Famous American Psychologists

Have you ever wondered why some people just can’t get out of their depressing mood? Do you find it hard to understand people who eat for comfort and then complain of getting fat? Do you have someone in your group who displays split personality? Is your sibling antisocial? Well, the answer for all of the above is psychological disorder. It isn’t that people with psychological disorder look different from the rest – they simply act differently. And it is to help them come out of their psychological problems that we have psychologists. Psychologists are professionals who are well-equipped to treat people with behavioural and personality disorder. They evaluate and study the mental process and are clinically qualified to help sufferers cope effectively from life issues and mental health. As such, psychologists are often referred to as doctors of mental health. In our world today, psychologists or psychiatrists, as they are often called, have started playing an important role in the society, given the stressful life. Every country today has a pool of psychologists who are uniquely qualified to help people come out from their stress and America is one such country. It boasts of having clinically proficient professionals who are qualified to help people suffering from psychological issues. Given here are the profiles of some of the greatest American psychologists – their life, study, work and contribution in the society.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner
8
Famous As: American psychologist
Birthdate: March 20, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 18, 1990

B. F. Skinner was an American behaviorist, psychologist, inventor, author, and social philosopher. Skinner, who taught psychology at Harvard University, is credited with founding a school of thought in psychology called the experimental analysis of behavior. Regarded as a pioneer of modern behaviorism, Skinner was named the 20th century's most influential psychologist, according to a survey conducted in June 2002. 

 2 Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow
8
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: April 1, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: June 8, 1970

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist best remembered for creating an idea in psychology called Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow, who advocated self-actualization, is also credited with co-founding the school of transpersonal psychology. In 1967, he was adjudged Humanist of the Year by the popular non-profit organization, American Humanist Association.

 3 William James

William James
8
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: January 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 26, 1910

William James was an American psychologist and philosopher. Widely regarded as the father of American psychology and one of the most influential American philosophers, James was the first educator in the United States to offer a course in psychology. He is also credited with co-founding a psychological school of thought called functional psychology and establishing a philosophical school called pragmatism.

 4 Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson
6
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: June 15, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: May 12, 1994

Erik Erikson was a German-American psychoanalyst and developmental psychologist best remembered for developing a theory on the psychological development of humans. He is credited with coining the term identity crisis, the failure to achieve ego identity. Also a prolific writer, Erikson won a US National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his book Gandhi's Truth.

 5 Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oak Park
Died: February 4, 1987

Psychologist Carl Rogers was the first to introduce a client-centric approach to psychotherapy and addressed the patient as the client. Besides working on troubled children, he also taught at various institutes, such as the University of Chicago. On Becoming a Person remains one of his best-known books.

 6 John B. Watson

John B. Watson
5
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: January 9, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Travelers Rest, South Carolina, United States
Died: September 25, 1958

John B. Watson was the first to introduce the theory of behaviorism to psychology. He believed human behavior, like animal behavior, should be studied under objective and experimental conditions. One of his experiments included conditioning the fear of white rats into an 11-year-old boy he named Little Albert.

 7 Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: December 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mundare, Canada
Died: July 26, 2021

Albert Bandura is a Canadian-American psychologist who has made significant contributions to several fields of psychology, such as personality psychology, therapy, and social cognitive theory. Regarded as the greatest living psychologist, Bandura is also counted among the most influential psychologists ever. He has been honored with over 16 honorary degrees. In 2016, Albert Bandura received the National Medal of Science.

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 8 Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman
10
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.

 9 Timothy Francis Leary

Timothy Francis Leary
6
Famous As: American psychologist
Birthdate: October 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 31, 1996

Psychologist and former Harvard professor Timothy Leary was an advocate of psychedelic drugs. His research experiments included the controversial Concord Prison Experiment and Marsh Chapel Experiment. After being fired from Harvard for his actions, he continued promoting his theories through catchphrases such as “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

 10 Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo
8
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: March 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Psychologist and Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo is best known for his Stanford prison experiment, which proved how prisoners get abusive due to situational factors. He is also known for his books The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Foundation.

 11 Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram
6
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: August 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 20, 1984

Social psychologist Stanley Milgram was inspired by the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust to understand what drove people to harm others, and thus created his Milgram experiment. He also taught at prestigious institutes such as Harvard and Yale. His studies also included the six degrees of separation concept.

 12 John Dewey

John Dewey
8
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States
Died: June 1, 1952

A staunch advocate of progressive education and liberalism, the American philosopher and psychologist was the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. John Dewey’s famous writings included The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology and Human Nature and Conduct. According to him, passion for knowledge and intellectual curiosity were central to a teacher. He called himself a democratic socialist.

 13 Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker
6
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: September 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American linguist, cognitive psychologist, and popular science author. He is also a supporter of the computational theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. His works have earned him awards from organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Humanist Association. In 2013, he was named in Prospect magazine's World Thinkers list.

 14 William Moulton Marston

William Moulton Marston
6
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: May 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saugus, Massachusetts
Died: May 2, 1947
Psychologist William Moulton Marston, also known as “Charles Moulton,” is remembered for inventing a precursor of the lie detector, along with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway. He was also a comic book author, who created the superheroine Wonder Woman. He was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife and Olive Byrne.

 15 Kurt Lewin

Kurt Lewin
5
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: September 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mogilno, Poland
Died: February 12, 1947
Legendary social psychologist Kurt Lewin is remembered for his field theory of behavior. He was a pioneer in the research on group dynamics. While he had served in the army in World War I, an injury made him get back to university to complete his PhD.

