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.
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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.
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Birthdate: April 1, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn
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.
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: January 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York
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 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.

 5 John B. Watson

John B. Watson.
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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.

 6 Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo
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Famous As: Social psychologist, University teacher, Non-fiction writer, Psychologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City

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.

 7 John Dewey

John Dewey.
4
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.

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 8 Timothy Francis Leary

Timothy Francis Leary.
4
Famous As: American psychologist
Birthdate: October 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Springfield
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.”

 9 Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram
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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.

 10 Christine Blasey Ford

Christine Blasey Ford
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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.

 11 William Moulton Marston

William Moulton Marston.
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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.

 12 N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin
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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.

 13 John Money

John Money
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Famous As: Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physician, University teacher
Birthdate: July 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Morrinsville
Died: July 7, 2006

 14 Martin Seligman

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

 15 Jerome Bruner

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

 16 Henry Murray

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

 17 Harry Harlow

Harry Harlow.
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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.

 18 Herbert Simon

Herbert Simon.
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Famous As: Economist, Political scientist, sociologist, psychologist, and professor
Birthdate: June 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milwaukee
Died: February 9, 2001

 19 Lawrence Kohlberg

Lawrence Kohlberg
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Famous As: Psychologist, Academic, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 19, 1987

 20 Albert Ellis

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

 21 Jonathan Haidt

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

 22 Carol S. Dweck

Carol S. Dweck.
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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.

 23 Aaron T. Beck

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

 24 Gordon Allport

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

 25 Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner
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Famous As: Teacher, Psychologist, University teacher, Neurologist
Birthdate: July 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton

 26 Edward Thorndike

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

 27 Elizabeth Loftus

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

 28 Robert Anton Wilson

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

 29 Eugene Landy

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

 30 Robert Cialdini

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

 31 G. Stanley Hall

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

 32 Robert Sternberg

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

 33 George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead.
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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.

 34 Ian Lithgow

Ian Lithgow
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 3, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

 35 Tam O'Shaughnessy

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

 36 Adam Grant

Adam Grant
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bloomfield Township, Michigan West Bloomfield, Michigan, U.S.

 37 Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer
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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.

 38 Leon Festinger

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

 39 Amy Cuddy

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

 40 Laura Schlessinger

Laura Schlessinger
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Famous As: Radio personality, Writer, Social worker, Psychologist, Children's writer, Journalist
Birthdate: January 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn

 41 John Amaechi

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

 42 Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner
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Famous As: Psychologist, Academic, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: April 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: September 25, 2005

 43 Milton H. Erickson

Milton H. Erickson
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Famous As: Psychotherapist, Hypnotist, Hypnotherapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Writer
Birthdate: December 5, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aurum
Died: March 25, 1980

 44 Bruno Bettelheim

Bruno Bettelheim
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Famous As: Writer, Psychologist, University teacher, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: August 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: March 13, 1990
Austrian-American psychologist Bruno Bettelheim is remembered for his work on child psychiatry and autism. While he initially looked after his family’s lumber business, he was later imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, before escaping to the U.S. Following his suicide, it was revealed that he had faked his academic credentials.

 45 Eric Kandel

Eric Kandel
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Famous As: Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Neuroscientist, Psychologist, Biochemist
Birthdate: November 7, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna

Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel is known for his research on the role of synapses in memory and learning. An Austrian Jew, he left his country with his family and moved to the U.S. in the wake of anti-Semitism. A doctor, specializing in psychiatry, he later taught at Columbia University.

 46 Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Kenneth Bancroft Clark
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005

 47 Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth.
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Famous As: Mother of Modern Management
Birthdate: May 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland
Died: January 2, 1972

 48 Robert Plutchik

Robert Plutchik
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Famous As: Psychologist, Emotion psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 21, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: United States of America
Died: April 29, 2006

Known for his wheel of emotion, or the Plutchik wheel, psychologist Robert Plutchik believed there were 8 primary bipolar emotions, which elicited some reactionary behavior if stimulated. He also taught at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His theory is used in modern psychology to understand behavior and control emotions.

 49 Rollo May

Rollo May
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: April 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ada, Ohio, United States
Died: October 22, 1994

 50 Carol Gilligan

Carol Gilligan
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Famous As: Psychologist, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, Sociologist, Feminist
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City