yes, therapy helps!
The 55 best sentences about Psychology ... and its meaning

The 55 best sentences about Psychology ... and its meaning

October 28, 2020

Throughout the history of psychology there have been many psychologists who have marked an era and who, thanks to their discoveries, have influenced other professionals of this discipline.

Both for his innovative way of thinking and for his contributions to psychological science, these are and still are a reference in the different fields that psychology covers : clinical psychology, social psychology, educational psychology, etc.

The 55 best sentences about psychology

In today's article, we have proposed to make a list of the best sentences pronounced by the most important psychologists of recent times so you can enjoy them.


1. I guess it's tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail, if the only tool you have is a hammer (Abraham Maslow)

Abraham Maslow is considered the father of the psychological current called humanism. He has influenced different theorists, but he is possibly remembered for his theory of human needs: Maslow's Pyramid. With this phrase, Maslow reminds us that we must have a flexible mentality because, otherwise, we will always make the same mistakes .

2. When I look at the world I am pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic (Carl Rogers)

Another reference of humanistic psychology is Carl Rogers, who made great contributions to psychotherapy. With this phrase he reminds us that the world can be a hostile place. So nothing happens, because everyone, including ourselves, has problems . It is normal and the important thing is to face these situations with a positive attitude.


3. A mind can not be understood without culture (Lev Vygotsky)

The Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky is one of the great psychologists of learning. Neither the mind nor the learning can be understood without the culture , because it has a great influence on our development.

4. The disappearance of the sense of responsibility is the greatest consequence of submission to authority (Stanley Milgram)

Stanley Milgram contributed significantly to social psychology thanks to his research on obedience to authority and this phrase was expressed in his conclusions, since Milgram considered that the sense of responsibility disappeared as a result of submission to the authority .

5. They never taught you how to talk with your gestures, but if you were taught to speak with words (Paul Ekman)

Paul Ekman reminds us that Throughout our learning we have been taught to speak with words and have been taught to develop verbal language . However, during our development, educational agents have paid little attention to the learning of gestures; to non-verbal communication.


6. If we do not believe in freedom of expression for the people we despise, we do not believe in it at all (Noam Chomsky)

One of the most important psycholinguists and thinkers of the moment, Noam Chomsky, reminds us that it is easy to respect the opinions of those who fall for us. But the same does not happen with people who are not to our liking .

7. The great discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their mental attitudes (William James)

Although William James already said it in his day, nowadays we are constantly told that attitude makes a difference in our results . Our attitude makes a difference when we relate to others or fight for our goals.

8. You are what you do, not what you say you will do (C. G. Jung)

Your actions determine what you are, not your words . This phrase is interpretable in different contexts. For example, in romantic relationships, when you promise but do not fulfill; or when you want to achieve something in life, because you can have many ideas, but if you do not take action, they will stay in that, in ideas,

9. Unexpressed emotions never die. They are buried alive and come out later in worse ways (Sigmund Freud)

Emotional intelligence is fashionable nowadays, because if we do not manage our emotions well, our well-being is negatively affected. Sigmund Freud already knew this, and that is why he wanted to make us understand that if we do not manage our emotions correctly, in the end they come to light more strongly.

10. People who believe they have the power to exercise a degree of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who have no faith in their ability to make changes in their lives (Albert Bandura)

Albert Bandura is one of the most distinguished psychologists. His contributions, as for example in what refers to learning by observation, have marked a before and after in psychology. With this phrase he makes clear reference to his theory of self-efficacy, in which he explains that People who believe in themselves are more likely to achieve success in goals that have been marked .

Learn more about this famous Ukrainian-Canadian psychologist and psycho-pedagogue in our articles:

  • The Theory of Social Learning by Albert Bandura
  • Albert Bandura's Theory of Personality
  • Albert Bandura, awarded with the National Medal of Science

11. If an individual is intellectually passive, he will not be free morally (Jean Piaget)

Piaget was a Swiss-born psychologist, biologist and epistemologist who went down in history for his constructivist theory of the development of intelligence. For Piaget, from small we are explorers and we are building our own mental schemes in the interaction with the world .

12. Never think you know everything. As high as you value, always have the courage to tell yourself: I am ignorant (Ivan Pavlov)

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who, after his experiments with dogs, contributed markedly to the psychological current called behaviorism , specifically to the classic conditioning. With his phrase he tells us that we have to be humble and keep learning every day.

We invite you to read our post about classic conditioning in the following link:

  • Classical conditioning and its most important experiments

13. All people speak of the mind without hesitation, but are perplexed when asked to define it (B. F. Skinner)

B. F. Skinner wants to tell us with this phrase that the mind is extremely complex. Maybe that's why he focused only on the observable behavior in his experiments? Whatever it was that led Skinner to do his research on rats, his conclusions have been very useful for both psychology and education .

