New games! PlayTrivia andBirthle.

The Most Famous


Icon of occuation in country

This page contains a list of the greatest French Psychologists. The pantheon dataset contains 183 Psychologists, 11 of which were born in France. This makes France the birth place of the 5th most number of Psychologists behind United Kingdom and Austria.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary French Psychologists of all time. This list of famous French Psychologists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of French Psychologists.

Photo of Jacques Lacan

1. Jacques Lacan (1901 - 1981)

With an HPI of 76.13, Jacques Lacan is the most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 64 different languages on wikipedia.

Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (UK: , US: , French: [ʒak maʁi emil lakɑ̃]; 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981) was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. Described as "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud", Lacan gave yearly seminars in Paris, from 1953 to 1981, and published papers that were later collected in the book Écrits. His work made a significant impact on continental philosophy and cultural theory in areas such as post-structuralism, critical theory, feminist theory and film theory, as well as on the practice of psychoanalysis itself. Lacan took up and discussed the whole range of Freudian concepts, emphasizing the philosophical dimension of Freud's thought and applying concepts derived from structuralism in linguistics and anthropology to its development in his own work, which he would further augment by employing formulae from predicate logic and topology. Taking this new direction, and introducing controversial innovations in clinical practice, led to expulsion for Lacan and his followers from the International Psychoanalytic Association. In consequence, Lacan went on to establish new psychoanalytic institutions to promote and develop his work, which he declared to be a "return to Freud", in opposition to prevalent trends in psychology and institutional psychoanalysis collusive of adaptation to social norms.

Photo of Gustave Le Bon

2. Gustave Le Bon (1841 - 1931)

With an HPI of 73.87, Gustave Le Bon is the 2nd most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon (French: [ɡystav lə bɔ̃]; 7 May 1841 – 13 December 1931) was a leading French polymath whose areas of interest included anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, invention, and physics. He is best known for his 1895 work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, which is considered one of the seminal works of crowd psychology.A native of Nogent-le-Rotrou, Le Bon qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Paris in 1866. He opted against the formal practice of medicine as a physician, instead beginning his writing career the same year of his graduation. He published a number of medical articles and books before joining the French Army after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. Defeat in the war coupled with being a first-hand witness to the Paris Commune of 1871 strongly shaped Le Bon's worldview. He then travelled widely, touring Europe, Asia and North Africa. He analysed the peoples and the civilisations he encountered under the umbrella of the nascent field of anthropology, developing an essentialist view of humanity, and invented a portable cephalometer during his travels. In the 1890s, he turned to psychology and sociology, in which fields he released his most successful works. Le Bon developed the view that crowds are not the sum of their individual parts, proposing that within crowds there forms a new psychological entity, the characteristics of which are determined by the "racial unconscious" of the crowd. At the same time he created his psychological and sociological theories, he performed experiments in physics and published popular books on the subject, anticipating the mass–energy equivalence and prophesising the Atomic Age. Le Bon maintained his eclectic interests up until his death in 1931. Ignored or maligned by sections of the French academic and scientific establishment during his life due to his politically conservative and reactionary views, Le Bon was critical of majoritarianism and socialism.

Photo of Alfred Binet

3. Alfred Binet (1857 - 1911)

With an HPI of 69.63, Alfred Binet is the 3rd most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Alfred Binet (French: [binɛ]; 8 July 1857 – 18 October 1911), born Alfredo Binetti, was a French psychologist who invented the first practical IQ test, the Binet–Simon test. In 1904, the French Ministry of Education asked psychologist Alfred Binet to devise a method that would determine which students did not learn effectively from regular classroom instruction so they could be given remedial work. Along with his collaborator Théodore Simon, Binet published revisions of his test in 1908 and 1911, the last of which appeared just before his death.

Photo of Princess Marie Bonaparte

4. Princess Marie Bonaparte (1882 - 1962)

With an HPI of 65.43, Princess Marie Bonaparte is the 4th most famous French Psychologist.  Her biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Princess Marie Bonaparte (2 July 1882 – 21 September 1962), known as Princess George of Greece and Denmark upon her marriage, was a French author and psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis and enabled Freud's escape from Nazi Germany. Marie Bonaparte was a great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France. She was the only child of Roland Napoléon Bonaparte, 6th Prince of Canino and Musignano (1858–1924) and Marie-Félix Blanc (1859–1882). Her paternal grandfather was Prince Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Lucien Bonaparte, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano, Napoleon's rebellious younger brother. For this reason, despite her title, Marie was not a member of the dynastic branch of the Bonapartes who claimed the French imperial throne from exile. Her maternal grandfather was François Blanc, the principal real estate developer of Monte Carlo. It was from this side of her family that Marie inherited her great fortune.

