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Psychology Classics

The Psychology Classics on Kindle section of the All About Psychology website forms part of a wider initiative to make important, insightful and engaging psychology publications widely available.

This particular Kindle collection consists of the most influential, infamous and iconic research articles ever published in the history of psychology.


The Classic Psychology Kindle Collection


Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham H. Maslow

When Abraham H. Maslow introduced the world to Humanistic Theory, a 'third force' in psychology was born (Behaviorism & Psychoanalytical theory being the first and second). As the name suggests, humanistic theory concerns itself with characteristics which are distinctly human.

Arguably the best known example of such a characteristic is Self-Actualization, an innate motivating force unique to the human species. It was in this landmark publication that Maslow provided the first published representation of Self-Actualization at the pinnacle of a hierarchy of human needs. According to Maslow Self-Actualization refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, in essence to become everything that one is capable of becoming.

See following link for full details.

Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation


Conditioned Emotional Reactions by John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner

Conditioned Emotional Reactions by John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner is one of the most (in)famous psychology studies ever conducted. The study which became known worldwide as "The Case of Little Albert" attempted to show how fear could be induced in an infant through classical conditioning.

See following link for full details.

Conditioned Emotional Reactions: The Case of Little Albert


Play And its Role in The Mental Development of The Child by Lev Vygotsky

Despite his premature death at the age of just 37, Lev Vygotsky is widely considered as one of the leading developmental psychologists of the 20th century. In addition to his seminal contribution to the relationship between language and thought, Lev Vygotsky also put forward ideas regarding the psychology of play, in particular the process of self-regulation through creative play.

This classic article which was originally given in the form of a speech provides several key insights into Lev Vygotsky's theories of play.

See following link for full details.

Play And its Role in The Mental Development of The Child


Transmission of Aggression Through Imitation of Aggressive Models by Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura is widely regarded as the greatest living psychologist. As the originator of social cognitive theory, he helped shift the emphasis of psychology away from psychodynamic and classic behaviorist perspectives. In the early 1960's Albert Bandura began investigating aggression through imitation, research that gave rise to one of the most famous psychology experiments of all time. This classic publication is, therefore, essential reading for psychology students, educators and professionals.

See following link for full details.

Transmission of Aggression Through Imitation of Aggressive Models


Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance by Leon Festinger & James Carlsmith

If you study psychology there is a very good chance that you will be introduced to the theory of cognitive dissonance. This robust theory suggests that a motivational state of inner tension is triggered by logically inconsistent ways of thinking.

Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance by Leon Festinger & James Carlsmith was the first of numerous studies to corroborate the theory of cognitive dissonance. The premiss for this classic piece of research was to test what happens to a person's private opinion if he is forced to do or say something contrary to that opinion.

See following link for full details.

Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance


The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz

This classic article elevated Thomas Szasz into a position of international renown and controversy. According to Szasz, the concept of mental illness is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the premise that it is caused by nervous system disorders; in particular brain disorders which manifest themselves via abnormal thought patterns and behavior. To Thomas Szasz most cases of "mental illness" are routed within a social context, and are in fact problems of living, and should, therefore, be recognized as so.

See following link for full details.

The Myth of Mental Illness


Psychology As The Behaviorist Views It by John B Watson

First published in Psychological Review and originally presented as a lecture at Columbia University in 1913. "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It", would become known forever as the "behaviorist manifesto" and bestow on Watson the title of "father of behaviorism."

This classic publication is essential reading for psychology students, educators and professionals.

See following link for full details.

Psychology As The Behaviorist Views It


Defining The Field At A Given Time by Kurt Lewin

This Field Theory Classic by Kurt Lewin was originally presented as a paper at a Symposium on Psychology and Scientific Method held as part of the Sixth International Congress for the Unity of Science at The University of Chicago in 1941. At the time Lewin was arguing that Field theory was probably best characterized as a method of analyzing causal relations and of building scientific constructs.

See following link for full details.

Defining The Field At A Given Time


Heredity, Environment, and The Question "How?" by Anne Anastasi

Originally presented by Anne Anastasi as an address of the President (Division of General Psychology) of the American Psychological Association in 1957 and first published in psychological review the following year. This child psychology and nature nurture debate classic argues that the question "How?" offers a much more constructive approach to the heredity-environment problem; as opposed to the question "Which one?" or "How much?" typically posited by psychologists.

See following link for full details.

Heredity, Environment, and The Question "How?"


A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler: His Life and Legend by Walter C. Langer

In 1943 William Donovan the director of the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) approached Harvard psychologist Walter Langer and asked him to construct a psychological profile of Adolf Hitler.

Despite his reservations regarding the reliability of the data on which his analysis would be based, Langer set about this unprecedented task by putting together a team of psychologists and researchers. Langer and his research team had just five months to produce their findings, during which time they interviewed key informants who knew Hitler personally and drew upon over 1000 pages of background research from a document known as The Hitler Source Book.

A Classic in The History of Psychology

Langer's report on Adolf Hitler not only showcased the dominant discourse of psychological analysis at the time, but it also served as the catalyst for the development of political profiling as a discipline.

Freudianism at its Height

In constructing Hitler's psychological profile, Langer drew heavily upon the ideas of Sigmund Freud, most notably the developmental influence of early childhood experiences. As such the report provides the reader with a fascinating window into the mechanics of Freudian analysis.

Psychology Gets Political

Without doubt the greatest legacy of Langer's report was the influence it had on the field of political profiling. Dr Jerrold Post cites Langer's analysis of Hitler as the inspiration for the profiling unit he established at the CIA in the 1970s; a unit that would go on to profile every important world leader up to and including Saddam Hussein.

In discussing Langer's psychological profile of Hitler during an interview with the BBC, Post stated:

"We must understand the leaders we are contending with - you can't deter optimally a leader you don't understand - and to relegate be it a Hitler or a Joseph Stalin or a Saddam Hussein to a crazy evil madman really degrades our capacity to deal with them optimally because we're not thinking about what pushes them, what makes them tick."

While the value of political profiling remains open to question, the seminal importance of Langer's psychological study of Hitler in influencing the discipline is not.

A Word From The Editor

In the original report Hitler's first name is recorded as Adolph. In this newly edited version the more commonly used spelling of Adolf is used throughout.

See following link for full details.

A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler: His Life and Legend


Other Great Psychology on Kindle Collections


Psychotherapy Classics

About Psychotherapy Kindle Collection


Forensic Psychology, Serial Killer & FBI Profiling Classics

Information on Serial Killers


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