Four "Big Ideas" that Changed Psychology: Freud, Skinner, Piaget and the Brain Scientists
Wendy Dunn, James Y. Canfield Professor of Psychology
September 5, 12, 19, 26
Why do people act the way they do? How do we think about and understand ourselves and the world around us? In this four-week series, James Y. Canfield Professor of Psychology Wendy Dunn will explore these defining questions and introduce the “big ideas” that have guided research and development in the field of psychology. Each session will examine how a notable scientist or group of scientists revolutionized understandings of psychology. The series begins with Sigmund Freud and the psychodynamic revolution; moves on to B.F. Skinner and the behavioral revolution; then discusses Jean Piaget and the cognitive revolution; and concludes with the Brain Scientists and the current neuroscience revolution. As we learn about the contributions of these remarkable scientists, we will consider important questions like: How do unconscious motives and memories affect our daily behavior? Why do we do things contrary to our own best interest and that of others? Do humans have free will or are our choices governed by our environment? How can we best explain “higher order” thought processes like problem solving, creativity, and memory? How does the functioning of our brain create our sense of reality, self-concept, and human identity? In telling the story of psychology as a discipline, we will arrive at an understanding of the questions and answers that continue to define this field.