoanalyst, modern, can be hier ! For exmaple Andre Green, Horacio Etchegoyen, etc., etc. Thank Bettibossi (talk) 13:08, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

List above is in order of importance ("eminence")

The order of the list above - an empirical study widely cited - is in order by the score received by each subject for 6 variables. The order is important because it is in order by importance. I really don't know what else to say to those who disagree (such as those who want to put it in alphabetical order). If you have a different list, please provide sources and argue for why your list (and/or the order you use) makes more sense than the one empirically determined as referenced above. -DoctorW 04:14, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Hey DocW. I'm glad to see that you are using this study as a referenced, nonarbitrary way of establishing eminence and notability. I agree that the order is important, but people unfamiliar with the research will always want to alphabetize the list. Perhaps we could stick a note in the template explaining the reason for the order? --Jcbutler (talk) 15:13, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks DocB, an excellent idea. I'd be willing to write something, but I may be the only psychologist to have commented above, and I've definitely been the main person defending the objective criterion and policing the template. That together with my straightforward style may make my admonition come off as a bit heavy-handed. Would you like to compose a comment? Something brief is probably better anyway. Based on your outstanding work in the Social psychology controversy and on Social psychology (psychology), I have no doubt you would write something concise but compelling. -DoctorW 04:46, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Please, you're making me blush... anyway, it's done. Let's see how it works. To those who disagree, let's discuss the issue here rather than flipping the list back and forth in perpetuity. --Jcbutler (talk) 23:57, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Not so fast - You're not the only psychologist editing WP, and getting one person to agree with you hardly constitutes a consensus. Be patient and wait until all have had their say before deciding on a course of action.