 16 Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman
5
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: August 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States

 17 Veronica Porché Ali

Veronica Porché Ali
8
Famous As: Muhammad Ali’s Ex-Wife, Psychologist
Birthdate: December 16, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States

 18 Gwynne Gilford

Gwynne Gilford
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 27, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 19 N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin
6
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.

N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.

 20 Eugene Landy

Eugene Landy
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: November 26, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 22, 2006

 21 Harry Harlow

Harry Harlow
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: October 31, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.
Died: December 6, 1981

Psychologist Harry Harlow proved that monkeys raised without their mothers exhibited abnormal psychological development. He had a long association with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he conducted most of his experiments. He was criticized for using dramatic names, such as “pit of despair,” for his experimental devices.

 22 Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis
5
Famous As: Psychologist, Psychotherapist
Birthdate: September 27, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 24, 2007

 23 James Dobson

James Dobson
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States

The founder of the Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson is a qualified psychologist and has also had long stints with a children’s hospital and as a professor of pediatrics. Known for his popular radio program Family Talk, he has penned countless books, such as the bestseller Bringing Up Girls.

 24 Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner
3
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 5, 2016

 25 Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: October 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

 26 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: September 29, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rijeka

 27 Gordon Allport

Gordon Allport
5
Famous As: Psychologist, Academic, University teacher, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: November 11, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montezuma
Died: October 9, 1967

 28 Edward Thorndike

Edward Thorndike
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: August 31, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Williamsburg, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 9, 1949

 29 Carol S. Dweck

Carol S. Dweck
4
Famous As: Physiologists
Birthdate: October 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Renowned psychologist Carol S. Dweck has taught at both Columbia and Harvard and is now a professor at Stanford. She is best known for her research on fixed mindset and growth mindset and has also penned popular books such as Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development.

 30 Lawrence Kohlberg

Lawrence Kohlberg
9
Famous As: Psychologist best known for his theory of stages of moral development
Birthdate: October 25, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bronxville, New York, United States
Died: January 19, 1987

 31 Christine Blasey Ford

Christine Blasey Ford
10
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: November 28, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: United States
Palo Alto University professor and Stanford researcher Christine Blasey Ford made headlines when, in 2018, she accused U.S. Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in 1982. Apart from teaching psychology, she has also been a biostatistician. She was also named to Time 100 in 2019.

 32 Aaron T. Beck

Aaron T. Beck
3
Famous As: Psychiatrist, University teacher, Psychologist
Birthdate: July 18, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence

 33 Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Philosopher, Essayist, Playwright, Psychologist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: January 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: January 11, 2007

 34 Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeth Loftus
3
Famous As: Psychologist, Statistician, University teacher
Birthdate: October 16, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 35 Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: December 1, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glendale, Ohio, United States
Died: March 21, 1999

American-Canadian developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth is best remembered for her contributions in developing the attachment theory. She devised the Strange situation procedure during the 1970s to observe early emotional connect and relationship between a caregiver and child. She was ranked as the 97th most cited psychologist of the 20th century in a 2002 survey of Review of General Psychology.

 36 Raymond Cattell

Raymond Cattell
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: March 20, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England
Died: February 2, 1998

 37 Robert Cialdini

Robert Cialdini
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: April 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

 38 G. Stanley Hall

G. Stanley Hall
3
Famous As: Psychologist, Science writer
Birthdate: February 1, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Died: April 24, 1924

 39 George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 26, 1931

American philosopher and social psychologist George Herbert Mead was one of the pioneers of pragmatism and symbolic interactionism. He taught at the University of Chicago, and his ideas later came to be known as the Chicago school of sociology. His notable lectures were published as books only after his death.

 40 Henry Murray

Henry Murray
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: May 13, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: June 23, 1988

 41 Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg
3
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 8, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Jersey

 42 Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer
3
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: July 25, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: May 21, 1983

Social philosopher and author Eric Hoffer was rendered half-blind at 7 due to an accident but regained his sight at 15. Orphaned in his 20s, he took up odd jobs, and once even contemplated suicide. His first book, The True Believer, catapulted him to fame, and he never looked back.

 43 John Amaechi

John Amaechi
3
Famous As: Basketball player, Blogger, Politician
Birthdate: November 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

 44 Laura Schlessinger

Laura Schlessinger
4
Famous As: Psychologist, Radio personality
Birthdate: January 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 45 Leon Festinger

Leon Festinger
3
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: May 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 11, 1989

 46 Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: April 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

Dan Ariely is an Israeli-American professor and author. He is the founder of the research institution, The Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the co-founder of several companies. Currently, he is also the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He is the author of the three New York Times bestsellers as well. 

 47 Tam O'Shaughnessy

Tam O'Shaughnessy
3
Famous As: Tennis player, Writer
Birthdate: January 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Andreas, California, United States

 48 Amy Cuddy

Amy Cuddy
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: June 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Robesonia, Pennsylvania, USA

 49 Thomas Szasz

Thomas Szasz
3
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: April 15, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: September 8, 2012

Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who spent most of life teaching at the State University of New York Health Science Center, was known for his controversial claim that mental illnesses aren’t illnesses at all. Part of the anti-psychiatry movement, he penned books such as The Myth of Mental Illness.

 50 Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner
3
Famous As: Psychologist who is most known for his ecological systems theory
Birthdate: April 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 25, 2005