PSYE109 Historical and Conceptual Issues in Psychology, Part 1


The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the main facts that made the history of psychology as we know it today. Special attention will be paid to some perennial questions about human nature, the strive for scientific rigor, and the pressure of changing societal needs which have shaped the development of psychological thought since Antiquity till present days.

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Psychology (in English)


Prof. Lilia Gurova, PhD

Course Description:


On the completion of the course students will have knowledge about

- the different approaches to the history of psychology;

- the main schools and research traditions as well as the key figures that have contributed to the development of psychological knowledge and the research methods in psychology.

Proficiency in English at level B2.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. ntroduction: The Perennial Questions of Psychology and Their Historically Changing Answers. Why and How to Study Them?
  2. Where Did It All Start? The Psychological Thought in Antiquity and Middle Ages.
  3. The Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century: The Birth of Modern Science.
  4. On the Road to Scientific Psychology: The Invention of Psychophysics.
  5. The First Attempts to Establish Psychology as an Independent Discipline: W. Wundt and W. James.
  6. Branching into Different Schools: Psychoanalysis, Gestalt Psychology, Genetic Epistemology.
  7. Strengthening the Scientific Standing of Psychology: Behaviorism and Cognitive Psychology.
  8. The Input from Brain Research
  9. DISCUSSION: Mind, Brain, and Behavior: How Do They Interact? Why Is It Important to Know That?
  10. The Development of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Psychology.
  11. The Development of Applied Psychology.
  12. Student presentations


Main Readings

Brysbaert, M., Rastle, K. (2009). Historical and Conceptual Issues in Psychology. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Hergenhahn, B. R. (2009). An Introduction to the History of Psychology. 6th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Tyson, P. J., Jones, D., Elcock, J. (2011). Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates. Oxford: Wiley & Sons.

Additional Readings

Cowels, M. (2001). Statistics in Psychology. A Historical Perspective. London: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Leahey, T. H. (2012). A History of Psychology: From Antiquity to Modernity. 7th edition. London: Prentice-Hall.

Mandler, G. (2007). A History of Modern Experimental Psychology. From James and Wundt to Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Michel, J. (1999). Measurement in Psychology. Critical History of a Methodological Concept. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Pickren, W., Rutherford, A. (2010). A History of Modern Psychology in Context. London: Wiley & Sons.

Robinson, D. (1995). An Intellectual History of Psychology. London: Wiley & Sons.


50% - Test

50% - 10 min oral presentation related to the topics 2-11.