Isaac Asimov’s term for: a hypothetical science using a combination of history, psychology, and statistics to make long-term predictions about large groups or populations
The 1934 quotation shows the earliest example of a sense in psychology, ‘the analysis or interpretation of historical events from the point of view of psychological or psychoanalytic theory’.
[1934 Reunion 1 34
Judged by this profound philosophical test, so many of the glibly clear solutions of psycho-history are unsatisfactory.]
After the Fall will come inevitable barbarism, a period which, our psychohistory tells us, should…last from thirty to fifty thousand years.
Foundation in Astounding Science-Fiction May 42/1
As I understand it, your investigations into the mathematics of psychohistory have been intended to duplicate Hari Seldon’s work and, eventually, trace the projected course of future history.
The Mule in Astounding Science-Fiction Nov. 37/2
Undoubtedly his greatest contributions were in the field of psychohistory.
Foundation Trilogy–Foundation i. 3
Hari Seldon’s psychohistory probably isn’t possible; but something short of it may yet be developed by people trained in scientific method and equipped with modern tools.
New Beginnings: The Proper Study of Mankind in Destinies Spring 44
1996 New Scientist 20 Jan. 44/2
Donald Kingsbury’s ‘Historical Crisis’ challenges the Asimovian concept of psychohistory, a mathematical scheme for predicting the future of societies.
Isaac Asimov, in Astounding.
Research HistoryThere are prior non-sf usages, but this is almost certainly the first usage in the sf sense.
Last modified 2021-01-22 10:33:02
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.