List of Famous Psychologists

List of famous psychologists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top psychologists in the world? This includes the most prominent psychologists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable psychologists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic psychologists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned psychologists.

This list has everything from Phil McGraw to Alfred Kinsey.

From reputable, prominent, and well known psychologists to the lesser known psychologists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the psychologist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous psychologists ever?" and "What are the names of famous psychologists?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
Ranked by
  • Phillip Calvin McGraw (born September 1, 1950), known as Dr. Phil, is an American television personality, author and psychologist who is the host of the television show Dr. Phil. McGraw first gained celebrity status with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 1990s. Raised in the Midwestern United States, McGraw played college football for the University of Tulsa and Midwestern State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He then earned his Master of Arts in experimental psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas. He began working in private practice for several years while also holding large seminars for patients. McGraw's fame began in 1998, when he began making weekly appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah Winfrey then helped McGraw launch his own program, Dr. Phil, in September 2002. The show is formatted as an advice show. In October 2003, he launched the Dr. Phil Foundation which is dedicated toward fighting childhood obesity. McGraw has also been the source of some controversy. He has not held a license to practice psychology since 2006. His advice has been criticized for being simplistic and ineffective. He has been the defendant of several lawsuits, including poor business practices, the mistreatment of employees, and defamation.
  • Sigmund Freud ( FROYD; German: [ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏt]; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1881 at the University of Vienna. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902. Freud lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practice there in 1886. In 1938 Freud left Austria to escape the Nazis. He died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939. In founding psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud's redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego. Freud postulated the existence of libido, a sexualised energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. In his later works, Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture. Though in overall decline as a diagnostic and clinical practice, psychoanalysis remains influential within psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, and across the humanities. It thus continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate with regard to its therapeutic efficacy, its scientific status, and whether it advances or is detrimental to the feminist cause. Nonetheless, Freud's work has suffused contemporary Western thought and popular culture. In the words of W. H. Auden's 1940 poetic tribute to Freud, he had created "a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives."
  • John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey is one of the primary figures associated with the philosophy of pragmatism and is considered one of the fathers of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Dewey as the 93rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century. A well-known public intellectual, he was also a major voice of progressive education and liberalism. Although Dewey is known best for his publications about education, he also wrote about many other topics, including epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, art, logic, social theory, and ethics. He was a major educational reformer for the 20th century. The overriding theme of Dewey's works was his profound belief in democracy, be it in politics, education, or communication and journalism. As Dewey himself stated in 1888, while still at the University of Michigan, "Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are to my mind synonymous."Known for his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society—to be major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. Dewey asserted that complete democracy was to be obtained not just by extending voting rights but also by ensuring that there exists a fully formed public opinion, accomplished by communication among citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being accountable for the policies they adopt.
  • Alfred Charles Kinsey (; June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist, professor of entomology and zoology, and sexologist who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, previously known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. He is best known for writing Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), also known as the Kinsey Reports, as well as the Kinsey scale. Kinsey's research on human sexuality, foundational to the field of sexology, provoked controversy in the 1940s and 1950s. His work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States, as well as internationally.
  • Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. As a clinical psychologist at Harvard University, Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project in 1960–62 (LSD and psilocybin were still legal in the United States at the time), resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. The scientific legitimacy and ethics of his research were questioned by other Harvard faculty because he took psychedelics together with research subjects and pressured students in his class to take psychedelics in the research studies. Leary and his colleague, Richard Alpert (who later became known as Ram Dass), were fired from Harvard University in May 1963. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.Leary believed that LSD showed potential for therapeutic use in psychiatry. He used LSD himself and developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal truth through LSD. After leaving Harvard, he continued to publicly promote the use of psychedelic drugs and became a well-known figure of the counterculture of the 1960s. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy, such as "turn on, tune in, drop out", "set and setting", and "think for yourself and question authority". He also wrote and spoke frequently about transhumanist concepts involving space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension (SMI²LE), and developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977). He gave lectures, occasionally billing himself as a "performing philosopher".During the 1960s and 1970s, he was arrested often enough to see the inside of 36 prisons worldwide. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America".
  • Joyce Diane Brothers (née Bauer; October 20, 1927 – May 13, 2013) was an American psychologist, television personality and columnist, who wrote a daily newspaper advice column from 1960 to 2013. In 1955, she became the only woman to win the top prize on the American game show The $64,000 Question, answering questions on the topic of boxing, which was suggested as a stunt by the show's producers. In 1958, she presented a television show on which she dispensed psychological advice, pioneering the field. She wrote a column for Good Housekeeping for almost 40 years and became, according to The Washington Post, the "face of American psychology". Brothers appeared in dozens of television roles, usually as herself, but from the 1970s onward she accepted roles portraying fictional characters, often self-parodies. Radio therapist Dr. Laura credited Brothers with making psychology "accessible".