10 of The Most Influential 20th Century Psychologists

As we merge ever more into society as we age, we are constantly learning new ideas and ideals such as ​assimilation psychology.

In doing this, we experience things that either change or confirm our current state of mind.  This is why we are often drawn to people that have new perspectives or ideas that we can draw from.

We Are All Just Trying to Make Sense of the World- It’s the Nature of the Beast



Think about a newborn baby. Babies are the cleanest slate possible When it comes to their psychology. They have not experienced anything thus far, so they are free to learn anything without any kind of interference from previous thought.

Babies often bond with their mothers within the first weeks of life. At this point, they have learned that mothers are the most important people in the world. As they get older, they often separate from their mothers to form attachments with dad, siblings, or other caregivers.

At this point, they learn that there are more people that can be trusted, also.

From these people that they grow to trust, they will learn other things by observing, such as how to hold silverware, proper manners, and toilet training.

Another phenomena of human psychology, especially assimilation psychology is that we are always trying to be like the people we are surrounded by. We tend to dress to fit in with our peers, we sometimes pick up similar musical tastes, and we might even pick up dialects and accents based on the people we work with or live near.

Why does this happen, though?

Why Question Mark Represents Confusion Questions And Aim; assimilation psychology

​Jean Piaget initially proposed the idea of ​assimilation psychology. Piaget claimed that assimilation is a part of human psychology that is particularly important during the formative years of childhood. This is how children learn to react to social queues and how certain aspects of the world work.

How Does Assimilation Psychology Work?

Assimilation psychology, according to Piaget, is the easiest way that people adapt to new experiences.

The reason assimilation is believed to be the easiest is because it requires very little adjustment. In this method of adaptation, we simply apply new knowledge to that which is already known. Because it has to fit with what is currently known, though, how we adapt is based entirely upon our current state of mind.

For example, let’s say that your co-worker has a son who seems well adjusted and kind. One day, though, you see the boy at a local park throwing rocks at a bird’s nest.

To you, this behavior seems very out of character. Your co-worker has always bragged about their child’s sensitivity and and care and concern for animals and other people, but today he seems to be trying to harm animals.

Assimilation psychology takes place in how we process this information.

If you already have doubts about your co-worker’s honesty, you might determine that they have overinflated the good merits of the child. If you trust your co-worker, you might determine that the child is simply having a bad day or has picked up a bad habit by observing another child.

You might even work out that the child is still very kind and well-mannered, but simply has a mischievous aspect of his personality. In this case, you could find the behavior funny because it is so out of character that it is almost endearing.

This is how adaptation works based on our previous knowledge or experiences.

We take what we already know and add new information to the mix. It becomes a clue, rather than a whole new perspective. If we determine that the child is mean and that he is conning everyone including his mom, though, we are creating a completely new idea. This is a process known as accommodation.

Examples of Assimilation in Society

To further explore assimilation psychology, we need to look at a few more examples. They are as follows:

A baby tries lemons for the first time.


Imagine it’s a baby’s first birthday. They have previously tried all kinds of fruit- watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and bananas are their favorite. They have learned by trying these fruits that fruit is sweet and delicious.

Then, Uncle Mike shows up at the party. Uncle Mike has no children and makes a habit of using his nieces and nephews for a chuckle. He decides to pull a lemon slice from the pitcher of lemonade and let baby have a try, knowing the sour flavor of the fruit will give them an adorable pucker. Naturally, the ploy is successful.

The baby has now learned that not all fruits are sweet. They might also have learned to never trust food from Uncle Mike.

A child meets an angry dog.

Angry dog

Now imagine a little girl named Sophie. She has always been around dogs. Her parents have two large German Shepherds who do very well with her. Her grandpa has a Chihuahua who is also very mellow and child- friendly and Aunt Ellen has a cocker spaniel.

She’s learned from her exposure to these dogs that sometimes dogs bark a lot and sometimes they don’t bark at all. She’s also learned that they can come in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes, and coat lengths.

One day, Sophie is playing outside when a man walks his dog past. The dog begins snarling and growling and attacks the fence. He is very scary.

Sophie has now learned that some dogs are not friendly.

A woman discovers a country music CD in her rocker husband’s car.


This is a tricky one. One day, Karen gets into her husband’s car because hers is not running properly. As she pulls out of the driveway, she decides to turn on the radio and is instantly met with the sound of country music.

She checks the radio station, but discovers that she is actually listening to a CD. She is somewhat baffled. She has always known her husband to enjoy heavy metal and rock music. In fact, she met him in a mosh pit. It is out of his usual character to enjoy country music.

This can go one of two ways, depending on the history of the marital couple. If her husband has previously been unfaithful, she might immediately assume that he has been driving around a secret partner in his car.

If they have never encountered any issues before, she will probably just assume that he has learned to like a new kind of music or that he has always been a secret country music fan.

