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Iran - History of psychology

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World Psychology: Psychology by Country · Psychology of Displaced Persons

The first psychology laboratory in Iran was established in 1933 under the supervision of A. A. Siassi.

The first IQ tests were administered in 1935 by M. B. Hushyar who was also responsible for publishing the first Iranian experimental psychology textbook in 1938 (Pereira, 2001).

Until the 1940s ‘lunatic’ asylums (dar-ol-majanin) ‘with poor conditions existed in Tehran, Hamadan, Shiraz and Isfahan’ (Yasamy et al., 2001: 381). From the 1940s onwards ‘medical schools were established and psychiatry gradually emerged from them as a branch of modern medicine’ (Yasamy et al., 2001: 381).

By 1950 a psychology programme was founded at Tehran University but the first psychology department was set up only in 1959 at the National Teacher's College in Tehran (Pereira, 2001).

The Psychological Association of Iran was established in 1968 under the Shah’s regime but stopped its activities after the Islamic ‘revolution’.

In the 1970s a series of epidemiological research projects were initiated, new psychiatric hospitals built and the Tehran Psychiatric Institute formed in 1979, in the midst of the upheavals (Yasamy et al., 2001: 382).

During the 1980s a comprehensive National Programme of Mental Health was established which was then integrated into the primary health care system in pursuit of ‘efficiency’ (Yasamy et al., 2001: 381-382).

At present there exist four nongovernmental psychology bodies which have taken over from the Shah’s Psychological Association of Iran.Now different professionals, such as clinical psychologists, counsellors and educational psychologists, run their respective guilds (Birashk, 2004: 384).


  • Birashk, B. (2004). Psychology in Iran. In K. Pawlik and M. Rosezweig (eds) The Handbook of International Psychology. London: Sage. Chapter 23: 381-394.
  • Pereira, M. E. (2001). History of the Psychology: A TimeLine of Psychological Ideas.
  • Yasamy, M. T., Shahmohammadi, D., Bagheri Yazdi, S.A., Layeghi, H., Bolhari, J., Razzaghi, E. M., Bina, M. and Mohit, A. (2001). Mental health in the Islamic Republic of Iran: achievements and areas of need. Eastern Mediterranean health Journal, May, 7(3): 381-391.

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