The Likely Obscurity of Famous Psychologists

“The most famous psychologists today will be forgotten in less than a century”, says this study:

Varieties of Fame in Psychology,” Henry L. Roediger III, Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 11, no. 6, November 2016, pp. 882-887. The author, at Washington University, St. Louis, explains:

“Fame in psychology, as in all arenas, is a local phenomenon. Psychologists (and probably academics in all fields) often first become well known for studying a subfield of an area (say, the study of attention in cognitive psychology, or even certain tasks used to study attention). Later, the researcher may become famous within cognitive psychology. In a few cases, researchers break out of a discipline to become famous across psychology and (more rarely still) even outside the confines of academe. The progression is slow and uneven. Fame is also temporally constricted. The most famous psychologists today will be forgotten in less than a century, just as the greats from the era of World War I are rarely read or remembered today. Freud and a few others represent exceptions to the rule, but generally fame is fleeting and each generation seems to dispense with the lessons learned by previous ones to claim their place in the sun.”

Here’s further detail from the study:


(Thanks to Christian Jarrett for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS QUESTION: How famous is Henry L. Roediger III?


BONUS: “Should this essay about fame become famous?


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