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A History of Psychology

A History of Psychology
A Global Perspective

Second Edition

March 2014 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Offering a fresh, accessible, and global approach to the history of psychology, the fully revised Second Edition of Eric B. Shiraev’s A History of Psychology: A Global Perspective, provides a thorough view of psychology’s progressive and evolving role in society and how its interaction with culture has developed throughout history, from ancient times through the Middle Ages and the modern period to the current millennium. Taking an inclusive approach, the text addresses contemporary and classic themes and theories with discussion of psychology's development in cultures and countries all too often neglected in overviews of the field. High-interest topics, including the validity of psychological knowledge and volunteerism, offer readers the opportunity to apply the history of psychology to their own lives.

About the Author
1. Understanding Psychology's History
Four Types of Knowledge in Psychology  
Society and Psychology’s History  
Historiography of Psychology  
Understanding the History of Psychology  
Key Terms  
2. Early Psychological Knowledge
Psychological Knowledge at the Beginning of Human Civilization  
Psychological Knowledge in the Civilization of the Greeks  
Psychological Knowledge in India and China: An Introduction to Non-Western Tradition in Psychology  
Psychological Knowledge at the Turn of the First Millennium  
Further Development of Knowledge in the High Middle Ages (1000–1300s)  
Key Terms  
3. Psychology During Mid-Millenium Transitions
Transitions From the Late 15th to the End of the 18th Century  
Psychology in Mid-Millennium: What People Knew  
The Impact of Scholars and Their Theories  
French Materialism and Enlightenment  
Key Terms  
4. Psychology in the Laboratory
Transitions of the 19th Century  
Physiology and Philosophy: Two Academic Schools  
Early Measurements in Psychology  
First Psychological Laboratories  
In the Laboratory: Psychology in Search for Own Identity  
Key Terms  
5. Psychology and the Mass Society at the Beginning of the 20th Century
The Social and Cultural Landscape  
Advances in Natural and Social Sciences and Their Impact on Psychology  
Psychology as a Scientific Discipline  
Functionalism: Connecting the Individual and the Social Environment  
Evolutionary Ideas in Psychology  
New Fields of Psychology  
Key Terms  
6. Clinical Research and Psychology at the End of the 19th and Beginning of the 20th Century
What People Knew About Mental Illness  
Social Climate and Psychopathology  
Understanding Mental Illness  
Early Attempts at Treatment  
Key Terms  
7. The Birth and Development of the Behaviorist Tradition
The Social Landscape: The Right Time for Behaviorism?  
Animal Psychology  
Studies of Reflexes  
The Behaviorism of John Watson  
Key Terms  
8. The Birth and Development of Psychoanalysis
The Social and Scientific Landscape  
Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis  
Early Transitions of Psychoanalysis: Alfred Adler  
Early Transitions of Psychoanalysis: Carl Jung  
Key Terms  
9. The Paths of Gestalt Psychology
The Social Landscape After the Great War  
Principles of Gestalt Psychology  
Advancements of Gestalt Theory  
Key Terms  
10. Theoretical and Applied Psychology After the Great War
Society and Psychology  
Psychological Testing  
Psychology of Development and Cognition  
Personality Theories  
Early Social Psychology  
Key Terms  
11. Behaviorism and Psychoanalysis in the Mid-20th Century
Further Development of Behaviorism  
A Winding Road of Psychoanalysis  
Assessment of Behaviorism and Psychoanalysis  
Key Terms  
12. Humanistic and Cognitive Psychology
The Social Landscape  
Humanistic Psychology  
Cognitive Psychology  
Key Terms  
13. Focusing on Contemporary Issues
Lesson 1. Psychology Continues to Address Its “Traditional Themes”  
Lesson 2. Psychology Welcomes Interdisciplinary Science  
Lesson 3. Psychology Did Not Abandon Its Established Traditions  
Lesson 4. Psychology Can Correct Its Past Mistakes  
Lesson 5. Psychology Remains a Progressive Science  
Key Terms  
Figure and Photo Credits
Author Index
Subject Index

“The textbook is great in terms of content and the author’s excellent expertise in the field.”

Indre Cuckler
Mountain State University

“[The book] is well done.”

