In human thermodynamics, psychothermodynamics is the study of the mind, psyche, psychological processes in terms of thermodynamics, energy, or entropy. Synonyms to the term “psychothermodynamics” include: energy psychology, psychodynamics, and the more clarifying term psychological thermodynamics.

In 1964, Swiss-born American psychiatrist Jurgen Ruesch was employing the conjoined term “psycho-thermodynamics” in the psychological modeling of human functioning based on energy analogies, as contrasted with “psychohydraulics” (pressure analogies) or “psychoelectronics” (machine analogies). [1]

In circa 1997, Internet humorist writer Lyle Zapato (pen name), in thermodynamics humor, listed in his qualifications brief, in thermodynamic parody style, that he received his MA in psychothermodynamics from Kelvinic University (a play on William Thomson, i.e. Lord Kelvin). [2]

In 2002, American alternative medicine philosopher Laurence Foss penned a seventeen-page chapter section entitled “The Second Law of Psychothermodynamics” in which he utilizes English physicist Paul Davies’ 1983 gravity-driven entropy gap model, mixed anthropomorphized ideas on negentropy, information theory, vitalism, and self-organization, among others, to argue that the second law deviates when it comes to the formation of humans and human psychological functioning. [3]

1. (a) Ruesch, Jurgen. (1964). “Clinical Science and Communication Theory”, Disorders of Communication: Proceedings of the Association, December 7 and 8 (psycho-thermodynamics, pg. 252). Williams & Wilkins.
(b) Ruesch, Jurgen. (1972). Semiotic Approaches to Human Relations (psycho-thermodynamics, pg. 492). Mouton.
2. (a) ZPi Research Labs –
(b) Lyle Zapato –
3. Foss, Laurence. (2002). The End of Modern Medicine: Biomedical Science under a Microscope (Section: Second Law of Psychothermodynamics, pgs. 229-36). SUNY Press.

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