Changes in modern psychology: A citation analysis of the Kuhnian displacement thesis

Patrick C. Friman, Keith D. Allen, Mary Louise E. Kerwin, Robert Larzelere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Many psychologists believe a Kuhnian revolution - a competitive event between incommensurate paradigms in which a winner displaces losers after chaotic upheaval - has occurred in psychology. Cognitive psychology is said to be displacing behavioral psychology and psychoanalysis, but few published data support this thesis. Social science citation records from the leading journals in cognitive psychology, behavioral psychology, and psychoanalysis between 1979 and 1988 were analyzed. Results show an increasing trend for cognitive psychology but also high citation rates with no downward trends for behavioral psychology. Citation rates for psychoanalysis are not as high, but indications of decline are marginal. These findings do not support the Kuhnian displacement thesis on changes in modern psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-664
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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