14. I am what survives from me (Erik Erikson)

This psychoanalyst of German origin reminds us with this phrase that we are what we learn . That is, what survives in us through experience, makes us what we are. A great theoretician who formulated the Theory of Psychosocial Development.

15. Even when it is not fully attainable, we become better at trying to pursue a higher goal (Viktor Frankl)

Having objectives and goals to pursue is healthy and favor the well-being of a person . Not only this, but it is motivating and gives meaning to life.

Do you know who Viktor Frankl is? Check out his biography by clicking here.

16. The message sent is not always the message received (Virgina Satir)

Virginia Satir is one of the most influential psychologists in history. This phrase expresses an undeniable principle:When we interact with someone, we have to take into account their point of view and not only our , since the other interlocutor has his own vision of the world. What for us can make a lot of sense, for him not.

17. Most social events must be understood in their context, since they lose meaning if they are isolated (Solomon Asch)

People are biopsychosocial beings and, therefore, context is important in influencing how we act . There are psychologists who claim that people are neither good nor bad, it is the situation that makes us good or bad.

18. If a person loves only one person and is indifferent to all others, his love is not love, but symbiotic attachment or expanded selfishness (Erich Fromm)

When we are in love with someone, we would give our lives for that person. This can make us look like great people, because we go out of our way for that other one. But even the most selfish people can lose their heads for someone and look like delivered people . In the end, all they want is to satisfy their own desires. Great phrase of the German psychoanalyst Erich Fromm.

19. Objectives transform a random walk into a chase (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

Having goals in life and goals to pursue motivates us and makes the trip an exciting one. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the great figures of positive psychology and is known for the concept of comfort zone.

20. There is a negative correlation between recovery and psychological therapy: more psychological therapy, less patient recovery (Hans Eysenck)

Hans Eysenck is undoubtedly one of the most important psychologists of the study of personality . Born in Germany but settled in the United Kingdom, he carried out many investigations. For Eysenck, it is not better to do more therapy sessions. But what is important is the quality of the sessions and that the patient is willing to change. Know the Theory of Personality of Hans Eysenck by clicking on this link.

21. Everything that is worth teaching can be presented in different ways. These multiple ways can make us use our multiple intelligences (Howard Gardner)

Howard Gardner is known for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. A theory that suggests that human beings have different types of intelligence, and not just a unitary intelligence . Therefore, it is crucial that these intelligences are developed through teaching.

22. I am not in this life to meet the expectations of other people, nor do I feel that the world should meet mine (Fritz Perls)

For Fritz Perls, an individual must focus on himself and fight for what makes him happy , instead of thinking about what others think of them.

You can read the biography of Fritz Perls here.

23. A prejudice, unlike a mistaken idea, is actively resistant in all the tests that try to deny it (Gordon W. Allport)

Prejudices make us people with little mental flexibility and do not allow us to be realistic , as Gordon W. Allport reminds us, a renowned social psychologist.

24. If you want to understand something, try to change it (Kurt Lewin)

Kurt Lewin, a famous Gestalt psychologist who has influenced many psychology professionals with his theory of leadership types, reminds us that the complicated situations that lead us to change are really enriching because they help us learn.

25. Only the liberation of the natural capacity of love of a human being can counteract its sadistic destruction (Wilhelm Reich)

You just have to look around to see how destructive the human being can become. However, the human being can also be a loving and considerate person . The key lies in education.

26. Follow your heart but carry with you to your brain (Alfred Adler)

It is good to follow what your heart tells you, because that will make you happy. However, you have to use your head and not get carried away by all that heart tells you because he may be wrong.

27. The boundary between the good and the bad is permeable and anyone can cross it when pressed by the forces of the situation (Anonymous)

It is very easy to say that someone is a good person when they have everything in this life. But When the situation is favorable to us, human beings can be hostile people .

28. What a child can do by cooperating today, he can do it only tomorrow (Lev Vygotsky)

In his research, Lev Vygotsky he gave great importance to cooperative learning . This type of learning provides many benefits for the development and learning of the smallest (and also the oldest).

29. When we take time to realize the things that are going well for us, it means that we are receiving small prizes throughout the day (Martin Seligman)

We often spend the day ruminating, thinking about the future and everything we can get . But if we focus on the present and value what we have and what we have achieved, this will make us feel really good.

30. The real problem is not whether the machines think, but whether the men do (B. F. Skinner)

Another famous phrase of behaviorist B. F. Skinner, who ironic about the intelligence of human beings .

31. Hope is paradoxical. To have hope means to be ready at all times for what is not yet born, but without getting desperate if the birth does not happen in the span of our life (Erich Fromm)

Erich Fromm highlights here the nature of a virtue rare in our time: the hope

32. The word "happiness" would lose its meaning if it is not balanced with sadness (C. G. Jung)

You could not understand happiness without its opposite, just as there would not be vacations if we did not work . A reflection of the famous Swiss psychoanalyst.