​These Are Both Examples of Assimilation Psychology


Everyday Assimilation Psychology

Piaget described processes where we learn and grow, adapting to our environment, socially and physically. He names these processes assimilation. In this process, the experience is brought in from the outside into the inside without interrupting our pre-existing ideas. This works especially well when the new item is an additional item of something we are familiar with. The process can be useful but sometimes it results in squeezing reality to fit.

The internal world has to change in response to new factors that are introduced.  This can be harder, especially in adults because it may mean changing something vital about something someone has always taken for granted. An example of this is the belief in the sanctity of marriage and moving toward divorce. The term for this is cognitive dissonance. He stated that it is not doable to hold two incompatible ideas in your head at the same time. A great way we see this carried out in real life is by having a firm belief that it is wicked to kill, yet being forced to become a soldier.

Assimilating the Internet

For anyone below midlife age, the use of the World Wide Web as the definition for all things both essential and trivial is taken for granted. The interwebs sit waiting for us to consult its seemingly-endless, virtual pages on all things from lists. to serious help to understand anything history to science. Social media allows us to connect with our family and what we now call “friends” and buying sites allow the whole world purchasing to be closer to us than our nearest mall.

For those over middle age, we have had to assimilate the internet into our lives as a tool for everyday activities: research, social interaction, and shopping.  Before it existed, we had to ask encyclopedias, annual collections of trivia, and the television for information to study. For reaching out to friends and family, we would use the house phone or wrote a letter. Shopping was done in person, always.  There will be very few people who will regret the passing of snail mail) or the limited options of strip mall shopping. The introduction of the internet has been one assimilation that has been easy and enjoyable.

This is an illustration of assimilation because though while the way we use the internet to carry out these parts of our lives, the basic concepts of studying, interacting, and shopping have not changed.

Final Thoughts on Assimilation Psychology

Understanding assimilation psychology is vital in realizing why we do the things we do as a culture. Assimilation is the reason for so much of the everyday pushback we naturally have to changes.

The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing Personality

Thanks to self-help books, and increasing open discussions revolving around mental health and personality disorders, many people fall into the trap of self-diagnosis. Although there is nothing wrong with being curious about self-exploration, and looking for answers online, it doesn’t make one an instant expert on personality disorders.

The human mind is a continuing subject of focus, intently studied by medical professionals and scientists. Despite the plethora of information online, there is still limited and ongoing studies about the causes and available treatments for various mental disorders.

One thing that makes self-diagnosing personality so dangerous is that people armed with little to no working knowledge of psychology and mental disorders, can and do quickly conclude the state of their mental health or others. Pointing out oneself or others as being OCD, bipolar, or manic without a certified diagnosis by a professional, can be very damaging.

At times, some people may feel that they do have a mental or physical illness which needs a professional diagnosis. If a person chooses to self-diagnose their believed condition, they might end up self-medicating, misdiagnosing themselves, or go untreated for whatever illness they may have.

Although there is helpful information online to guide seekers in the right direction, a self-diagnosing personality left unchecked can be a source of problems.

Some common symptoms that may be a sign of a mental or physical illness, which can lead to a misdiagnosis without professional assessment include:

  • Feeling fatigued most of the time
  • Plagued by headaches
  • Difficulty being around loud noises or bright lights
  • Auditory or physical hallucinations

At first glance, these symptoms could be the result of mental illness. But they could also be brought about by stress, exhaustion, or another valid reason.

However, only a trained and certified medical professional can accurately assess what a patient’s problem may be.

What Are The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing Personality?

Dangers of Self-Diagnosing Personality
Photo credit to The Pitt News

Although the internet is a fascinating place filled with information on everything possible, not all sites can be trusted. Some websites can misinform, or prey on people’s fears for clicks. Anyone who solely trusts whatever information they discover online, without taking it with a grain of salt, may end up believing that are fully capable of self-diagnosing without error.

When browsing the web for answers, it is important to find sources which use information sourced from journals, medical schools, or professional organizations. Ultimately, it is crucial that professional assessments are used to uncover whether there is indeed a mental or physical illness present.

According to various studies, only about 50% of people discuss their online search findings with their doctor. Many people are willing to believe what they learn from their search results and are not often willing to consult another source to fact-check.

When people have a self-diagnosing personality, they may take specific actions that can prove risky. After making a self-assessment and declaration of a perceived specific medical or mental condition, it can lead to the following.

  • An attempt may be made to cure the problem of dietary changes or taking medication
  • The self-diagnosing person may follow a treatment plan that is not needed or helpful
  • Self-diagnosing personality can lead to seeking unorthodox treatments to cure their believed problem
  • Avoidance of medical professional guidance and treatment may follow
  • Untreated and undiagnosed mental or physical problems can lead to other related health ailments, or become worse
  • A firm belief that the self-diagnosis is infallible and no second opinion is needed may occur

Self-diagnosing personality can prove hazardous because it leads to an assumption that enough information is known to declare a status. Having a limited amount of information, and overconfidence about the level of knowledge needed to diagnose correctly can lead to ignoring, or completely passing over nuances of certain mental or physical conditions.

