Introducing the Basics

Psychology Before Psychology

What was happening in the Muslim world during the Middle Ages?

Within one century after the death of the Islamic prophet Mohammed (570–632), Muslim armies had conquered almost all of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, encompassing essentially the southern half of the former Roman Empire. In contrast to northern Europe where the advanced culture of the Greco-Roman world was largely lost for a millennium, the literature of the ancient scholars was preserved in medieval Islam and several centers of learning were established across the Arab world. Avicenna (980–1031), who was known in Arabic as ibn Sina, was committed to the synthesis of classical literature with Islamic doctrine.

Despite a traumatically peripatetic life, Avicenna succeeded in writing one of the most influential texts in the history of medicine, known as the Canon of Medicine. As a physician, he was very familiar with psychological illness. He endorsed the doctrine of the four humors in the tradition of Hippocrates and Galen as well as the brain’s role in psychological disturbances. His theory about inner senses addressed the relationships between perception, memory, and imagination. He even speculated about what parts of the brain control different psychological functions.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App