Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Piaget’s Theories

The 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four different stages of mental development. His theory focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge, but also on understanding the nature of intelligence. Piaget’s stages are:

  • Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
  • Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
  • Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
  • Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up

Piaget believed that children take an active role in the learning process, acting much like little scientists as they perform experiments, make observations, and learn about the world. As kids interact with the world around them, they continually add new knowledge, build upon existing knowledge, and adapt previously held ideas to accommodate new information.


The Sensorimotor Stage
Ages: Birth to 2 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • The infant knows the world through their movements and sensations.
  • Children learn about the world through basic actions such as sucking, grasping, looking, and listening.
  • Infants learn that things continue to exist even though they cannot be seen (object permanence).
  • They are separate beings from the people and objects around them.
  • They realize that their actions can cause things to happen in the world around them.

The Preoperational Stage
Ages: 2 to 7 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • Children begin to think symbolically and learn to use words and pictures to represent objects.
  • Children at this stage tend to be egocentric and struggle to see things from the perspective of others.
  • While they are getting better with language and thinking, they still tend to think about things in very concrete terms.

The Concrete Operational Stage
Ages: 7 to 11 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes

  • During this stage, children begin to thinking logically about concrete events.
  • They begin to understand the concept of conservation; that the amount of liquid in a short, wide cup is equal to that in a tall, skinny glass, for example.
  • Their thinking becomes more logical and organized, but still very concrete.
  • Children begin using inductive logic, or reasoning from specific information to a general principle.

The Formal Operational Stage
Ages: 12 and Up

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • At this stage, the adolescent or young adult begins to think abstractly and reason about hypothetical problems.
  • Abstract thought emerges.
  • Teens begin to think more about moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political issues that require theoretical and abstract reasoning.
  • Begin to use deductive logic, or reasoning from a general principle to specific information.

Genetic epistemology

Piaget identified himself as a genetic epistemologist. “What the genetic epistemology proposes is discovering the roots of the different varieties of knowledge, since its elementary forms, following to the next levels, including also the scientific knowledge,” he explained in his book Genetic Epistemology.Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the origin, nature, extent and limits of human knowledge. He was interested not only in the nature of thought, but in how it develops and understanding how genetics impact this process.His early work with Binet’s intelligence tests had led him to conclude that children think differently than adults. While this is a widely accepted notion today, it was considered revolutionary at the time. It was this observation that inspired his interest in understand how knowledge grows throughout childhood.

He suggested that children sort the knowledge they acquire through their experiences and interactions into groupings known as schemas. When new information is acquired, it can either be assimilated into existing schemas or accomodated through revising and existing schema or creating an entirely new category of information.Today, he is best known for his research on children’s cognitive development. Piaget studied the intellectual development of his own three children and created a theory that described the stages that children pass through in the development of intelligence and formal thought processes.

The theory identifies four stages:

  1. The sensorimotor stage: The first stage of development lasts from birth to approximately age two. At this point in development, children know the world primarily through their senses and motor movements.
  2. The preoperational stage: The second stage of development lasts from the ages of two to seven and is characterized by the development of language and the emergence of symbolic play.
  3. The concrete operational stage: The third stage of cognitive development lasts from the ages of seven to approximately age 11. At this point, logical thought emerges but children still struggle with abstract and theoretical thinking.
  4. The formal operation stage: In the fourth and final stage of cognitive development, lasting from age 12 and into adulthood, children become much more adept and abstract thought and deductive reasoning.
Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Jean Piaget

220px-Jean_Piaget_in_Ann_Arbor.pngJean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist and genetic epistemologist. He is most famously known for his theory of cognitive development that looked at how children develop intellectually throughout the course of childhood. Prior to Piaget’s theory, children were often thought of simply as mini-adults. Instead, Piaget suggested that the way children think is fundamentally different from the way that adults think.

His theory had a tremendous influence on emergence of developmental psychology as a distinctive subfield within psychology and contributed greatly to the field of education. He is also credited as a pioneer of the constructivist theory, which suggests that people actively construct their knowledge of the world based on the interactions between their ideas and their experiences.

