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Publisher's Summary

If you’ve ever wanted to delve more deeply into the mysteries of human emotion, perception, and cognition, and of why we do what we do, these 48 lectures offer a superb place to start. With them, you’ll see the entire history of psychology unfold. In the hands of Professor Robinson, these lectures encompass ideas, speculations, and point-blank moral questions that might just dismantle and rebuild everything you once thought you knew about psychology. In fact, you’ll not only learn what psychology is, but even if it is, as Professor Robinson discusses the constantly shifting debate over the nature of psychology itself.

Lecture by lecture, Professor Robinson navigates from one subject to the next, and you’ll follow along as he recreates a Platonic dialogue; explains brain physiology; or explores the intricacies of middle ear construction, the psychological underpinnings of the Salem witch trials, and the history of the insanity defense.

Among other things, you’ll learn:

  • How a brilliant young scientist’s temporary blindness led to pioneering research in sensory psychology
  • How the once-prestigious, now-derided, ”sciences” of phrenology and mesmerism contributed to psychological knowledge
  • What happened when a Stanford psychologist and his students decided to study “being sane in insane places” by getting themselves committed to a mental institution
  • How the brain is able to “rewire” itself to compensate for particular traumas at an early age
  • If high heritability determines how much the environment influences the value of a trait, and more.
    • PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1997 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1997 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Great Ideas of Psychology

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great lecturer

insightful and comprehensive overview of modern psychology and a great introduction to a complex subject

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meh

was okay, learned a bit of valuble information from this. Feels mostly like a book of how to extremly over think miniscule things. I can see how the LGBTQ+ would gather some crazy ideas from some of these 'teachings' though.

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Exceptionally worthwhile!

Daniel Robinson is an exectional narrativor, who weaves a complex and complete account. Well done.

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  • Gare&Sophia
  • 2014-01-21

The Oxford level of examination of psychology

The teaser review that comes up for this course is just plain misguided. As a former Ivy league professor I applaud Professor Robinson's approach to the topic. He puts modern and historic psychology and its underlying theories in the perspective necessary to understand the rational basis from which they were derived.

I am a scientist and I felt this his approach and coverage of a diverse set of related topics was excellent. I should also point out that my wife who is a mental health professional also found this book to be not only a great read, but an excellent coverage of the topic.

121 people found this helpful

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  • vikingpoptarts
  • 2017-04-03

Oh my god, just say it.

Now, I'm in love with psychology and enjoyed the first book in the great courses series, but I can't get through this droning.
It's not to say the content isn't interesting, but the presenter is constantly moving backwards and forwards without actually saying anything for minutes on end.
In an attempt to move to a new point in chapter 6 he introduces the topic, why it might be important, people who influenced it (but not why), what things are called in other languages, pointless opinions on the youth in the audience, "what I'm going to demonstrate is", "you don't really need to know x about it at your level"... well thanks, I've entirely forgot what you were at least going to talk about because you've said nothing about it for what seems an eternity.
I am now analyzing him and his love of his own voice and pretentiousness and lost all interest in the supposed topic all together.
6 chapters in and I feel nothing at all has been said and I just have been sitting here waiting for the lecture to start.
if you want to take notes on a lack of direction and focus on lectures, this is for you. If you're looking for a laundry list of things to independently look up, also for you. If you're actually looking for insightful conteent, look elsewhere.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Fred Stone
  • 2015-10-11

Outstanding

I teach these concepts to graduate students and still learned a lot. I also wrote Dr Robinson to thank him--and he wrote back.

I cannot recommend this course enough to the serious student of humanity.

45 people found this helpful

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  • mark o reilly
  • 2015-03-19

Only if you like a lot of talk about the Greeks

Really informative and interesting. Overall it leans heavily into pholosophy and the history of thought with quite a few hours dedicated to (fawning over) aristotle. So quite different to any psych course focusing more on modern experimental theories, though they are in there too. Maybe not for everyone but I gave it full marks as it is a great listen, the speaker is engaging and I learned a lot.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 2014-05-10

How did Psychology come to be what it is now?

What made the experience of listening to The Great Ideas of Psychology the most enjoyable?

This was so thought provoking. It was very similar to an undergraduate course I took years ago, but at the time I didn't really appreciate it as much as I do now. I love gaining the perspective of how ideas and fields came to be, and what influences the different approaches to psychology in study and practice.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Sparrow
  • 2013-11-18

Misleading Title!! Try History of Philosophy

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Daniel N. Robinson?

I don't think so -- I believe this is a very misleading title -- and while the professor's credentials are impeccable -- I was four lectures (2 hours) into this series and got so upset I was yelling at the speakers! How is this the Great Ideas of Psychology? Try the History of Philosophy -- starting at the very beginning... Groan!!

I was really expecting to have a well-thought out, well-defined list of the Great Ideas of Psychology and after listening about Plato and Socrates and the Salem Witchhunts, although entertaining, and spoken with erudition, I FELT CHEATED!!

The title is misleading. If you can make it past the first two hours with virtually no discernible Psychology, I think at some point he does get into Psychology. However, on principle, I couldn't and wouldn't wade through more of what I didn't want hoping someday this course would fulfill it's promise.

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

See above

What does Professor Daniel N. Robinson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Don't know

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger and disappointment

Any additional comments?

No

23 people found this helpful

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  • SAMA
  • 2014-02-26

Excellent journey into the mind

This course explores the development of the field of psychology, going through all the major developments, ideas, and problems it has faced. Your mileage may vary based on how seriously you take psychology as a legitimate field of study. While I have some doubts about some concepts, overall this is an interesting ride on the human understanding of mind, personality, and to a certain degree criminal law.

18 people found this helpful

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  • John Shelley
  • 2016-08-02

So far, so bad!

Any additional comments?

Imagine going to hear a lecture of theories of chess moves, but instead of explaining the ideas and or the theories of chess moves, the lecturer proceeds to give you a history of how chess pieces are made, how we perceive chess pieces, the different kinds of wood that are used to make chess pieces. Would you be disappointed with the content. Absolutely. The science provided in the first six lectures could be used for anything, as it is so specifically scientific and yet so extremely generalized when it comes to the ideas or theories of psychology. Save your credit and get something else.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Lexloco
  • 2015-01-13

Very interesting lecture

Interesting subject, well read. The author not only commands the topics but has an extraordinary vocabulary, making it a great listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jacob Clark
  • 2019-04-15

Not Perfectly Coherent, But Entirely Useful

One must go into this not expecting a book on tape type experience, this is a set of lectures on psychology. Of course, it isn't fully comprehensive for everything one must know about this subject, but it is still an amazing resource. Prof Robinson gives not only a well-researched history of psychological theory from Greece to today, but also makes sure to explain the guiding philosophies and social context for each notable member of the tree of psychology. He keeps his lectures tight, humorous, and easy to understand at a bit above a psyche 101-course level. Would recommend to not only those looking to major in psyche like I am but also anybody who has any interest in the subject. Well worth your time, at least on 2x speed that is.

Edit: It seems that Prof Robinson has died in December 2018, which is quite saddening to hear for me. He has left this resource here for anyone to use.

5 people found this helpful