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Foundations of Psychological Thought

Foundations of Psychological Thought
A History of Psychology

Edited by:

July 2008 | 688 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Students who work with this book will emerge with an education in the best sense. They will interact on paper with the greatest thinkers on or in psychology. That does not happen often enough."
—James H. Korn, Saint Louis University

"A wonderful resource collection of 'original source material.' I appreciate the cluster of readings by topic as well as the date."

—James Uchtenberg, University of Kansas

Through carefully selected and extensively annotated original sources, Foundations of Psychological Thought: A History of Psychology deals with some of the most important issues and ideas in the history of psychological thought. Defining questions such as "How do we distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior?" and "How much of our behavior is biologically determined?" are posed throughout the book.

By providing context, background, and interpretation, the editors make the material more accessible to contemporary students. The editors' annotations, found throughout the readings, provide straightforward information about the original text–definitions, translations, underlying assumptions, important contexts, and related ideas. While the readings stretch back as far as the seventeenth century, there are also articles from the past thirty years, showing the evolution of ideas and emphasizing that these topics are still very much with us.

Key Features

  • Provides meaningfully organized material: Each section of the reader addresses a fundamental question in the field of psychology.
  • Helps students comprehend original sources: Introductions and extensive annotations encapsulate main ideas, provide important context, highlight significant psychological and historical points, and draw connections among sections and readings.
  • Pedagogical advantages: Elements such as introductions, annotations, suggestions for further readings, discussion questions, and line numbering make it easy for instructors and students to use this book.

Intended Audience
Foundations of Psychological Thought is an ideal primary or supplemental text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in the History of Psychology and for honors-level Introductory Psychology or Capstone courses in departments of psychology.

"Through carefully selected and extensively annotated original sources, Foundations of Psychological Thought deals with some of the most important issues and ideas in the history of psychological thought."
Savannah Jones,

"It's clear that the authors are very familiar with their sources, and have really thought about which words, phrases, and implicit assumptions might prove troublesome for student readers."
—Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

The Passions of the Soul (1649)
1.1 René Descartes (1596–1650)
Psychology (1892)
1.2 William James (1842–1910)
Outlines of Psychology (1897)
1.3 Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920)
Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950)
1.4 Alan Turing (1912–1954)
Minds, Brains, and Science (1984)
1.5 John Searle (b. 1932)
An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (1709)
2.1 George Berkeley (1685–1753)
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785)
2.2 Thomas Reid (1710–1796)
Treatise on Physiological Optics (1867)
2.3 Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894)
The Perception of the Visual World (1950)
2.4 J. J. Gibson (1904–1979)
Visual Information Processing: The Structure and Creation of Visual Representations (1980)
2.5 David Marr (1945–1980)
On the Speed of Mental Processes (1868–1869)
3.1 F. C. Donders (1818–1889)
An Outline of Psychology (1896)
3.2 E. B. Titchener (1867–1927)
Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)
3.3 Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)
Human Acquisition of Concepts for Sequential Patterns (1963)
3.4 Herbert Simon (1916–2001) and Kenneth Kotovsky (b. 1939)
About Behaviorism (1974)
3.5 B. F. Skinner (1904–1990)
Localization of Cognitive Operations in the Human Brain (1988)
3.6 Michael I. Posner (b. 1936), Steven F. Petersen (b. 1952), Peter T. Fox (b. 1951), and Marcus E. Raichle (b. 1937)
Notes Directed Against a Certain Programme (1648)
4.1 René Descartes (1596–1650)
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
4.2 John Locke (1632–1704)
The Origin of Species (1859)
4.3 Charles Darwin (1809–1882)
The Facts of Perception (1878)
4.4 Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894)
Instincts and Their Vicissitudes (1915)
4.5 Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)
What the Nursery Has to Say About Instincts (1926)
4.6 John Watson (1878–1958)
The Misbehavior of Organisms (1961)
4.7 Keller Breland (1915–1965) and Marian Breland (1920–2001)
Language and Mind (1968)
4.8 Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)
Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms (1923)
5.1 Max Wertheimer (1880–1943)
Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex (1927)
5.2 Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936)
Experiments in Social Space (1939)
5.3 Kurt Lewin (1890–1947)
Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men (1948)
5.4 Edward Chace Tolman (1886–1959)
Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory (1949)
5.5 Donald Hebb (1904–1985)
Cognitive Neuroscience and the Study of Memory (1998)
5.6 Brenda Milner (b. 1918), Larry R. Squire (b. 1941), and Eric R. Kandel (b. 1929)
Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812)
6.1 Benjamin Rush (1746–1813)
A Critique of Cultural and Statistical Concepts of Abnormality (1939)
6.2 Henry J. Wegrocki (1909–1967)
Neurosis and Human Growth (1950)
6.3 Karen Horney (1885–1952)
The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual (1957)
6.4 Evelyn Hooker (1907–1996)
The Myth of Mental Illness (1960)
6.5 Thomas S. Szasz (b. 1920)
Biological Psychiatry: Is There Any Other Kind? (1989)
6.6 Samuel B. Guze (1923–2000)
The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life (2002)
6.7 Corey L. M. Keyes (b. 1962)

"Through carefully selected and extensively annotated original sources, Foundations of Psychological Thought deals with some of the most important issues and ideas in the history of psychological thought."

Savannah Jones
Review Editor

"A wonderful resource collection of 'original source material.' I appreciate the cluster of readings by topic as well as the date."

James Uchtenberg
University of Kansas

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

This book presents an excellent collection of key original manuscripts. It serves as a starting point for a student's understanding and as a reference for future use.

Dr Laura Ritchie
Department of Music, Chichester University
June 13, 2012

This is an excellent resource which provides a varied and interesting choice of orginal research. Th discussion points at the end of each chapter provide a basis to consolidate learning

Ms Rose Envy
School of Social Science & Law, University of Teesside
January 23, 2012

An interesting and clear book

Mrs Fiona Wilkes
BA (HONS) Degree in Social Work, North East Worcestershire College
September 23, 2011

Went with another textbook.

Mr Ernesto Martello
Religious & Historical Studies, God's Calling
September 1, 2011

This text will provide students and those new to psychology with a useful overview of it’s history, foundations and main ideas.

Miss Arabella Ashfield
Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University
August 13, 2011
Key features
  • Readings are organized around persistent questions that have fundamentally defined and motivated psychological inquiry over the ages (how do we know the world, what is consciousness, how much of behavior is biologically determined, etc.). Such a thematic, "idea-based" topical organization (as opposed to straight chronological or "major schools" approaches) proves useful in showing how thinking on major psychological issues evolved.
  • Typical history of psychology texts barely make it past 1950, but to help students connect psychology's history with what they know about its present, this reader includes contemporary as well as historical readings, bringing students right up to the present.
  • Introductions and extensive annotations help set context for students and guide them in navigating sometimes complex ideas to help them get the most out of reading original sources. The annotations help students to draw psychological and historical significance from each reading, connect to other readings, and raise questions about the reading.
  • In addition to introductions and annotations, pedagogical elements include an annotated Further Reading section to give students a broad idea of other relevant people and ideas and Study Questions to help students reinforce understanding of the excerpt. These questions can also be used as written assignments or classroom discussion starters.

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