History of Psychology

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSUS1PS7034

Course Coordinator and Team: Mr. Vikas Deepak

E-mail of course coordinator: vikasdeepak[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Prerequisites: Students must have completed Understanding Personality course

Aim: History of Psychology is a course that reviews the progression of psychological thought and inquiry culminating towards the distinctive location of this discipline at the cusp of science and humanities. As an academic and social scientist, the student will be encouraged to adopt a critical lens in understanding how the history of mind has come to shape the contemporary mind and subjectivity. As a practitioner, the student will learn to use this knowledge of history to develop a sensitive outlook towards, and engagement with, those who have been historically othered and marginalized

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Psychology, history, epistemology, science (Week 1)

This module discusses questions of historiography and epistemology to set the ground for the course.

The mind at the turn of the 19th century (Week 2-3)

In this module students will learn about the emergence of Psychology from the discipline of Philosophy and Physiology. The significance of Psychophysics as a first scientific attempt to answer philosophical questions will be highlighted.

Birth of Psychology: The first schools (Week 4)

Associationism, Structuralism, Functionalism- A brief introduction to these historical schools and their contributions will be emphasised. The work of Wundt and James will be highlighted.

The Clinical Tradition (Week 5, 6)

Freud, Jung and Adler- The emergence of the clinical tradition of Psychology and the emphasis on unconscious sources of motivation will be the focus of this unit. The primary focus of the unit will be on the contributions and limitations of Freudian Psychoanalysis.

Behaviourism: From Watson to Skinner (Week 7, 8)

This unit introduces students to the emergence of Behaviourism. The emphasis will be on Watson’s environmental and deterministic metaphysics along with his emphasis on learning as a domain of enquiry and experimentation as a method. The role of Behaviourism in the development of Psychology as a discipline will be critically discussed.

Phenomenology and the Gestalt School (Week 9)

The phenomenological work of the Gestalt Psychologists on perception will be discussed as an alternative to Behaviourism that paved the way for the emergence of Cognitive Psychology

Third Force Psychology: Existentialism, Humanism (Week 10,11)

This unit will take students through the work of phenomenological tradition applied to the domain of self and personality. The students will learn about the critiques of Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis as developed by the Third Force and their attempt to forge an alternative basis for Psychology

Issues in Contemporary Psychology (Week 12)

In this module students will be given a preliminary understanding of some new developments in Psychology including the emphasis on Cognition, the turn towards narratives, culturally derived Psychologies and Critical traditions in Psychology

Assessment Details with Weights

S. No.AssessmentDate/Period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
1Class TestMid-September30%
2Home AssignmentEnd-October35%
3End Semester ExamAs per AUD academic calendar35%


  • Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (2007). A Brief History of Modern Psychology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing
  • Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (Ed.). (2009). A History of Psychology: Original Sources and Contemporary Research (3rded.).
  • Hergenhahn, B. R. (2009). An Introduction to the History of Psychology (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
  • Leahey T (2013) History of Psychology, A: From Antiquity to Modernity, 7th Edition Wertheimer, M. (2000). A brief history of psychology (4th Edition).