Piaget was ranked as the second most influential psychologist of the twentieth-century in one 2002 survey.


Piaget’s Life in a Nutshell

  • Jean Piaget was born to Arthur Piaget and Rebecca Jackson in Switzerland.
  • 1925 : psychology, sociology and history of science at Neuchâtel from 1925 to 1929.
  • 1927 : Piaget’s second child is born.
  • 1929 : The International Bureau of Education from 1929 to 1967.
  • 1929 : Chairman of history of scientific thinking at Geneva from 1929 to 1939.
  • 1938 : Chairman of Psychology and Sociology at Lausanne from 1938 to 1951.
  • 1939 : Chairman of Sociology at Geneva from 1939 to 1952.
  • 1940 : Chairman of Genetic and Experimental Psychology from 1940 to 1971.
Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Albert Bandura – Best Known For

Bobo Doll Experiment

bobo_APS_isolatedIn 1961, children in APS Fellow Albert Bandura’s laboratory witnessed an adult beating up an inflatable clown. The doll, called Bobo, was the opposite of menacing with its wide, ecstatic grin and goofy clown outfit.

But when it was their own turn to play with Bobo, children who witnessed an adult pummeling the doll were likely to show aggression too. Similar to their adult models, the children kicked the doll, hit it with a mallet, and threw it in the air. They even came up with new ways to hurt Bobo, such as throwing darts or aiming a toy gun at him. Children who were exposed to a non-aggressive adult or no model at all had far less aggression toward Bobo.

Bandura’s findings challenged the widely accepted behaviorist view that rewards and punishments are essential to learning. He suggested that people could learn by observing and imitating others’ behavior.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory is a theory of learning and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others. It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement. In addition to the observation of behavior, learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. When a particular behavior is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist; conversely, if a particular behavior is constantly punished, it will most likely desist. The theory expands on traditional behavioral theories, in which behavior is governed solely by reinforcements, by placing emphasis on the important roles of various internal processes in the learning individual.

There are three core concepts at the heart of social learning theory.

  1. People can learn through observation.
  2. Mental states are important to learning.
  3. Learning does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior.

The following steps are involved in the observational learning and modeling process:

  • Attention: In order to learn, you need to be paying attention. Anything that distracts your attention is going to have a negative effect on observational learning. If the model is interesting or there is a novel aspect of the situation, you are far more likely to dedicate your full attention to learning.
  • Retention: The ability to store information is also an important part of the learning process. Retention can be affected by a number of factors, but the ability to pull up information later and act on it is vital to observational learning.
  • Reproduction: Once you have paid attention to the model and retained the information, it is time to actually perform the behavior you observed. Further practice of the learned behavior leads to improvement and skill advancement.
  • Motivation: Finally, in order for observational learning to be successful, you have to be motivated to imitate the behavior that has been modeled. Reinforcement and punishment play an important role in motivation. While experiencing these motivators can be highly effective, so can observing others experiencing some type of reinforcement or punishment. For example, if you see another student rewarded with extra credit for being to class on time, you might start to show up a few minutes early each day.


According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel.Since Bandura published his seminal 1977 paper, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” the subject has become one of the most studied topics in psychology. Why has self-efficacy become such an important topic among psychologists and educators? As Bandura and other researchers have demonstrated, self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behavior to motivation.

Our belief in our own ability to succeed plays a role in how we think, how we act, and how we feel about our place in the world. Self-efficacy also determines what goals we choose to pursue, how we go about accomplishing those goals, and how we reflect upon our own performance.How does self-efficacy develop? These beliefs begin to form in early childhood as children deal with a wide variety of experiences, tasks, and situations. However, the growth of self-efficacy does not end during youth but continues to evolve throughout life as people acquire new skills, experiences, and understanding.

According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy:

  1. Mastery Experiences : “The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
  2. Social Modeling : Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed.”
  3. Social Persuasion : Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.
  4. Psychological Responses : Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations.