33. Giving produces more happiness than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving is the expression of my vitality (Erich Fromm)

Another humanist reflection of the author of "The art of loving". In the kindness and generosity lies the greatness of living , to find ourselves in the reflection of the happiness of those around us.

34. Intelligence, what we consider intelligent actions, is modified throughout history. Intelligence is not a substance in the head as is the oil in an oil tank. It is a collection of potentialities that are completed (Howard Gardner)

A reflection of the author of the theory of multiple intelligences, in which shows us his particular vision of human intelligence . Do you agree with the opinion of the American psychologist?

35. The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressed by situational forces (Philip Zimbardo)

The experiment at the Stanford Prison, led by the American psychologist Philip Zimbardo, reveals that human beings can be capable of committing cruel acts if the situation pushes us to do so.

36. Psychology is a tricky field, in which even notable authorities have moved in circles, describing things that everyone knows with words that nobody understands (Raymond Cattell)

This phrase of Raymond Cattell on Psychology can be a useful reflection to understand psychology.

37. If you are old, do not try to change yourself, change your environment (B. F. Skinner)

The referent of radical behaviorism speaks here on the basis of his conception of psychology: to make the way in which we interact with the environment change for change ourselves . One of the most useful psychology phrases to understand operant conditioning.

38. The mission of psychology is to give us a totally different idea about the things we know most about (Paul Valéry)

The essayist and philosopher Paul Valéry believed that the essence of psychology is to compromise ideas of common sense about the way we perceive things and act.

39. Evolution is an indispensable component of any satisfactory explanation about our psychology (Steven Pinker)

Pinker, the reference of evolutionary psychology, talks about the role of the evolution of our ancestors in our way of behaving.

40. There is a lot of randomness in the decisions that people make (Daniel Kahneman)

Kahneman, one of the researchers who have put in check the idea that the human being is rational by nature, talks about the chaotic our decisions ; even those that apparently obey logic.

41. Follow your heart, but always try to carry your brain with you (Alfred Adler)

A poetic way of insinuating that the passions are our motor and reason the watchman of our march.

42. Knowledge is an antidote to fear (Gerd Gigerenzer)

For this researcher and disseminator of psychology, knowledge allows to be more confident about what we do and what we can expect.

43. Do not become a simple recorder of facts; tries to penetrate the mystery of its origins (Ivan Pavlov)

The Russian physiologist responsible for the creation of behaviorism talks about the spirit of the scientific researcher.

44. Education survives when what has been learned is forgotten (B. F. Skinner)

For Skinner, education is based on behavior deeply engraved in us , beyond the theoretical knowledge that we have been able to memorize.

45. Columnists and sports commentators are rewarded for being arrogant (Daniel Kahneman)

A way to reconstruct the behavior of two classes of professionals apparently not very similar to each other.

46. ​​We have to learn to live with uncertainty (Gerd Gigerenzer)

The uncertainty It is one of the constants of life, and that is why you have to know how to manage it.

47. Creativity is related to our ability to find new answers to old problems (Martin Seligman)

One of the phrases of psychology that approach the subject of creativity with an imaginative definition.

48. We are constantly confronted with great opportunities that are brilliantly masked by irresolvable problems (Margaret Mead)

This reference of anthropology reflected in this reflection a way of understanding the double edge of part of the opportunities that come our way .

49. People tend to evaluate themselves by comparing themselves with other people, not using absolute standards (Leon Festinger)

Festinger was one of the social psychologists most important of the twentieth century, and thus reflected the impact that our perception of others has psychological processes apparently private and that only concern you one.

50. If you want to be happy, you must resign yourself to seeing others happy (Bertrand Russell)

A psychological phrase of very direct interpretation.

51. Control the way in which a man interprets the world and you will have advanced a lot in the task of controlling his behavior (Stanley Milgram)

A reflection on the importance of perception in our way of acting.

52. Immature love says: "I love you because I need you." Mature love says: "I need you because I love you" (Erich Fromm)

One of the most remembered reflections of this psychoanalyst.

53. What one can become, one must be (Abraham Maslow)

One of the phrases on psychology that best summarizes the humanist philosophy.

54. False optimism sooner or later becomes disappointment, anger and despair (Abraham Maslow)

An observation about the consequences of the way in which some people experience what happens to them.

55. The time spent in the company of cats is never wasted (Sigmund Freud)

Finally, one of the most sympathetic Sigmund Freud phrases.

Have we left any interesting phrase about this scientific discipline? You can write it down in the comments and we will include it in the article.


20+ Psychology Tricks to Read Anyone Like a Book (October 2020).


Similar Articles