The following is a list of psychologists and contributors to the field of psychology who have been commemorated on worldwide postage stamps. It is adapted from the two definitive philatelic listings published by psychologists Dr. Gary Brucato and Dr. John D. Hogan in 1999, and psychology historian Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin in 2003. The following index provides the name of each honoree, a brief description of his or her contributions, and the nation and year in which the stamp was issued:
- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). Eminent Greek philosopher, often regarded as the father of "pre-science" psychology. His book De Anima (On the Soul) was among the first to address the interplay between psychological and physiological processes, as well as the concept of human intellect. He departed from the philosophical principles of his teacher Plato, emphasizing the importance of empirical observation, and postulating that the body and the mind exist as facets of the same being, with the mind being simply one of the body's functions.
Stamps issued: Greece (1956); Greece (1978); Cyprus (1978); Mali (1978); Mexico (1978); Spain (1992); Uruguay (1996)
- St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Italian theologian and Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican Order who adopted Aristotle's empirical approach to nature, maintaining that human beings possess an innate capacity to know many things without special, divine revelation. He also supported the unity of the body and soul, but, in accord with his Roman Catholic faith, believed that the latter was an immortal entity, and not simply a function of the body itself. Walter J. Freeman, the biologist and neuroscientist who pioneered research into the way the brain generates and processes meaning, considers Aquinas' work on the "directedness of the mind" a precursor to the modern neurocognitive concept of intentionality.
Stamps issued: Belgium (1932); Colombia (1938); Colombia (1959); Nicaragua (1968); Germany (1974); Italy (1974); Vatican City (1974); Colombia (1982); Sierra Leone (1992); Uganda (1996); Antigua and Barbuda (2000); Italy (2001) [2 distinct issues]; Italy (2006)
- Avicenna, a.k.a. Ibn Sina (980-1037). Persian philosopher, physician, physicist and astronomer. An early pioneer of neuropsychiatry, he was apparently the first medical practitioner to describe hallucinations, phobias, insomnia, mania, nightmares, melancholia, dementia, epilepsy, paralysis, stroke, vertigo, and tremors. He also made important contributions with regard to psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine, recognizing and treating the relationship between emotional states and physical symptoms among his patients. In order to address physiological symptoms he felt were linked to psychic turmoil, Avicenna developed a word association task which pre-dated the work of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung by nearly a millennium.
Stamps issued: Lebanon (1948); Iran (1950); Afghanistan (1951); German Democratic Republic (1952); Iran (1962); Syria (1965); Yemen Arab Republic (1966); Kuwait (1969); Iran (1980); Poland (1952); Pakistan (1966); Egypt (1968); Jordan (1971); Qatar (1971); Iran (1974); Algeria (1980); Comoros Islands (1980); Dubai (1980); Kuwait (1980); Libya (1980); Mali (1980); Soviet Union (1980); Tunisia (1980); Turkey (1980); Syria (1981); Iran (1983); Hungary (1987); Iran (1989); Iran (1992); Somalia (2003); Iran (2004); France (2005); Tajikistan (2005)
- Vladimir Bekhterev (1857-1927). Russian neurophysiologist and psychiatrist who founded of the field of psychoreflexology, adapting the research on classical conditioning his competitor Ivan Pavlov had conducted with dogs for experimentation with human beings. He is also remembered for establishing the first laboratory of experimental psychology in Russia in 1886, an important classification of mental illnesses in 1891, and the first Russian journal on nervous diseases in 1896. Moreover, Bekhterev made a variety of significant contributions to neuroanatomy, including the elucidation of the role of the hippocampus in memory; the discovery of the superior vestibular nucleus and 13 distinct reflex arcs; and the identification of the spinal malady Bekhterev’s Disease.
Stamps issued: Soviet Union (1952); Russia (2007)
- Georg von Békésy (1899-1972). Hungarian biophysicist who made a key contribution to the field of biological psychology by demonstrating that sounds of different frequencies create traveling waves which peak at different locations within the cochlea of the mammalian hearing organ. This work earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1961.
Stamps issued: Sweden (1984)
- George Berkeley (1685-1753). Anglo-Irish bishop and empiricist philosopher of the early modern era who made notable contributions to the field of perceptual psychology. He is remembered for advancing the theory of immaterialism, later known as subjective idealism, which posited that individuals can only directly know sensations and ideas of objects, not abstractions such as "matter," so that it is impossible for something to exist without being perceived.
Stamps issued: Ireland (1985)
- Claude Bernard (1813-1878). French physiologist who, in addition to his celebrated work on homeostasis and the dangers of poisons such as carbon monoxide, discovered the vasodilator and vasoconstrictor functions of the "vegetative" nervous system, later known as the autonomic nervous system.