Observational Learning

Observational learning is sometimes also referred to as shaping, modeling, and vicarious reinforcement. While it can take place at any point in life, it tends to be the most common during childhood as children learn from the authority figures and peers in their lives.It also plays an important role in the socialization process, as children learn how to behave and respond to others by observing how their parents and other caregivers interact with each other and with other people.Psychologist Albert Bandura is the researcher perhaps most often identified with learning through observation. He and other researchers have demonstrated that we are naturally inclined to engage in observational learning. In fact, children as young as 21 days old have been shown to imitate facial expressions and mouth movements.

If you’ve ever made faces at an infant and watched them try to mimic your funny expressions, then you certainly understand how observational learning can be such a powerful force even from a very young age. Bandura’s social learning theory stresses the importance of observational learning.In his famous Bobo doll experiment, Bandura demonstrated that young children would imitate the violent and aggressive actions of an adult model. In the experiment, children observed a film in which an adult repeatedly hit a large, inflatable balloon doll. After viewing the film clip, children were allowed to play in a room with a real Bobo doll just like the one they saw in the film.What Bandura found was that children were more likely to imitate the adult’s violent actions when the adult either received no consequences or when the adult was actually rewarded for their violent actions. Children who saw film clips in which the adult was punished for this aggressive behaviorwere less likely to repeat the behaviors later on.



Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Albert Bandura

220px-Albert_Bandura_Psychologist.jpgAlbert Bandura has been responsible for contributions to the field of education and to several fields of psychology, including social cognitive theory, therapy, and personality psychology, and was also of influence in the transition between behaviorism and cognitive psychology. He is known as the originator of social learning theory (renamed the social cognitive theory) and the theoretical construct of self-efficacy, and is also responsible for the influential 1961 Bobo doll experiment. This Bobo doll experiment demonstrated the concept of observational learning.

Social cognitive theory is how people learn through observing others. An example of social cognitive theory would be the students imitating the teacher. Self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” To paraphrase, self-efficacy is believing in yourself to take action. The Bobo Doll Experiment was how Albert Bandura studied aggression and non-aggression in children.

A 2002 survey ranked Bandura as the fourth most-frequently cited psychologist of all time, behind B. F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget, and as the most cited living one. Bandura is widely described as the greatest living psychologist, and as one of the most influential psychologists of all time.

In 1974 Bandura was elected to be the Eighty-Second President of the American Psychological Association (APA). He was one of the youngest president-elects in the history of the APA at the age of 48. Bandura served as a member of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs from 1968 to 1970 and is well known as a member of the editorial board of nine psychology journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology from 1963 to 1972.At the age of 82, Bandura was awarded the Grawemeyer Award for psychology.


Bandura’s Life in a Nutshell

  • The birth of albert bandura
  • Albert Bandura received his B.A
  • Received PhD from University of Iowa. Married Virginia Varns (and they raised two daughters, Carol and Mary)
  • Starts teaching at Stanford University
  • Published adolescent aggression
  • bobo doll experiment
  • Bobo doll experiment
  • Published social learning and personality development
  • Published principle of behavior modification
  • 1974  : President, American Psychological Association
  • Published social learning theory
  • Published social foundation of thought and action
  • Published social cognitive theory
  • Published social efficacy in changing societies
  • 2004 : Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology, American Psychological Association
  • Social cognitive theory goes global
Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Client-Centered Therapy

Client-centered therapy, also known as person-centered therapy, is a non-directive form of talk therapy that was developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers during the 1940s and 1950s.Carl Rogers is widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th-century. He was a humanist thinker and believed that people are fundamentally good. Rogers also suggested that people have an actualizing tendency, or a desire to fulfill their potential and become the best people that they can be.

Rogers initially started out calling his technique non-directive therapy. While his goal was to be as non-directive as possible, he eventually realized that therapists guide clients even in subtle ways. He also found that clients often do look to their therapists for some type of guidance or direction. Eventually, the technique came to be known as client-centered therapy or person-centered therapy. Today, Rogers’ approach to therapy is often referred to by either of these two names, but it is also frequently known simply as Rogerian therapy.

