Quoting Wikipedia's article on dissociation:

There was a sharp peak in interest in dissociation in America from 1890 to 1910, especially in Boston as reflected in the work of William James, Boris Sidis, Morton Prince, and William McDougall. Nevertheless, even in America, interest in dissociation rapidly succumbed to the surging academic interest in unscientific psychoanalysis and behaviorism.

Why did psychoanalysis surge so?

I ask this in the context of there already existing a deep and somewhat rigorous psychology beforehand, with the works of Wundt, Pearson, James and many others. They used measures and math, even inventing much of the heavy math, used today more than ever. I know psychology can't inherently be all mathematically describable. There is the nature of the subjective and purely qualitative, but am I wrong in saying that Freud and the psychoanalysts were not rigorous, as they could have been?

Might they better be considered philosophers, or theorists? Consider the European tradition, with it's long and continuous history of polymath philosophers each more or less building on the former, more or less respecting and honoring the predecessor. I see Jung more in this vein and I somewhat keep him separate from the Vienna crowd or Freud but this is not about my opinion.

I had previously, until recently thought Freud's psychoanalysis was the first (modern) foray into the study of the mind, so they could be given latitude, but apparently they displaced a lot of good and serious stuff, so how did, why and how could that happen, how did they breech the bulwark of Ivy League academia, or are my premises flawed? Feel free to expand on my premises if you wish.

Thank you

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome gcr. This strike me as falling within the remit of our sister site History of Science and Mathematics rather more than ours. Please ensure to take their tour and read up in their help centre before posting to confirm that your question is on-topic. $\endgroup$ Feb 7 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @JiminyCricket - it might be a better fit for hsm.SE. Psychoanalysis is a clinical practice, and you are comparing it to research traditions. I am not sure how much psychoanalysis affected research in psychology - I think behaviourism was a much bigger influence. Why psychoanalysis took over clinical practice likely has more to do with marketing / branding to the general public. There is a well regarded documentary called The Century of the Self that attributes the popularity of psychoanalysis largely to the work of Edward Bernays. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Feb 7 at 18:12


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