PSYC 4511 History of Psychology

About the Course

Welcome to the History of Psychology! This course is designed to introduce you to the women and men who shaped the direction of psychology. The History of Psychology is a fundamental course for the student of psychology because it draws on research in many areas of psychology including psychotherapy, neuroscience, personality theory, cognition, psychopathology, human development, and social psychology. We will explore a variety of ideas, theories, and famous experiments while providing a vantage point to trace the background and evolution of psychology.


  • stimulate appreciation for the philosophical problems associated with psychology.
  • emphasize how developments in other scientific and philosophical systems have influenced the growth of psychology.
  • encourage understanding of the major intellectual trends in the traditional systems of psychology in addition to more recent schools of thought.
  • stimulate an appreciation for the biographies of the women and men responsible for major developments in the history of psychology.

Grade Breakdown

Sixty percent of the course grade is based on your performance on the final examination and forty percent is based on performance on the individual assignments.

Required Text

King, D. Brett, Viney, Wayne, and Woody, William Douglas. (2009). A History of Psychology: Ideas and Context. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Instructor Contact

Brett King holds a doctorate in psychology and has published on subjects ranging from forensic psychology to sport psychology to the history of science. As a faculty member of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, he has written two books on psychology and his scholarly work has been translated into several languages.

Dr. King has won numerous teaching awards and, after only four years on campus, he was honored as CU Boulder’s “Best Professor” in a campus-wide student poll conducted by The Colorado Daily, CU Boulder’s campus newspaper. Along with the General Psychology course, he also teaches online CE courses on PSYC2602 Social Psychology, PSYC4303 Abnormal Psychology, and PSYC4511 History of Psychology.

His debut novel, The Radix, appeared in 2010 and was released in trade paperback in October 2011. His thriller draws heavily on King’s long-standing interest in the history of psychology and medicine, as does the second book in his series, The False Door, scheduled for release in 2012. King also serves as a feature editor for the International Thriller Writers webzine, The Big Thrill.

Outside of academia and fiction, his time and interest are devoted to his wife, Cheri (also a psychologist and the course instructor for a separate online course, PSYC2145 Introductory Cognitive Psychology) and their twin sons and a daughter. He also enjoys reading (mostly biographies, historical books, and novels), hiking, cheering on the Denver Broncos, cinema, music, art history and exploring the scenic riches of his native Colorado, both above and below ground.

You may contact Dr. King at the following e-mail address:

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado