Humanistic psychology emerged in the 1950s in reaction to both behaviorism and psychoanalysis. It is concerned with the subjective experience of human beings, and views using quantitative methods in the study of the human mind and behaviour as misguided. This is in direct contrast to cognitivism (which aims to apply the scientific method to the study of psychology), an approach of which humanistic psychology has been strongly critical. Instead, the discipline stresses a phenomenological view of human experience, seeking to understand human beings and their behavior by conducting qualitative research.
Humanistic psychologists use a narrow definition of humanism. The American Humanist Association, for example, has had as members many psychologists whom humanistic psychologists would not consider humanist, B. F. Skinner being perhaps the most prominent example.