It is also important to note that Rogers was deliberate in his use of the term client rather than patient. He believed that the term patient implied that the individual was sick and seeking a cure from a therapist. By using the term client instead, Rogers emphasized the importance of the individual in seeking assistance, controlling their destiny, and overcoming their difficulties. This self-direction plays a vital part of client-centered therapy.

Much like psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Rogers believed that the therapeutic relationship could lead to insights and lasting changes in clients. While Freud focused on offering interpretations of what he believed were the unconscious conflicts that led to a client’s troubles, Rogers believed that the therapist should remain non-directive. That is to say, the therapist should not direct the client, should not pass judgments on the client’s feelings, and should not offer suggestions or solutions. Instead, the client should be an equal partner in the therapeutic process.

Core Conditions

Client-centered therapy operates according to three basic principles that reflect the attitude of the therapist to the client:

  1. The therapist is congruent with the client.
  2. The therapist provides the client with unconditional positive regard.
  3. The therapist shows empathetic understanding to the client.

Congruence in Counseling

Congruence is also called genuineness.  Congruence is the most important attribute in counseling, according to Rogers.  This means that, unlike the psychodynamic therapist who generally maintains a ‘blank screen’ and reveals little of their own personality in therapy, the Rogerian is keen to allow the client to experience them as they really are.The therapist does not have a façade (like psychoanalysis), that is, the therapist’s internal and external experiences are one in the same.  In short, the therapist is authentic.


Unconditional Positive Regard

The next Rogerian core condition is unconditional positive regard.  Rogers believed that for people to grow and fulfill their potential it is important that they are valued as themselves. This refers to the therapist’s deep and genuine caring for the client.  The therapist may not approve of some of the client’s actions, but the therapist does approve of the client. In short, the therapist needs an attitude of “I’ll accept you as you are.”  The person-centered counselor is thus careful to always maintain a positive attitude to the client, even when disgusted by the client’s actions.

Rogers explained:

“Unconditional positive regard means that when the therapist is experiencing a positive, acceptant attitude toward whatever the client is at that moment, therapeutic movement or change is more likely. It involves the therapist’s willingness for the client to be whatever feeling is going on at that moment – confusion, resentment, fear, anger, courage, love, or pride…The therapist prizes the client in a total rather than a conditional way.”


Empathy is the ability to understand what the client is feeling.  This refers to the therapist’s ability to understand sensitively and accurately [but not sympathetically] the client’s experience and feelings in the here-and-now. The therapist needs to be reflective, acting as a mirror of the client’s feelings and thoughts. The goal of this is to allow the client to gain a clearer understanding of their own inner thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.An important part of the task of the person-centered counselor is to follow precisely what the client is feeling and to communicate to them that the therapist understands what they are feeling.

In the words of Rogers (1975), accurate empathic understanding is as follows:

‘If I am truly open to the way life is experienced by another person…if I can take his or her world into mine, then I risk seeing life in his or her way…and of being changed myself, and we all resist change. Since we all resist change, we tend to view the other person’s world only in our terms, not in his or hers. Then we analyze and evaluate it.  We do not understand their world. But, when the therapist does understand how it truly feels to be in another person’s world, without wanting or trying to analyze or judge it, then the therapist and the client can truly blossom and grow in that climate’.


Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Theories of Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was a humanistic psychologist who agreed with the main assumptions of Abraham Maslow, but added that for a person to “grow”, they need an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood).Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not grow without sunlight and water.

Rogers believed that every person could achieve their goals, wishes, and desires in life. When, or rather if they did so, self actualization took place.  This was one of Carl Rogers most important contributions to psychology, and for a person to reach their potential a number of factors must be satisfied.

Self Actualization


“As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves.”

Carl Rogers  believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize – i.e., to fulfill one’s potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can. People will flourish and reach their potential if their environment is good enough.People are meant to develop in different ways according to their  personality.  Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative.

Carl Rogers believed that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e., who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image).  Rogers describes an individual who is actualizing as a fully functioning person. The main determinant of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood experience.