It can become easy for self-diagnosing personality types to incorrectly asses specific medical ailments as a psychiatric problem. As an example, cardiovascular system problems that lead to irregular heartbeats might be self-diagnosed as a panic attack disorder.

Sometimes tumors can lead to personality changes, which may lead to self-medication with over-the-counter drugs, or other temporary solutions.

So Why Are People Prone To Self-Diagnosing Personality?

Borderline Personality Disorder
Photo credit to Optimum Performance Institute

Conversations about mental health and physical ailments can be quite the hot topic. However, due to stigma, or reliance on the internet, many people turn to self-diagnosing.

According to sources like Wikipedia, the term cyberchondria, or ‘compucondria’ has developed in today’s modern society. This term is used to define deeply unfounded concerns about symptoms, after a review of internet searches and literature has been read online.

Many healthcare professionals have become leery of patients who feel that they are expert enough to self-diagnose any perceived illness or disease. And these patients may often exhibit anxiety over their conclusions. According to CBS, over a third of Americans choose to go online to uncover the cause of their health condition, versus seeking the advice of a medical professional first.

Sometimes, after receiving a negative diagnosis from a medical professional, patients may feel anxious, devastated, or desperate for a second opinion. Negative experiences with medical professionals can also contribute to self-diagnosis personality. After all, some people feel like only they can know themselves best.

On further diagnosis, many patients may find that their self-diagnosis completely missed the mark, or was not as bad as previously thought.

Undermining The Authority of Medical Professionals

Undermining The Authority of Medical Professionals
Photo credit to Medscape

Doctors take an oath to look out for the well-being of their patients with a commitment to ethics within their practice. After spending so many years learning the ins-and-outs of their profession, it can be more than challenging interacting with a self-diagnosing personality.

When a person feels that they have enough understanding to diagnose their health after browsing the web, it can create unbalance and distrust within a doctor and patient relationship. Trust is essential to deriving an accurate diagnosis of an ailment.

It is vital that a doctor respect the patient’s opinion, and be open to a discussion surrounding the facts of a mental and physical health diagnosis and treatment plan.

There are many occasions where the symptoms of one health condition, such as anxiety, may be present alongside another condition like depression. Someone with a self-diagnosing personality is usually unable to discern accurately what a patient is dealing with or may think that there is a problem that in fact doesn’t exist.

Worrying about a health condition that doesn’t even exist, at times may be even worse than a misdiagnosis.

Seeking out a knowledgeable professional that can be trusted, and is willing to assess and treat both mental and physical health problems respectfully is valuable. The internet may be a significant source of information, but a one-on-one interaction between a doctor and patient can better surmise a proper diagnosis.

Embracing Positive Steps And Getting Professional Help

Embracing Positive Steps And Getting Professional Help
Photo credit to Healthline

People may choose to self-diagnose because of embarrassment about their symptoms, they don’t want to spend on medical expenses, or they are in denial. No matter the reason, self-diagnosis may lead to more harm than good.

Choosing to get a second opinion from a trusted medical professional is the only way to gain more clarity on one’s mental and physical health.

An incorrect diagnosis can lead to taking the wrong form of treatment, development of anxiety or depression over a believed condition which may not even exist, and avoidance of necessary treatment.

All sites do not provide the most accurate information on human health, and questionable websites that lack affiliation with a medical or healthcare institution should undergo some scrutiny.

There is nothing wrong with being curious and having a desire to learn more about the health symptoms that may cause some alarm. However, immediately applying whatever little information learned online, as a succinct and complete diagnosis is problematic.

When receiving a professional assessment for diagnosis, patients should look for their health care provider to commit to doing a few key things.

Any relevant information regarding a patient’s lifestyle, significant changes, and other pertinent details may be needed.

Standard tests used to measure the quality and impact that specific symptoms may have, and overall mental and or physical health.

Upon diagnosis, the patient should receive comprehensive information regarding treatment options, and conclusive findings.

An opportunity to discuss any information found online should be made available, to clarify any misinformation, and to acknowledge proactivity of patient for greater self-awareness.

The medical professional should set a tone that seeks to establish a relationship built on trust, mutual respect, and open discussion.

Leave The Final Diagnosis To The Professionals

People who have self-diagnosis personality are more likely to self-medicate, and obsess over the anxieties of their perceived health condition. Sometimes self-diagnosing types can develop the symptoms of their believed state, leading to even more problems when a professional finally gets involved.

When in doubt, it is best to get a second opinion from a valid certifiable source and let the medical professionals do their job. Self-diagnosis personality can lead to risky behavior, damaging name-calling, and rampant misinformation.