I think you're confused about what the purpose of a template is. WP is an encyclopedia. Templates serve to direct readers to other sections of the encyclopedia. The easiest way to do that is through alphabetical indexes, so the reader can quickly find what s/he is looking for. Notice that the other sections of the Psychology template are alphabetized, as are virtually all WP templates. Having said that, I can see where you might want to provide information on who the most eminent psychologists are. That's what an article is for. Why don't you create an article, e.g., "List of most eminent psychologists"? That would also allow you to include all 100 psychologists, not just the 25 included in the template; to provide other important information, such as what the criteria were for inclusion in the list, the differences between the journal, textbook, and survey results; and to discuss the limitations of the study (e.g., members of APS were surveyed, but not members of APA; extremely low survey response rate; very low correlation across measures; see also Black, S.L. (2003) "Cannonical [sic] confusions, an illusory allusion, and more: A critique of Haggbloom et al.'s list of eminent psychologists (2002)." Psychological Reports, 92, 853-857.). Seems like a reasonable solution to me that meets all goals: help the reader easily find what s/he is looking for + provide information on the top psychologists. Otherwise, you're just trying to make a template serve too many purposes.
–- DrK (talk) 15:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough. Would anyone else like to chime in? --Jcbutler (talk) 16:39, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
There are several problems with anonymous editor's last edit. On the one hand, he has finally deigned, for the first time, to defend his position on alphabetization here on the talk page. But he seems to think this entitles him to change the order of "eminent psychologists" that has been in place unchallenged for more than two years without waiting for discussion and without having even one other person voice support for his position. Also Ecological Systems Theory is regarded by that article as a proper name; it is capitalized. So changing it to standard Wikipedia format for phrases that are not proper names (first word capitalized, subsequent words not) doesn't make sense, and creates a redirect.
Of course the other sections of the Psychology template are alphabetized. There is no hierarchy in those other sections. An article about the Haggbloom et al. study with cited criticism is a good idea. In my view the existence of such an article would not strengthen's position on alphabetization. The assumption that readers are going to be looking for a particular name in the list is highly debatable. In fact it's very possible that readers may be curious to see the order presented; it obviously has some meaning since it's not alphabetized, and since it says "eminent", order by eminence is a reasonable assumption. We could add "(in order)" if people think that would be an improvement. He says readers should look to the proposed article for the order; one could respond that if someone is looking for a particular psychologist the logical place to look is at List of psychologists, which should be in the "See also" section of every page with this template.
I've read that disambiguation pages should normally be in order by importance. That is in a case where the order of importance is very unclear and subject to disagreement. In this case we actually have a reliable source for the order, even if it is not perfect. So if a reader is browsing, clicking on links that strike her interest, order by importance would be better. If a reader has a particular psychologist in mind he is looking for, alphabetical order is better (though, again List of psychologists serves that function).
Please excuse my abrupt and critical phrasing. I suppose it's merely a natural tendency to push back against's adversarial and overly presumptive style. -DoctorW 19:44, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
This is Wikipedia. Remember that consensus can change. Just because no one has taken the initiative to change the Psychology Template before, doesn't mean that it isn't a good idea. The wheels of WP grind slowly. So please assume the good faith of other editors. DrK has provided some good reasoning, as well as a compromise. You could have both an alphabetical list and a list by order of eminence, if you really wanted. (talk) 23:48, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I haven't been following the discussion of the "order of eminence", but I don't see the point of the ordering.
  • First, it is necessarily arbitrary, even if based on a study or studies (which should be cited).
  • Second, it is not stated on the template (unless I missed it) that it is ordered or on what basis.
  • Third, I missed William James, as noted in the comment below, because looking for a particular name means strenuously reading all that tiny template text without the aid of alphabetization. Unless I knew already that he was "twelfth" or whatever, I would have to hunt.
  • Fourth, "eminence" is in th eye of the beholder, even if there is data based on studies, and depends on whether one is disregarding the effects of history, the recency effect etc. Also, if the study entailed using popular textbooks and such, we all know they tend to repeat each other, naming the same names that get installed as the "father of". There is the famous example of the inaccurate diagram purporting to illustrate the effects of evolution still published in textbooks today, although discredited at the turn of the 19th century.
  • Fifth, the whole idea that there is such a fixed order of eminence seems ridiculous to me. Granted some may be considered more important than others for reasons of history, or because their finding are seen as relevant today. But the idea that there is a #1, #2, #3 .... seems arbitrary and a distortion of how the field developed. It's not like the order of the British succession which remains fixed in history. Do more studies of "eminence" as fashions change and you will get different results. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:15, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree entirely with all of these points. I can see where the study cited by DrW could be used to determine who gets into the Template, because otherwise everyone would add their own favorite psychologist. But, given the very flawed nature of the study, to use it to determine order in the Template seems highly questionable. (talk) 22:40, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm happy to see we're finally discussing this. I appreciate your contributions to the discussion. -DoctorW 20:27, 16 December 2008 (UTC), your claim of consensus is without foundation. More important, your edit summary is rude and uncivil. People are much more likely to consider your arguments carefully and give them full weight if you avoid insults. -DoctorW 05:12, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it matters much whether the list is ordered by alphabet or eminence. It really depends on how strongly you believe eminence relates to navigational demand. It is crucial, though, that we adopt and reference published works that judge notability, eminence and importance. Contrary to some earlier comments in this discussion, evaluating and representing the importance of ideas and people can't be avoided when you are writing an encyclopedia, and that process must be continually revisited as new information becomes available and psychology changes. Although it may have some arbitrary components, an order of importance produced by a reference to sources is definitely not fixed. I applaud DoctorW's efforts to hold to the APA review article in determining membership on the list, but because the list is obviously biased toward American psychologists it would be useful to find other published lists of eminent psychologists and then combine the sources. Nesbit (talk) 17:56, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly support Nesbit's comment above, especially "It is crucial, though, that we adopt and reference published works that judge notability, eminence and importance." I also appreciate Jcbutler's support for "using this study as a referenced, nonarbitrary way of establishing eminence and notability." I hope editors of this template, who want to add their favorite psychologist (or a psychologist they think is important) to the list of eminent psychologists will consider what will happen when the next editor, and then the next dozen editors, come along and add their personal favorites too. Editors should think: By what standard, or principle, or guideline - something that can be agreed upon - should someone be included or excluded? If you can't come up with any standard at all (much less one that has some hope of achieving consensus), then how can you justify idiosyncratic additions? -DoctorW 19:25, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Of course, that's a red herring. No one is disputing the need to have sound criteria, preferably empirical, for determining the members of the Eminent Psychologists list in the Psychology template. The question that has arisen is the order in which the eminent psychologists should be listed in the template. It seems to me that DrK's contribution says it all: Use the template for navigation (alphabetical order). Use an article to discuss the merits and results (in order of notability) of the lone study being cited as the means for establishing eminence. DoctorW is the only one who has expressed any objections to that plan. (talk) 22:52, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
There is an argument that ordering by importance (eminence) can sometimes be a better aid to navigation than alphabetical order. It probably relates to the length of the list. For longer lists alphabetical order is likely better. For shorter lists order of importance is likely better. I don't know where the crossover point is so I'm satisfied with either ordering in this case. Nesbit (talk) 00:05, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Again, I agree with Nesbit (on every point). As for the issue of who should go in the list, anyone who reviews the edit history going back more than two years, or even reads this whole talk page, will see that this has been the main issue this template has faced. My comment above was primarily for future readers of this talk page. -DoctorW 03:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