The Fully Functioning Person

Rogers believed that every person could achieve their goal. This means that the person is in touch with the here and now, his or her subjective experiences and feelings, continually growing and changing.In many ways, Rogers regarded the fully functioning person as an ideal and one that people do not ultimately achieve. It is wrong to think of this as an end or completion of life’s journey; rather it is a process of always becoming and changing.

Rogers identified five characteristics of the fully functioning person:

  1. Open to experience: both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative feelings are not denied, but worked through (rather than resorting to ego defense mechanisms).
  2. Existential living: in touch with different experiences as they occur in life, avoiding prejudging and preconceptions. Being able to live and fully appreciate the present, not always looking back to the past or forward to the future (i.e., living for the moment).
  3. Trust feelings: feeling, instincts, and gut-reactions are paid attention to and trusted. People’s own decisions are the right ones, and we should trust ourselves to make the right choices.
  4. Creativity: creative thinking and risk-taking are features of a person’s life. A person does not play safe all the time. This involves the ability to adjust and change and seek new experiences.
  5. Fulfilled life: a person is happy and satisfied with life, and always looking for new challenges and experiences.


For Rogers, fully functioning people are well adjusted, well balanced and interesting to know. Often such people are high achievers in society.Critics claim that the fully functioning person is a product of Western culture. In other cultures, such as Eastern cultures, the achievement of the group is valued more highly than the achievement of any one person.


Personality Development

Central to Rogers’ personality theory is the notion of self or self-concept.  This is defined as “the organized, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself.”The self is the humanistic term for who we really are as a person.  The self is our inner personality, and can be likened to the soul, or Freud’s psyche.  The self is influenced by the experiences a person has in their life, and out interpretations of those experiences.  Two primary sources that influence our self-concept are childhood experiences and evaluation by others.

According to Rogers , we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self.  The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth. A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image.The humanistic approach states that the self is composed of concepts unique to ourselves.

The self-concept includes three components:

  • Self-worth : Self-worth (or self-esteem) comprises what we think about ourselves. Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and father.
  • Self-image : How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image includes the influence of our body image on inner personality.At a simple level, we might perceive ourselves as a good or bad person, beautiful or ugly. Self-image affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves in the world.
  • Ideal-self : This is the person who we would like to be. It consists of our goals and ambitions in life, and is dynamic – i.e., forever changing.The ideal self in childhood is not the ideal self in our teens or late twenties etc.

Positive Regard and Self Worth

Carl Rogers  viewed the child as having two basic needs: positive regard from other people and self-worth.How we think about ourselves, our feelings of self-worth are of fundamental importance both to psychological health and to the likelihood that we can achieve goals and ambitions in life and achieve self-actualization.Self-worth may be seen as a continuum from very high to very low.  For Carl Rogers  a person who has high self-worth, that is, has confidence and positive feelings about him or herself, faces challenges in life, accepts failure and unhappiness at times, and is open with people.A person with low self-worth may avoid challenges in life, not accept that life can be painful and unhappy at times, and will be defensive and guarded with other people.Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and father. As a child grows older, interactions with significant others will affect feelings of self-worth.Rogers believed that we need to be regarded positively by others; we need to feel valued, respected, treated with affection and loved. Positive regard is to do with how other people evaluate and judge us in social interaction. Rogers made a distinction between unconditional positive regard and conditional positive regard.

  • Unconditional Positive Regard : Unconditional positive regard is where parents, significant others (and the humanist therapist) accepts and loves the person for what he or she is.  Positive regard is not withdrawn if the person does something wrong or makes a mistake. The consequences of unconditional positive regard are that the person feels free to try things out and make mistakes, even though this may lead to getting it worse at times.People who are able to self-actualize are more likely to have received unconditional positive regard from others, especially their parents in childhood.
  • Conditional Positive Regard : Conditional positive regard is where positive regard, praise, and approval, depend upon the child, for example, behaving in ways that the parents think correct.Hence the child is not loved for the person he or she is, but on condition that he or she behaves only in ways approved by the parent(s). At the extreme, a person who constantly seeks approval from other people is likely only to have experienced conditional positive regard as a child.


