A History of Behavioral Psychology

246 pages

August, 2000

ISBN: 9780814756126



Also available in



Part of the Qualitative Studies in Psychology series


JOHN A. MILLS is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan.

All books by John A. Mills

Behaviorism has been the dominant force in the creation of modern American psychology. However, the unquestioned and unquestioning nature of this dominance has obfuscated the complexity of behaviorism.

Control serves as an antidote to this historical myopia, providing the most comprehensive history of behaviorism yet written. Mills successfully balances the investigation of individual theorists and their contributions with analysis of the structures of assumption which underlie all behaviorist psychology, and with behaviorism's role as both creator and creature of larger American intellectual patterns, practices, and values.

Furthermore, Mills provides a cogent critique of behaviorists' narrow attitudes toward human motivation, exploring how their positivism cripples their ability to account for the unobservable, inner factors that control behavior. Control's blend of history and criticism advances our understanding not only of behaviorism, but also the development of social science and positivism in twentieth-century America.


  • "The book is excellent."

    American Journal of Psychology

  • "Control, a strongly written work of careful scholarship, will be a critical part of that continuing discussion and it deserves the attention of all historians of the discipline. Readers will be rewarded with important insights."

    Theory & Psychology

  • "[A] highly readable, at times entertaining, yet eminently scholarly book."

    History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin