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the use of a psychological perspective to the exclusion of all others. Since PSYCHOLOGY's reference point is the individual, and SOCIOLOGY's is society, sociologists typically use psychologism as a term of abuse when explanation appears to be at an inappropriate individualistic level.



a sociological methodology characteristic of several trends in bourgeois sociology, beginning with G. Tarde, L. Ward, W. MacDougall, and C. Cooley. Psychologism is associated with the contemporary schools of symbolic interactionism (G. Mead and his followers) and neo-Freudian-ism, as well as phenomenological sociology (H. Becker and E. Goffman, for example) and ethnological methodology. All of the varieties of psychologism try to explain social relations and structures in terms of psychological data.

The earliest, crudest, and most primitive forms of psychologism stressed the importance of hereditary factors and deduced the forms of social behavior from the supposedly primordial characteristics of the human psyche—for example, sexuality, aggressiveness, affect, and the death wish. Psychologism attempted to use personality traits (or national character) to explain social phenomena such as war and racial and class conflicts.

Later, psychologism evolved toward a repudiation of the idea of the genetic predetermination of human behavior, but it continued to reject the reality of such phenomena as society, social systems, and organizations. According to the proponents of psychologism, such concepts are metaphysical. The adherents of psychologism confine themselves to analyzing the immediate interactions of individuals and depend primarily on concepts such as “directly observable behavior” and responses to a situation. The methods of psychological analysis are important for the study of small groups, but they are unsound when applied to the study of broader social problems.

Contemporary bourgeois sociology has tried to overcome the limitations of the principles and aims of psychologism by combining it with the analysis of large social systems. T. Parsons, A. Etzioni, P. Blau, and P. Selznick are among those who have experimented with this approach, which is known as structural-functional analysis. However, most of the premises of the new approach are psychological.

Marxist sociology, which has demonstrated the limited character of psychologism, establishes the real relationship between the social and the psychological—that is, the determination of the psychological by the social.


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Zamoshkin, Iu. A. Krizis burzhuaznogo individualizma i lichnost’. Moscow, 1966.
Kon, I. S. Pozitivizm v sotsiologii. Leningrad, 1964.
Parygin, B. D. Osnovy sotsial’no-psikhologicheskoi teorii. Moscow, 1971.
Bogardus, E. S. The Development of Social Thought, 4th ed. New York [1960].
The Behavioral Sciences Today. Edited by B. Berelson. New York, 1964. Merton, R. On Theoretical Sociology. New York, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
This idea that exercises of reasoning are essentially world-citing, is used by Marcus for weakening psychologism, which typically takes mind-citing explanations as central.
A genuine thinker should look for a meta-language, a meta-paradigm for science; one that is free of the usual kinds of pretense and bigotry we encounter from time to time in the history of thought, especially modern thought: a journey from Cartesian dualism to Spinozaic monism to Berkeleyan psychologism via the weary intellectual bridges of Hume, Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein (both the analytic young Wittgenstein and the post-modern old Wittgenstein).
Exactly for these reasons, I think it is totally absurd to talk about psychologism (however clad with lyricism and intimism) in the case of Antonioni's films.
Husserl's Logical Investigations discusses with psychologism as the program of logic, which by considering laws of thinking as empirical laws leads towards subjectivism (Mohanty 2008: 65-69).
This fear of psychologism is abetted by another aspect of psychoanalysis that NT scholars explicitly disassociate themselves from; and that is Freud's purported pessimism.
34) Benedict insists, moreover, that in the cultural realm religious freedom entails the recognition, not just of psychological desires aimed at individual satisfaction, but of religious-spiritual aspirations that connect people to the wider world, creation, and the divine (see the treatment of psychologism below).
This placeless individuality, this structural idealism which affords us the luxury of the Sartrean blink, offers a welcome escape from the 'nightmare of history,' but at the same time it condemns our culture to psychologism and the 'projections' of private subjectivity.
Such questions, which venture the most crude psychologism, are surely irrelevant, but they are ones you know Patty Chang herself entertained while making her latest video, the forty-two-minute intellectual skin flick The Product Love, 2009, which recently had its NewYork premiere at Mary Boone Gallery.
Most interesting for my purpose, however, is exiled German-Jewish film critic Siegfried Kracauer's "Psychiatry for Everything and Everybody: The Present Vogue--and What Is Behind It," a thoughtful discussion of America's new postwar psychologism, and a fine example of noir humanism.
9) Philosophically, in Husserl's day, "zu den Sachen selbst" had to go not just beyond simplistic objectivism and psychologism, but also, in particular, beyond the academic and highly epistemological neo-Kantian philosophy.
The equating of these two very different understandings of dialogue often confuses the notions of the "between" with psychologism, and Buber's "being and seeming" with Rogers's "congruence and incongruence" (Arnett, 1981, pp.
Although he tries to restrict the stylistic implications within the field of religious expression, they lend themselves to different interpretations: "Transcendental style seeks to maximize the mystery of existence; it eschews all conventional interpretations of reality: realism, naturalism, psychologism, romanticism, expressionism, impressionism, and, finally, rationalism" (Schrader 10).