A person’s ideal self may not be consistent with what actually happens in life and experiences of the person. Hence, a difference may exist between a person’s ideal self and actual experience. This is called incongruence.Where a person’s ideal self and actual experience are consistent or very similar, a state of congruence exists. Rarely, if ever, does a total state of congruence exist; all people experience a certain amount of incongruence.


The development of congruence is dependent on unconditional positive regard. Carl Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence.According to Rogers, we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self.The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth. A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image.


Incongruence is “a discrepancy between the actual experience of the organism and the self-picture of the individual insofar as it represents that experience.As we prefer to see ourselves in ways that are consistent with our self-image, we may use defense mechanisms like denial or repression in order to feel less threatened by some of what we consider to be our undesirable feelings.  A person whose self-concept is incongruent with her or his real feelings and experiences will defend because the truth hurts.


Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers was an American psychologist known for his influential psychotherapy method known as client-centered therapy. Rogers was one of the founding figures of humanistic psychology and widely regarded as one of the most eminent thinkers in psychology. In one survey of professional psychologists, Rogers was ranked as the sixth most eminent psychologist of the 20th-century.


Carl Rogers was a psychologist and educator who along with Abraham Maslow founded the Humanistic Approach’ to psychology. .As a teenager, living on a farm nurtured an interest in agriculture which later led to an interest in science, but he also developed a special compassion and understanding for people. He was a very good listener, but it took him some time to find his own path. He changed his major three times before settling on clinical psychology. He rejected the dominant approaches to Psychotherapy and Psychology of the time based on his experience with troubled children, and started developing his own approach. He worked as psychotherapist while teaching, which gave him unique opportunities to explore his ideas. His Person-Centered approach would end up turning the fields of Psychotherapy and Psychology upside down. The approach transferred equally well to education, industry, and conflict resolution. Believing the therapist and client to be equals, his approach changed forever the therapist-client relationship. He believed strongly that, with help, people are capable of understanding their own problems and figuring out how to solve them for themselves. He was relentless in researching, testing, and understanding his approach and the human mind.


Roger’s life in a nutshell

1902 (January 8th) : Born in Oak Park, Chicago to Walter Rogers and his wife, Julia Cushing. Carl was the fourth of six children.

1919 (September) : Attended University of Wisconsin where he studied agriculture

1921 (September) : Changed course and began studying History at the University of Wisconsin.

1924  : Attended the Union Theological Seminary, New York, with a view to becoming a church minister.

1924 (August 28th) : Married Helen Elliot.

1926  : Decided against Religion as a career and went to study Psychology at Teachers College, University of Columbia.

1928 : He became a child psychologist at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. During his work in the Child Study Department, his theories about personality began to develop.

1931 (March 20th) : Gained PhD in Psychotherapy from Columbia University.

1939 :  based on his work with disadvantaged and often distressed children at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, he published his first book, ‘The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child’.

1940 (December 11th) : Made a speech to the University of Minnesota’s Psychological Honors Society and client-centered therapy is explained for the first time.

1942 : he released ‘Counseling and Psychotherapy’ where he described his ‘non-directive approach’ including full transcripts of his therapy sessions with his client, Herbert Bryan.

1951 (onwards) : Roger’s theories were centred around the Nineteen Propositions, client centred counselling and the use of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR).

1961  : Published ‘On Becoming a Person’, a collection of writings and lectures from the past 10 years. In this book, he described how he developed his person-centered approach to therapy.

1968  : Formed the Center for Studies of the Person (CSP).

1987 (February 4th) : Died in La Jolla, California.

Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and his subsequent book Motivation and Personality. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.While some of the existing schools of thought at the time (such as psychoanalysis and behaviorism) tended to focus on problematic behaviors, Maslow was much more interested in learning about what makes people happy and the things that they do to achieve that aim.