Photo of Pierre Janet

5. Pierre Janet (1859 - 1947)

With an HPI of 62.53, Pierre Janet is the 5th most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Pierre Marie Félix Janet (French: [ʒanɛ]; 30 May 1859 – 24 February 1947) was a pioneering French psychologist, physician, philosopher, and psychotherapist in the field of dissociation and traumatic memory. He is ranked alongside William James and Wilhelm Wundt as one of the founding fathers of psychology. He was the first to introduce the link between past experiences and present-day disturbances and was noted for his studies involving induced somnambulism.

Photo of Théodule-Armand Ribot

6. Théodule-Armand Ribot (1839 - 1916)

With an HPI of 58.31, Théodule-Armand Ribot is the 6th most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Théodule-Armand Ribot (18 December 1839 – 9 December 1916) was a French psychologist. He was born at Guingamp, and was educated at the Lycée de St Brieuc. He is known as the founder of scientific psychology in France, and gave his name to Ribot's Law regarding retrograde amnesia. In 1856 he began to teach, and was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure in 1862.He passed his agrégation in philosophy, this allowed him to teach in high school. He worked as a high school teacher in Vesoul (1866–1868), and then in Laval (1868–1872).On the 9 April 1888 at The Collège de France he gave the first lecture in psychology in France.In 1885 he gave a course of lectures on Experimental Psychology at the Sorbonne, and in 1888 was appointed professor of that subject at the College of France. His thesis for his doctors' degree, republished in 1882, Hérédité: étude psychologique (5th ed., 1889), was his most important and best known book.L'Hérédité psychologique is considered to have introduced Darwinian and Spencerian evolutionary ideas to France.Following the experimental and synthetic methods, he brought together a large number of instances of inherited peculiarities. He paid particular attention to the physical element of mental life, ignoring all spiritual or nonmaterial factors in man. In his work on La Psychologie anglaise contemporaine: l'école expérimentale (1870), he showed his sympathy with the sensationalist school, and again in his translation of Herbert Spencer's Principles of Psychology.Ribot was in 1889 the co-president (with Jean-Martin Charcot) of the first international congress for experimental psychology and in 1890 the president for the fourth congress. From the first 12 such international congresses, the International Union of Psychological Science eventually emerged. Besides numerous articles, he wrote on Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosophie de Schopenhauer (1874; 7th ed., 1896), and on the contemporary psychology of Germany (La Psychologie allemande contemporaine, 1879; 13th ed., 1898), also four little monographs on Les Maladies de la mémoire (1881; x3th ed., 1898); De la volonté (1883; 14th ed., 1899); De la personnalité (1885; 8th ed., 1899); and La Psychologie de l'attention (1888), which supplied useful data to the study of mental illness.In 1896 he introduced the term Anhedonia describing the inability to feel pleasure.

Photo of Émile Coué

7. Émile Coué (1857 - 1926)

With an HPI of 57.46, Émile Coué is the 7th most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie (French: [emil kue də la ʃɑtɛɲʁɛ]; 26 February 1857 – 2 July 1926) was a French psychologist and pharmacist who introduced a popular method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion.Considered by Charles Baudouin to represent a second Nancy School, Coué treated many patients in groups and free of charge.

Photo of Henri Wallon

8. Henri Wallon (1879 - 1962)

With an HPI of 56.64, Henri Wallon is the 8th most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Henri Paul Hyacinthe Wallon (March 15, 1879 – December 1, 1962) was a French philosopher, psychologist (in the field of social psychology), neuropsychiatrist, teacher, and politician. He was the grandson of the historian and statesman Henri-Alexandre Wallon.

Photo of Françoise Dolto

9. Françoise Dolto (1908 - 1988)

With an HPI of 54.42, Françoise Dolto is the 9th most famous French Psychologist.  Her biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Françoise Dolto (French: [dɔlto]; November 6, 1908 – August 25, 1988) was a French pediatrician and psychoanalyst.

Photo of Jean Laplanche

10. Jean Laplanche (1924 - 2012)

With an HPI of 52.27, Jean Laplanche is the 10th most famous French Psychologist.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Jean Laplanche (French: [laplɑ̃ʃ]; 21 June 1924 – 6 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud's seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as "the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day."From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud's complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud / Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.

Pantheon has 11 people classified as psychologists born between 1839 and 1937. Of these 11, 1 (9.09%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living psychologists include Boris Cyrulnik. The most famous deceased psychologists include Jacques Lacan, Gustave Le Bon, and Alfred Binet. As of April 2022, 1 new psychologists have been added to Pantheon including Boris Cyrulnik.

Living Psychologists

Go to all Rankings

Deceased Psychologists

Go to all Rankings

Newly Added Psychologists (2022)

Go to all Rankings

Which Psychologists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 10 most globally memorable Psychologists since 1700.