Stamps issued: France (1939); Argentina (1959); France (1978); Mozambique (2002)
- Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893). French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology at Paris' Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. He established neurology as a firm discipline, identifying and/or elucidating the natures of myriad neurological disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, poliomyelitis, neurosyphilis, strokes, Charcot–Wilbrand syndrome, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and nuiliary aneurysms. He is also remembered for his ideas on the subjects of hypnosis and hysteria, which influenced the later work of several of his students, including Alfred Binet, Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud.
Stamps issued: France (1960)
- Auguste Comte (1798-1857). French philosopher who was an important proponent of the school of positivism, maintaining that any method for acquiring knowledge should be limited to natural, physical, and material approaches. The concept would greatly influence the Behaviorist school of the twentieth century, as well the field of modern quantitative statistical analysis. Comte was also one of the founders of Sociology and is believed to have coined the term "altruism."
Stamps issued: France (1957)
- Charles Darwin (1809-1882). English naturalist who presented compelling evidence that all living creatures evolved over time from common ancestors through a process he called natural selection. He published three books in which he explored how human mental qualities and emotional states could be understood as the results of evolution; specifically, The Descent of Man in 1871, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals in 1872 and Biographical Sketch of an Infant in 1877. Darwin's work had far-reaching impacts on the theory and practice of psychology. Its emphasis on the individual's adaptation to the environment helped to establish the "functional" view of the mind and of human behavior later developed by such thinkers as John Dewey and James Rowland Angell, and influenced the work of George Romanes, the father of comparative psychology. Moreover, the concept of natural selection led to greater interests in variation and individual differences among members of the same species.
Stamps issued: Ecuador (1935); Ecuador (1936); East Germany (1958); Czechoslovakia (1959); Poland (1959); Soviet Union (1959); Turalu (1977); Cocos Islands (1981); St. Helena (1981); Antigua (1982); Australia (1982); Ecuador (1982); Falkland Islands (1982); Great Britain (1982); India (1983); Mauritius (1982); St. Thomas and Prince Islands (1982); Ecuador (1983); Turks and Caicos (1984); Australia (1986); Cocos Islands (1986); Cambodia (1992); Great Britain (1999); North Korea (1999); Palau (2000); Mongolia (2002); Mozambique (2002); Great Britain (2005); St. Helena (2006); Guinea-Bissau (2007); Bulgaria (2009); Gibraltar (2009); Great Britain (2009) [3 distinct sets]; Guernsey (2009); Ireland (2009); Italy (2009); Portugal (2009); Rwanda (2009)
- Allison Davis (1902-1983). African-American educator, anthropologist, author and scholar who was the first Black to hold a full faculty position at a major White university when he joined the staff of the University of Chicago in 1942. He is remembered for his pioneering research on intelligence quotients, as well as his studies of southern race and class during the 1930s. Moreover, Davis' support of "compensatory education" contributed to the establishment of the federal educational program Head Start.
Stamps issued: United States (1994)
- René Descartes (1596-1650). French philosopher and mathematician whose concepts provided early and significant contributions to the field of psychology. His controversial writings, including Discourse on Method in 1637, Meditations on First Philosophy in 1642 and Principles of Philosophy in 1644, postulated a radical mind-body dualism, stating that the two are separate entities interconnected at the pineal gland, and that mental perceptions, passing through the flawed machinery of the body, are not necessarily accurate. His rationalistic ideas greatly influenced the Age of Enlightenment and proved the dominant system of philosophy until the work of David Hume and Immanuel Kant. While many of Descartes's individual arguments have since been discredited, his overall view of the dualism between mind and body has exerted a powerful influence on subsequent generations of philosophers and psychologists.
Stamps issued: France (1937); Albania (1996); France (1996); Monaco (1996); Grenada (2000); Sierra Leone (2000)
- John Dewey (1859-1952). American psychologist, philosopher and progressive educator who is considered one of the founders of the school of pragmatism. He was also a key figure in American functional psychology, publishing an article on the reflex arc in 1896 which is now considered a cornerstone of that field. Dewey helped to found the American Psychological Association and was elected its President in 1899.
Stamps issued: United States (1968)
- Brucato, G. & Hogan, J.D. (1999, Spring). "Psychologists on postage stamps" The General Psychologist, 34(1):65
- Benjamin, L.T. (2003). "Why Can't Psychology Get a Stamp?" Journal of applied psychoanalytic studies 5(4):443-454.
- Kloetzel, J.E., Jones, W.A., Frankevicz, M.J., Snee, C., & Myers, S.R. (Eds.). (2009). Scott standard postage stamp catalogue 2009 (vols. 1-6). Sidney, OH: Scott Publishing Company, Inc.