As a humanist, Maslow believed that people have an inborn desire to be self-actualized, that is, to be all they can be. In order to achieve these ultimate goals, however, a number of more basic needs must be met such as the need for food, safety, love, and self-esteem.There are five different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Let’s take a closer look at Maslow’s needs starting at the lowest level, which are known as physiological needs.

From Basic to More Complex Needs

One of Maslow’s lasting and most significant contributions to psychology is what he calls the “hierarchy of needs.” In his quest to understand human motivation and the pursuit of happiness, he formulated a list of basic human needs that had to be fulfilled for maximum psychological health. Through his interviews and studies, he came to categorize a hierarchical list of needs that need be fulfilled for increasing life satisfaction:

maslow's hierarchy of needs

1. Physiological Needs

The Physiological Needs such as breathing, food, drink, sleep, sex, excretion are largely (and obviously) biological and physical requirements. When they are not fulfilled, people become preoccupied with filling those needs above all else.

For example, starving people in a war zone can be oblivious to danger when in search of food (Maslow, 1987, pp. 15-17).

2. Safety needs

Once the basic needs are fulfilled, other needs invariably arise (Maslow, 1987, pp. 17-18). In Maslow’s hierarchy, the safety needs come after the physiological needs. Maslow used the word “safety” to mean more than just physical safety. Economic, social, vocational, psychological security all fall underneath this second tier of human needs. While safety needs are less immediate or demanding than the physiological needs, when one loses one’s job, family, home, life savings, health insurance, etc, one is likely to feel terribly insecure and unprotected.

Fulfilling the safety needs might be likened to providing a bumper or airbags on a car; while you don’t always need them, having them gives you some confidence that you can face minor bumps and bruises along the road of life (Maslow, 1987, pp. 18-20).

3. Belongingness and love needs

As social beings, family, friendships and intimate connections get many people through the ups and downs of life. Numerous studies have shown that the healthiest, happiest people tend to be more involved in their communities. While there is debate on whether one causes the other is unclear, there is some sense that having wider social connections and relationships are an important part of being happy.

Lack of interactions, human relationships and the sense of belonging may result in depression or loneliness while an abundance of love and community often sustain people through difficult times (Maslow, 1987, pp. 20-21).

4. Esteem needs

Maslow felt there was a clear distinction between love and respect or esteem. He felt that an ability to feel self-esteem and personal uniqueness sprung from being loved and embraced by families and communities. As individuals, we naturally wish to excel or be exceptional, to be noticed for our unique talents and capabilities.

Once one has some measure of self-esteem and confidence, one gains the psychological freedom to be creative and to grow as well as to be more generous to others (Maslow, 1987, pp. 21-22).


5. Self-Actualization

What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.

This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. (Maslow, 1954, Motivation and Personality,  p. 93)

The top ‘pier’ of Maslow’s hierarchy is dubbed “self-actualization.” Maslow studied happy people in order to determine what it was that made them happy or, self-actualized (Maslow, 1987, p. 22).

Self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and practically all its aspects, while most other people enjoy only stray moments of triumph … (Maslow, 1999, p. 37)

Maslow refers to peak experiences as the experience of happiness. He notes above that self-actualized people tend to experience a steadier, grounded sense of well-being and satisfaction with life. According to Maslow, self-actualizing people perceive reality accurately; they have a sense of awe, wonder and gratitude about life. They are not self-centered but rather problem-centered and focus on how to improve and are not deficiency-centered. They are independent thinkers and are not overly influenced by the general culture. Their sense of humor is not sarcastic or hurtful but rather “life-affirming” with a philosophical sense of humor. They have a deeply felt sense of kinship with the human race.


Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist perhaps best known as one of the founders of humanistic psychology and for his famous hierarchy of needs. Maslow felt that Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and Skinner’s behavioral theory were too focused on the negative or pathological aspects of existence and neglected all of the potential and creativity that human beings possess.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggested that people have a number of needs, and as these needs are met they are able to go on to pursue other needs. The needs at the base of his hierarchy are more basic in nature, gradually moving up into more social, emotional and self-actualizing needs as one moves up the hierarchy.


