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The chief difficulty for those who begin the study of scientific psychology is that all men indulge in popular psychology.

KARL FRIEDRICH MUNZINGER, Psychology: The Science of Behavior

Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort.

MASON COOLEY, City Aphorisms

Recognizing the structure of your psychology doesn't mean that you can easily rebuild it.


A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of “spirit” over matter.

SUSAN SONTAG, Illness As Metaphor

The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women ... merely adored.

OSCAR WILDE, The Ideal Husband

The sexual life of adult women is a “dark continent” for psychology.

SIGMUND FREUD, The Question of Lay Analysis

Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar's gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throughout the world.

CARL JUNG, "New Paths in Psychology"

Popular psychology is a mass of cant, of slush and of superstition worthy of the most flourishing days of the medicine man.

JOHN DEWEY, The Public and Its Problems

The separation of psychology from the premises of biology is purely artificial, because the human psyche lives in indissoluble union with the body.

CARL JUNG, Factors Determining Human Behavior

If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink at last, as human psychology.


All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other in their personal or family lives.

JOHN RALSTON SAUL, Reflection of a Siamese Twin

Would there be any truth in saying that psychology was created by the sophists to sow distrust between man and his world?

RUDOLPH ARNHEIM, Parables of Sun Light

Psychology should be the chief basic science upon which the practices of education depend. It should have supplied education with the information it needs concerning the processes of understanding, learning, and thinking, among other things. One of the difficulties has been that such theory as has been developed has been based primarily upon studies of behavior of rats and pigeons. As someone has said, some of the theory thus developed has been an insult even to the rat.

J.P. GUILFORD, The Nature of Human Intelligence

It is still open to question whether psychology is a natural science, or whether it can be regarded as a science at all.

IVAN PAVLOV, Conditioned Reflexes

The states of consciousness are all that psychology needs to do her work with. Metaphysics or theology may prove the Soul to exist; but for psychology the hypothesis of such a substantial principle of unity is superfluous.

WILLIAM JAMES, Psychology: The Briefer Course

The human race has to be bad at psychology; if it were not, it would understand why it is bad at everything else.

CELIA GREEN, The Decline and Fall of Science

There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.

THOMAS SZASZ, "Psychology," The Second Sin

In this day and age when everybody thinks psychology is God's gift to the poor old anally fixated human race and even the president of the United States pops a trank before dinner, it's really a good way to get rid of those Old Testament guilts that keep creeping up our throats like the aftertaste of a bad meal we overate. If you say your father hated you as a kid, you can go out and flash the neighborhood, commit rape, or burn down the Kinights of Pythias bingo parlor and still cop a plea... But it also means that no one will believe you if it's true.


Psychology is as useless as directions for using poison.

KARL KRAUS, Half-Truths and One-and-a-Half Truths

Psychology is the description of the reflection of the terrestial world in the heavenly plane, or, more correctly, the description of a reflection such as we, soaked as we are in our terrestial nature, imagine it, for no reflection actually occurs, only we see earth wherever we turn.

FRANZ KAFKA, notebook, Oct. 18, 1917

Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? Could it be that psychology is -- a vice?

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, "Maxims and Arrows," Twilight of the Idols

Psychology is a bus that accompanies an airplane.

KARL KRAUS, Half-Truths and One-and-a-Half Truths

The first reason for psychology’s failure to understand what people are and how they act, is that clinicians and psychiatrists, who are generally the theoreticians on these matters, have essentially made up myths without any evidence to support them; the second reason for psychology’s failure is that personality theory has looked for inner traits when it should have been looking for social context.

NAOMI WEISSTEIN, "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche as Scientific Law"

The world of psychology contains looks and tones and feelings; it is the world of dark and light, of noise and silence, of rough and smooth; its space is sometimes large and sometimes small, as everyone knows who in adult life has gone back to his childhood's home; its time is sometimes short and sometimes long, it has no invariables. It contains all the thoughts, emotions, memories, imaginations, volitions that you naturally ascribe to mind.

E.B. TITCHENER, A Beginner's Psychology

It is instructive, although somewhat disheartening, for the ardent advocate of a purely scientific psychology to contrast the practice and theories of his colleagues with those of the students of the principal physical sciences.

GEORGE TRUMBULL LADD, Philosophy of Mind: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Psychology

To know psychology ... is no guarantee that we shall manage our minds rightly.

WILLIAM GLOVER, Know Your Own Mind


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