What about William James? He didn't get enough points in the study? —Mattisse (Talk) 04:56, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

William James is #14, as indicated in the list above and on the template. -DoctorW 05:40, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh. I see now. (I'm not so good at scanning a list like that, I guess.) Thanks. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:16, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I disagree with listing by "eminence" because I can't find a particular person, except by reading the whole list. But then, I never use the Template anyway, as it is much easier to use "Search" or other methods to find a particular name. The template, I am fairly sure, is only of concern to those who created it, so they may as well decide what it should be and guard against those who want to change it. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Added Ken Wilber

I'm surprised to see Ken Wilber not listed herein for his contributions to theoretical psychology and transpersonal psychology (Wilber has been described by Prof. Roger Walsh of U. of C. as the greatest theoretical psychologist of our time, and he was universally regarded as a founder and most eminent transpersonal psychologist until he disowned the field in favor of integral psychology.) While I can understand the merits of stocking the list with handpicked theorists from the article by Haggbloom, S.J., one has to consider sampling bias when not a single representative of the transpersonal or integral schools are even cited once (anybody know how many transpersonal psychologists were included in the study?). I have added him in order to correct a bias.

Wilber is regarded as the most widely translated academic author of our time, with twenty books translated into 34 languages or something like that. No kidding. For the uninitiated, see, e.g.,


To pick an exemplary quote, "Ken Wilber... joins the ranks of the grand theorists of human consciousness like Ernst Cassier, Mircea Eliade, and Gregory Batesom" -- Dr. Daniel Goleman, Sr. Editor, Psychology Today

Or Dr. Silas Wesley, prof. Clinical Psychology, Yale Univ., "I consider [W‎ilber's] Up from Eden the single greatest work on psychology ever written--including Freud, Jung, et al."

And what other psychologist did Nicole Kidman mention alongside Piaget as the most influential developmental psychologist of our century in the movie "The Invasion"? Ken Wilber, of course. ;-)

http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/Metagenius-part1.pdf Joeperez69 (talk) 02:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC) Joe Perez

How about a list of processes?

The family of articles related to memory has been developed a great deal this year. We need somehow to link into this, because it's easy to miss this from the templates. How about a row in the template for processes such as memory and perception? MartinPoulter (talk) 12:38, 16 August 2010 (UTC) Other suggestions as they come to me: attention, introspection. MartinPoulter (talk) 12:46, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Best way to add "Psychology of Religion/Spirituality" and/or "Pastoral Psychology"

It seems to me that Psychology of religion should be listed in this template. After all, it's long had its own APA Divison 36. Also, APA will soon be publishing an official APA 2-volume handbook on psychology of religion (part of a handbook series, I believe). And APA sponsors a journal on the topic (Psychology of Religion and Spirituality). Plus, huge proportions of American adults (as well as many adults in many other countries/cultures) identify religion/spirituality as one of the most powerful and important influences in their lives. This area is different - I would say larger, and with more mainstream acceptance - than Transpersonal psychology, which is listed in the template as an "orientation" (comment: I'm not sure I'd call Psychology of religion an "orientation" since it can be, and is, studied from many different theoretical perspectives). There would seem to be at least 2 ways to proceed for inclusion in the template:

  1. Include "Religion" or "Religion/spirituality" among "basic" areas
  2. Include "Pastoral" (see Psychology of Religion#Pastoral psychology) among applied areas (perhaps not optimal, but better in my view than totally omitting PofR).
  3. Both of the above

Any opinions about best ways to proceed? Health Researcher (talk) 21:20, 21 September 2010 (UTC)


"Personality psychology" is already included in the template. Narcissism is a sub-topic of this, not a peer of it. I don't think Narcissism belongs in the template, because it's a topic within an area of psychology, rather than an area itself. Naturally, if someone can show a reliable source that treats it as a peer to the other things in the template, I'm persuadable it should be included. MartinPoulter (talk) 19:18, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


I just added Viktor Frankl to the list. He is the founder of Logotherapy, the 3rd Vienese School of Psychology (after Freud and Adler), has made great contributions to the science, and his book Man's Search for Meaning, by Wikipedia's own entry " Man's Search For Meaning belongs to a list of "the ten most influential books in [the United States]." (New York Times, November 20, 1991). At the time of the author's death in 1997, the book had sold 10 million copies in twenty-four languages." I guess someone can erase it, but I think I have put forward good reasons for him to be on the list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

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