Symbol of Psychology : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread

I've wondered why was the symbol of psychology a fork-like? Has it anything to do with its history? HELP!

-- Ingrid Fernando (, April 10, 2002


It is the Greek letter "psi" which is the first letter of the Greek word "psuchê," which is the one of the roots of the term "psychology."

-- Christopher Green (, April 10, 2002.

there is a history to the symbol that represents psychology; it's an abbreviation for the topic

-- IG (, May 06, 2004.

In ancient times, anything that had to do with mental illness was categorized as diabolic,since they thought that all abnormal behavior was caused by the devil and evil spirits. Ergo, the people who studied this abnormal behavior ("psychologists") were also thought of as evil. Because the devil holds this fork-like figure in his hand, psychology (back then considered a diabolic branch of study) took this symbol as their own.

-- lora arbol (, August 25, 2004.

Unfortunately, Lora's answer is almost entirely false. First, in "ancient times" (i.e., before Christ) there was no concept equivalent to the Christian "devil." The Greek and Roman gods were neither all good nor all evil. There being no devil, the "fork-like" figure did not have the same significance for them that it does for (some of) us. The trident (a fish spear) was, far from being associated with evil, the symbol of the god of the sea, Poseidon for the Greeks, Neptune for the Romans.

The figure now used for psychology, however, has nothing to do with Poseidon's trident. It is the penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, psi, which is the first letter of the Greek term psyche (or, more accurately, "psuche").

What is more, "abnormal behavior" was rarely attributed to "evil spirits." It was more usually thought to be caused by an imbalance of humors, damage to an organ (often the brain), or bad upbringing and education, though a certain kind of madness calle "ate," found in some literarary works, was said to be induced by the gods or by the "furies."

-- Christopher Green (cgreen@chass.utoronto), August 25, 2004.

Well in one way or another, the Concepts that follows above contributes to the understanding of its history (Why a trident fork), a mere piece of a pie from which the represents the whole, but the mystery evades a description set aside from its definition...but basically, If we are to consider language is inadvertent just as any symbology is.

In the mere sense, the symbol is interpreted until nowadays as MIND & SOUL.

-- Kristian Aleksei Ledda (, October 25, 2004.

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