Maslow’s life in a nutshell

Abraham Maslow was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He was the eldest of seven children. His parents were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia. He was slow and tidy, and remembered his childhood as lonely and rather unhappy, because, as he said, “I was the little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighborhood.. I grew up in libraries and among books, without friends.”

maslow-hierachy-of-needs-min.jpgHis studies of human behavior and ideas from other psychologists led to extensive writing and research.Maslow’s contributions led to recognition as a humanistic psychologist, and some new theories to go with it.

Abraham Maslow died in June of 1970, of a heart attack.

Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

B.F Skinner : Contributions

Skinner was a prolific author, publishing nearly 200 articles and more than 20 books. While behaviorism is no longer a dominant school of thought, his work in operant conditioning remains vital today. Mental health professionals often utilize operant techniques when working with clients, teachers frequently use reinforcement and punishment to shape behavior in the classroom, and animal trainers rely heavily on these techniques to train dogs and other animals. Skinner’s remarkable legacy has left both a lasting mark on psychology and numerous other fields ranging from philosophy to education.Here are some contributions of Skinner.

Operant Conditioning

During his time at Harvard, Skinner became interested in studying human behavior in an objective and scientific way. He developed what he referred to as an operant conditioning apparatus, which later become known as a “Skinner box.” The device was a chamber that contained a bar or key that an animal could press in order to receive food, water, or some other form of reinforcement.

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It was during this time at Harvard that he also invented the cumulative recorder, a device that recorded responses as a sloped line. By looking at the slope of the line, which indicated the rate of response, Skinner was able to see that response rates depended upon what happened after the animal pressed the bar. That is, higher response rates followed rewards while lower response rates followed a lack of rewards. The device also allowed Skinner to see that the schedule of reinforcement that was used also influenced the rate of response.

Using this device, he found that behavior did not depend on the preceding stimulus as Watson and Pavlov maintained. Instead, Skinner found that behaviors were dependent on what happens after the response. Skinner called this operant behavior.Skinner identified reinforcement as any event that strengthens the behavior it follows. The two types of reinforcement he identified were positive reinforcement (favorable outcomes such as reward or praise) and negative reinforcement (the removal of unfavorable outcomes).

Project Pigeon

Skinner took a teaching position at the University of Minnesota following his marriage. While teaching at the University of Minnesota and during the height of World War II, Skinner became interested in helping with the war effort. He received funding for a project that involved training pigeons to guide bombs since no missile guidance systems existed at the time.


In “Project Pigeon,” as it was called, pigeons were placed in the nose cone of a missile and were trained to peck at a target that would then direct the missile toward the intended target. The project never came to fruition, since the development of radar was also underway, although Skinner had considerable success working with the pigeons. While the project was eventually canceled, it did lead to some interesting findings and Skinner was even able to teach the pigeons to play ping-pong.

The Baby Tender


In 1943, B.F. Skinner also invented the “baby tender” at the request of his wife. It is important to note that the baby tender is not the same as the “Skinner box,” which was used in Skinner’s experimental research. Skinner was fond of inventions, and having children gave him a new outlet for his tendencies. He designed a special crib for his infant daughter called “the baby tender.” The clear box, with air holes, was heated so that the baby didn’t need blankets. Unlike typical cribs, there were no slats in the sides, which he said prevented possible injury. Unsurprisingly, it did not catch on popularly.


Teaching Machines

Skinner also developed an interest in education and teaching after attending his daughter math class in 1953. Skinner noted that none of the students received any sort of immediate feedback on their performance. Some students struggled and were unable to complete the problems while others finished quickly but really didn’t learn anything new. Instead, Skinner believed that the best approach would be to create some sort of device that would shape behavior, offering incremental feedback until a desired response was achieved.

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He started by developing a math teaching machine that offered immediate feedback after each problem. However, this initial device did not actually teach new skills. Eventually, he was able to develop a machine that delivered incremental feedback and presented material in a series of small steps until students acquired new skills, a process known as programmed instruction. Skinner later published a collection of his writings on teaching and education titled The Technology of Teaching.