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Psychological Systems

  1. Joseph J. Pear

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0731

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Pear, J. J. 2010. Psychological Systems. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Manitoba, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


A psychological system is a way of conceptualizing and organizing the basic phenomena of psychology. It is similar to what in advanced sciences Kuhn (1962) called a paradigm. Like a paradigm, a psychological system subsumes under a single umbrella theories that are based on similar assumptions and use a similar language to describe phenomena. Over the history of psychology, four distinct systems have emerged: cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioral, and humanistic psychology (Pear, 2007). Although other classifications have been proposed, the one used here is the most parsimonious.


  • system;
  • paradigm;
  • behavioral psychology;
  • cognitive psychology;
  • humanistic psychology;
  • psychodynamic psychology