Crystal Harris Blount
Governors State University

The "global perspective" is essential to a true understanding of the history of Psychology, its evolution and developments.

Dr Maria Francisca Rebocho
Psychology, Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique
July 29, 2019

We deliver a year 1 (level 4) module on the history of psychology and this book will be very useful.

Miss Claire Marsh
Psychology , Manchester College of Arts & Techn.
June 28, 2016

A wide-ranging, inclusive history of psychology - manages to be both thorough and accessible.

Mr John Perry
School of Medicine, Southampton University
July 1, 2015

As with most history of psychology texts, this one acts like the history of psychology ended pretty much in the middle of the 20th century (1960s, 70s). It treats anything after that as 'looking forward' rather than as part of the history.

Dr Paul Bernhardt
Psychology Dept, Frostburg State University
June 5, 2015

A wealth of very detailed historical information in this text. Very clearly set out, manageable as an excellent introductory text or as part of a stand alone elective unit. Highly recommended for all levels.

Mr Graham Samson
Humanities, Exeter College
December 16, 2014

Eric Shiraev adequately covers the development and history of psychology from it's earliest influences. I believe my students will appreciate the focus on "context" when examining and thinking critically about how psychological knowledge has developed over time.

Dr Brett Pellegrino
Psychology Dept, Monmouth University
August 23, 2014

A very good overview about the history of psychology

Mr Florian Röser
Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen
August 18, 2014
Key features


  • The global aspect of the history of psychology is emphasized with new and diverse examples from a variety of countries integrated in each chapter.
  • References to almost 50 new studies have been added on such topics as affective disorders, eating disorders, cross-cultural validity of psychological research, psychological “utopias,” Hinduism, Buddhism, traditional and nontraditional cultures, religious values, ideology and science, sexuality, evolutionary psychology, treatment of psychological disorders, and more.
  • Carefully designed chapter-opening timelines (on people, key ideas, and concepts) provide a visual, chronological perspective of psychology’s past and present.
  • New practice exercises have been added to every chapter, giving students greater opportunity to assess their understanding of key concepts.
  • New Check Your Knowledge boxes throughout each chapter help students learn to distinguish fact from opinion and become informed skeptics.
  • Case In Point boxes in each chapter give students the opportunity to come to their own conclusions about issues and think critically about biases that may influence psychology.
  • Additional “visual review” figures appear in every chapter.
  • Learning Objectives begin each chapter to help students “read with a purpose.”


  • The balanced coverage of pre- and post-20th century psychology ensures a comprehensive scope is maintained.
  • The book’s global and multicultural emphasis helps students understand how psychology has been deeply influenced by people from all over the world and from many disciplines.
  • A highly engaging vignette or opening case begins each chapter, featuring a familiar theme or topic. 
  • Each chapter contains a section on the impact of psychology on society as well as societal influences on psychology, examining a variety of fields such as medicine, education, criminal justice, business, advertising, and entertainment.
  • In Their Own Words boxes display quotes made by famous psychologists and scholars on the significance of psychological research and its applications.
  • Checkpoints, chapter summaries, and end-of-chapter key terms help students review and prepare for exams.
  • A comprehensive Test Bank is available for instructors.

 Each chapter begins with two timelines, which are more detailed and comprehensive than the first edition, representing individuals and main psychological concepts. The second edition has new or expanded introductions in Chapters 1, 2, 4, and 9. Each chapter now has two Cases in Point supplied with relevant questions or discussion topics. Every chapter also has special references to the companion website containing additional assignments, materials and links. The Web-based assignments correspond with the chapter’s materials and can be used for homework assignments or class discussions. There are 15-20 new practice questions designed for every chapter. These are multiple choice and short answer questions allowing the student to quickly review or summarize the materials on the previous several pages. Each chapter has a conclusion with a few distinct subsections.

This edition of the book is updated with references to almost fifty new studies. In particular, there are new and other relevant studies on Western and non-Western samples, affective disorders, eating disorders, cross-cultural validity of psychological research, psychological “utopias,” Hinduism, Buddhism, traditional and nontraditional cultures, religious values, ideology and science, sexuality, evolutionary psychology, and treatment of psychological disorders. This edition also includes new references to psychology’s historic developments in South Africa, China, India, Japan, Colombia, Russia, Italy, and Germany. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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