Psychology 3950G 001 FW23

History of Psychology

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 

Summer 2023 


Psychology 3950G    Section 001 

History of Psychology 





A survey of the major ideas and scholars important to the development of Western psychology, examined from an historical and sociocultural perspective. Recommended for those thinking of graduate work in clinical psychology. CPA accredited programs require coursework on this topic and most will accept this course as fulfilling the criterion. 


Antirequisite: Psychology 3893F/G (King's). 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 


Prerequisite: Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810. 


4 lecture/discussion hours; Course Weight: 0.5 


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 





Instructor: Krista Macpherson, Phd  

Office and Phone Number: SSC 7430  

Office Hours: By Appointment  



Teaching Assistant: Haley Green 

Office: TBA  

Office Hours: TBA  



Time and Location of Classes: see Student Centre for Time Table

Delivery Method: In-Person 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 




Fancher, R. & Rutherford, A. Pioneers of Psychology, 5th Edition. New York: Norton 


This text is mandatory for the course. 




Psychology, historically, has evolved as a bridge between philosophy and physiology. In this course we will explore and discuss the philosophical background that has underpinned the development of the field of psychology. The emergence of psychology as a science will be explored and key historical figures discussed. The historical roots in the development and growth of sub-disciplines will conclude this course. 


This course deviates from studying the discipline of psychology itself. It, instead, focuses on the ideas of key (psychological) historical figures, across various times, who have contributed to the development and evolution of thoughts, ideas and methodologies in the field of psychology over the centuries. As you will see, such ideas, theories, methods and findings are embedded within the lives and therefore contexts of these pioneers. 


The course will follow a chronological order, as does the textbook. Taking a historical perspective will allow evaluation of why past ideas, which may now be discredited, appeared legitimate in their time. In contrast, although science, technology and access to information have markedly evolved over the years, ideas and attitudes of the early pioneers continue to recur in various forms as the field of psychology develops. Moreover, fundamental questions and ideas that intrigued earlier scholars continue to draw interest, often in evolved form, today. 


Questions/themes addressed in the course include but are not limited to: 


-What is the relationship between humans and non-human animals? 
-What is the relationship between the “mind’ and the “body” 
-Where does human knowledge come from? 
-What is the nature of “mind (what is being conscious, unconscious; is it best conceptualized as atomistic or holistic, static or dynamic??) 
-What is the relationship of Psychology as a science and as an applied profession? 


Learning Outcome 



Participation and Communication 


Be an active participant in understanding, exploring and presenting how the history of psychology evolved and how key questions or ideas in psychology have continued over time (albeit in evolved form). 







Group Presentation 


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge 


Present (orally) and demonstrate knowledge (in written form) of the history of psychology, including grounding in philosophy (and physiology), how it emerged as a science, and how this history has shaped the sub-disciplines of modern psychology. 






Mid-term Exam 

Written Essay (Final Paper) 

Application of Knowledge 


Identify and critically discuss how a key question has persisted (in evolved form) across time in the study of psychology. 


Conduct research investigating the historical underpinnings, ideas and key figures / pioneers of a psychological concept drawn on today. 


Demonstrate the ability to apply historical information and evidence to convey the historical development of a current day psychological concept. 





Group Presentation 

Written Essay (Final Paper) 





The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 



Midterm (February 14th): 25% of final mark 

Final Exam (During Final Exam Period): 25% of final mark 

Final Essay (Due April 8th): 30% of final mark 

Group Presentation: 15% of final mark 

Participation: In Class Participation Questions (5%) 


Grades will not be rounded. 





Exams: A makeup exam will be scheduled for both the midterm and final exam.  Individuals who miss an exam will be allowed to write the makeup with approval from academic counselling, otherwise a mark of zero will be assigned. 


Participation: At some point during every lecture, participation questions will be asked.  Answers will be collected online via OWL (students should bring a laptop or tablet to lectures).  The lowest 2 participation scores will be dropped (meaning that students can miss up to 2 lectures without academic penalty).  There will therefore be absolutely no accommodation for missed participation questions. 


Group Presentation: Groups of 3-4 will be assigned during weeks 1 and 2 of the course, during which time a topic and presentation date will be determined for each group.  All presenting group members will share the same score.  If a group member misses a their presentation, they will be assigned a take-home assignment based on their topic in lieu of the presentation score. 


Essay: The final essay will be on any relevant topic of the student’s choice, with approval from the course instructor or TA.  The essay is due at 11:59pm on the last day of classes (April 8th)  A late penalty of 5% per day will be applied to late submissions. 




PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. 



The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 




Midterm (February 14th, 2024): 25% of final mark 

Final Exam (During Final Exam Period): 25% of final mark 

Final Essay (Due April 8th): 30% of final mark 

Group Presentation (To be scheduled): 15% of final mark 

Participation (in-class participation questions): 5% of final mark 



(Readings are tentative and subject to change) 





Jan 10th 

-Why study History? 

-Foundations of modern psychology 

Chapter 1 & 2 

Jan 17th 

Philosophers, physiologists, sensation & perception 

Chapter 3 & 4 

Jan 24th 

The establishment of experimental psychology 

Chapter 5 

Jan 31st 

Darwin & evolution 

Chapter 6 


Feb 7th 


Galton—measuring the mind; James--functionalism 


Chapter 7 & 8 

Feb 14th  



Feb 21st 

Reading Week—No Class 


Feb 28th 


Chapter 9 

March 6th 

Personality & social psychology 

Chapter 10 & 12 

March 13th 

Freud & Psychoanalysis 

Chapter 11 

March 20th 

Cognitive Assessment and Developmental Psychology 

Chapter 13 

March 27th 

Cognitive Psychology & Neuroscience 

Chapter 14 

April 3rd 

Clinical & applied psychology 

Chapter 15 & 16 





We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 



Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 






Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




Office of the Registrar:   


Student Development Services:  


Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.