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The 10 most influential women in psychology

The 10 most influential women in psychology

Throughout history Psychology has placed much emphasis on the contributions of male psychologists, such as Sigmund Freud, BF Skinner, Jean Piaget and other thinkers. Unfortunately, the important contributions of female psychologists are often overlooked in textbooks.

Content

  • 1 The role of women in modern psychology
  • 2 Karen Horney
  • 3 Anna Freud
  • 4 Mary Whiton Calkins
  • 5 Mary Ainsworth
  • 6 Melanie Klein
  • 7 Margaret Floy Washburn
  • 8 Leta Stetter Hollingworth
  • 9 Mamie Phipps Clark
  • 10 Eleanor Maccoby
  • 11 Christine Ladd-Franklin

The role of women in modern psychology

The predominance of male thinkers in the beginnings in psychology, without a doubt makes it seem that they were the maximum contributors to this exciting discipline, but the reality is that women have always been present in psychology. It is estimated that in 1900, 1 in 10 psychologists in the United States was a woman.

Nevertheless, many of these women pioneers in psychology had to face considerable obstacles and difficulties due to discrimination. Most of them were not allowed to study together with the men, were denied degrees and awards that had been earned, or found difficulties in obtaining academic positions that would allow them to research and publish.

But women have made important and innovative contributions in the field of psychology, often despite facing all the difficulties mentioned above due to their sex. These women, like men, deserve to be recognized for their pioneering work.

Here is a short list of the most prominent women in the field of psychology:

Karen Horney

Karen Horney was an influential Neofreudian psychologist known for her opinion on female psychology. When Sigmund Freud proposed that women experience "penis envy," Horney replied that men suffer from "belly envy," and that all their actions are driven by the need to overcompensate for the fact that they cannot have children.

Karen Horney

His open refutation of Freud's ideas helped to attract more attention to women's psychology. His theory of neurotic needs and his belief that people were able to assume a personal role in their own mental health were among his many other contributions in the field of psychology.

Anna Freud

When most people hear Freud's name, he relates it directly to Sigmund, the father of psychoanalysis. However, the daughter of the famous psychoanalyst Anna was a well-known and influential psychologist in her own right. Anna Freud not only expanded her father's ideas, but also developed the field of childhood psychoanalysis and influenced other thinkers including Erik Erikson.

Anna Freud

Among his many achievements are the introduction of defense mechanisms and the expansion of interest in the field of child psychology.

Mary Whiton Calkins

Mary Whiton Calkins studied at Harvard, although she never obtained approval for formal admission to this university. She studied with some of the most eminent thinkers of the time such as William James and Hugo Munsterberg and completed all the requirements for a doctorate. Despite this, Harvard refused to grant her a degree for the sole reason that she was a woman.

Mary Whiton Calkins

In any case, Calkins became the first female president of the American Psychological Association. During his career, he wrote more than a hundred professional publications on psychology topics, He developed the technique of association, and became known for his work in the area of ​​the psychology of the I.

Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth was an important developmental psychologist. Her work demonstrates the importance of healthy childhood memories attached and she pioneered the use of a technique known as the "strange situation" assessment.

In his research on memories and mother-child interactions, Ainsworth put a mother and son sitting in a room to observe various reactions of the child. The researchers focused on observing the child's response to various situations, including seeing a stranger enter the room alone, and subsequently being with the mother in the room.

Mary Ainsworth

His innovative work by Ainsworth had a great influence on our understanding of attachment styles and how these styles contribute to their behavior later in life.

Melanie Klein

Play therapy is a technique most commonly used to help children express their feelings and experiences in a natural and useful way. The psychoanalyst Melanie Klein played a fundamental role in the development of this technique. Through his work with children, he observed that they often use the game as one of their main means of communication.

Since young children are not able to carry out some of the most commonly used Freudian techniques of the time as free association, Klein began using game therapy as a way to investigate unconscious feelings, anxieties and experiences.

Melanie Klein

Klein's work led her to an important disagreement with Anna Freud, who believed that children could not be psychoanalyzed. Klein suggests that the analysis of the child's actions during the game allows the therapist to explore the impact of his anxieties on the development of the ego and the superego.

Margaret Floy Washburn

Margaret Floy Washburn was the first woman to receive a degree in Psychology. He completed his master's studies with Edward B. Tichener and was his first graduate student. Like many women on this list, their work on psychology took place at a time when women were often denied positions in the academic world based on their gender. Despite this, she became a highly respected researcher, writer and teacher.

Margaret Floy Washburn

His main lines of research were the areas of animal cognition and basic physiological processes. She strongly influenced comparative psychology and developed a theory of motor cognition, suggesting that body movements have an influence on thinking.

Leta Stetter Hollingworth

Leta Stetter Hollingworth was one of the pioneers of psychology in the United States. He studied with Edward Thorndike and made a name for himself for his research on intelligence and gifted children. Another of his important contributions was his research on the psychology of women. The prevailing opinion at that time was that women were intellectually inferior to men and essentially semi-invalid when they were menstruating. Hollingworth questioned all these hypotheses and his research showed that women were as intelligent and capable as men, regardless of the time of month it was.

Leta Stetter Hollingworth

Her many achievements are, perhaps, even more remarkable considering the fact that she not only faced the considerable obstacles due to gender discrimination, but also died at the age of 53. Despite an early truncated life, his influence and contributions to the field of psychology were impressive.

Mamie Phipps Clark

If you've ever read about Mamie Phipps Clark in textbooks, surely her name has been mentioned only in passing. This is unfortunate because Clark was an experimental psychologist who made many important contributions to psychology, including the development of the test. Clark doll, famous experiment with black and white dolls. In this experiment it was shown that children showed mainly interest in white dolls since according to them, black dolls were "ugly". Mamie and her husband Kenneth B. Clark, also a psychologist, concluded that children may show more interest in white stereotypes, as they are better accepted by society.

Mamie Phipps Clark

Clark became the first woman in black to get a degree from Columbia University. Despite prejudices based on both her race and her sex, Clark went on to become a very influential psychologist. His research on racial identity and self-esteem paved the way for future research on self-concept among minorities.

Eleanor Maccoby

Eleanor Maccoby made great contributions in developmental psychology. His work was a pioneer in psychology and sex differences, playing an important role in our understanding about things like socialization, biological influences on sex differences and gender roles. She was the first woman to preside over the psychology department at Stanford University and, by her own description, the first woman to conduct her lectures at Stanford wearing a pantsuit.

Eleanor Maccoby

She continues to be an emeritus professor at Stanford and has received numerous awards for her pioneering work, including the Maccoby Award, a title that bears her name.

Christine Ladd-Franklin

From Christine Ladd-Franklin we can highlight her role as a leader in feminist psychology. She was the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics and logic, being greatly influenced by the thought of Charles S. Peirce. Like his mother and aunt, he was a strong supporter of women's rights. This early influence not only helped her succeed in her field, despite considerable opposition, but also inspired her later work on the defense of women's rights in the academic world.

Christine Ladd-Franklin

Ladd-Franklin had interests that included psychology, logic, mathematics, physics and astronomy. She challenged one of the important male psychologists of the time, Edward Titchener, for not allowing women to enter her group of experimenters and developed an influential theory of color vision. Today, she is remembered for her work in psychology and for her influence as a pioneer woman in a field, once dominated by men.

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