Article image

18 Insights From Famous Psychologists

The history of psychology — the scientific study of behavior and mental processes — dates back to the ancient civilizations of the world, from Egypt to Greece to China. In ancient Greece, for example, philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle tackled the workings of the mind. The word “psychology” itself comes from the Greek word psyche, meaning spirit or soul, and logia, meaning to study or research.

Psychology as a field of study in its own right developed in the early 19th century. It then grew in stature and influence with the rise of psychoanalysis, driven by two titans in the field: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Their work was heavy stuff, but nonetheless caught both the academic and public imagination, and soon permeated throughout Western thought and popular culture.

The scientific study of the mind has since been used to explore all manner of subjects, from childcare to education, cognition to racial inequality. Since the 1800s, psychotherapy has also played an increasingly prominent role in society, with therapists helping people to resolve problems, heal trauma, and find happiness. It is an ever-evolving and multifaceted field, and one that has given us many notable names and great intellects. Here are some quotes from famous psychologists both past and present, from Jung and Freud to Melanie Klein and Albert Bandura.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
William James

Share Quote

Perfect as is the wing of a bird, it never could raise the bird up without resting on air. Facts are the air of a scientist. Without them you never can fly.
Ivan Pavlov

Share Quote

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
Carl Jung

Share Quote

The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing. Ultimately, after endlessly repeated rebuffs, it succeeds.
Sigmund Freud

Share Quote

Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society… But for me, education means making creators… You have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists.
Jean Piaget

Share Quote

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
B.F. Skinner

Share Quote

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.
Abraham Maslow

Share Quote

Through others, we become ourselves.
Lev Vygotsky

Share Quote

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.
Anna Freud

Share Quote

No one needs to paint himself into a corner; no one needs to be completely hemmed in by circumstances; no one needs to be the victim of his biography.
George Kelly

Share Quote

Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”
Erich Fromm

Share Quote

One of the many interesting and surprising experiences of the beginner in child analysis is to find in even very young children a capacity for insight which is often far greater than that of adults.
Melanie Klein

Share Quote

The essence of creativity is figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.
Jerome Bruner

Share Quote

People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be… When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right-hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.
Carl Rogers

Share Quote

When people focus on not seeing color, they may also fail to see discrimination.
Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Share Quote

It may be that we are puppets — puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation.
Stanley Milgram

Share Quote

Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.
Albert Bandura

Share Quote

In each of us are places where we have never gone. Only by pressing the limits do you ever find them.
Joyce Brothers

Share Quote

Photo credit: brandstaetter images/ Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Author image
About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
What playwright said, “Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand"?

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.

separator icon
Robert Harling
motivation theme icon

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

separator icon
Yoko Ono
hope theme icon

There is only one success... to be able to spend your life in your own way.

separator icon
Christopher Morley
love theme icon

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

separator icon
Bertrand Russell
wisdom theme icon

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.

separator icon
Madeleine L'Engle
happiness theme icon

'Tis never too late to be wise.

separator icon
Daniel Defoe
motivation theme icon

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

separator icon
Seneca
hope theme icon

Success isn’t about how your life looks to others; it’s about how it feels to you.

separator icon
Michelle Obama
love theme icon

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

separator icon
Franklin D. Roosevelt
wisdom theme icon

Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.

separator icon
River Phoenix
happiness theme icon

Open to whatever you experience without fighting. Let it be present just as it is. Let go of the battle.

separator icon
Jack Kornfield