History of Psychology

History of PsychologyPeople in today??™s society may be curious about the teachings of psychology. Others may wonder about what society can learn by studying psychology of the past. This understanding of psychology may assist psychologists with avoiding mistakes of the past and recognizing the important teachings for the future of mankind. This paper will indentify philosophers who relate to the beginnings of psychology, major philosophers in the western tradition that were primary contributors, and explore the development of the science of psychology during the 19th century. (How to start write essay?)
Indentify Philosophers Who Impacted the Beginnings of Psychology
As the Oracle Education Foundation (n.d.) states, ???psychology has a long past, but only a short history??? (Para. 1), as Germen Hermann Ebbinghaus makes this statement of psychology. A historian of psychology, Morton Hunt, explains that an experiment conducted by a King of Egypt in the seventh century B.C. may have been the first experiment of psychology.
Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, ancient Greek philosophers, are thought to have the original thoughts of psychology-related works. Socrates (469-399 B.C.) is known as a founder of Western Philosophy. A student of Socrates was Plato (428-347 B.C.) who was a well-known Greek philosopher whose work was influenced by Socrates and what he saw in the death of Socrates. A student of Plato??™s teachings was Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and his teachings were crucial to the founding of western philosophy, science and logic, metaphysics, and politics. According to Oracle Education Foundation (n.d.), their early questions of philosophy were of what ???is free will, how does the mind work, and what is the relationship of the people to their society??? (Para. 2). During the next hundreds of years, philosophers would work on these questions and other related questions that would lead to the roots of psychology. Some of the origins of psychology can trace its foundation from the study of physiology. Professor Wilhelm Wundt, known as the father of psychology, who would work on methodical approaches of experiments on human consciousness that would lead to the first laboratory of psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1897. Major Philosophers in the Western Tradition that were Primary Contributors
The Oracle Education Foundation states that E.B.Titchener was a student of Wilhelm Wundt and would become a strong voice for structuralism in America. Structuralism was the early school of thought that Wundt began to describe the consciousness structure by the careful observation of conscious experiences. Opposing this was functionalism, another school of thought, and led by John Dewey and William James. Functionalism, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy-Functionalism (2009), ???in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part??? (Para.1).
These varying approaches would attempt to prove each other wrong, but instead would shape the future of psychology in America. In 1883, Stanley Hall would establish the initial laboratory of psychology at John Hopkins University in the United States. In the early 1900s, there were dozens of psychological laboratories, three journals of psychology, and the founding of the American Psychology Association. Eventually, both structuralism and functionalism would subside but not be forgotten because of the importance that of their theories. Psychologists still study the ideas of function and structure.
Around 1913, John B. Watson would begin a new idea of behaviorism. Behaviorism, as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Behaviorism (2009) states ???it has sometimes been said that ???behave is what organisms do.??? Behaviorism is built on this assumption, and its goal is to promote the scientific study of behavior??? (Para. 1). Watson would look at how the environment can affect behavior and how people will learn new responses from their environment. This approach was a dominant approach to psychology for 40 years and B.F. Skinner would become the successor of Watson. Skinner would establish his view of operant conditioning could be vital in learning.
Development of the Science of Psychology during the 19th Century
The 19th century would see new approaches that could aid in the study of the nervous system and the brain. These ideas would lay the groundwork for psychology to become a scientific approach. By the use of data, research, and the ability to prove such findings would be instrumental for validation of the psychological ideas. How the nervous system functions and localizing the functions of the brain were two crucial advancements in field of psychology.
As Goodwin (2008) states, when understanding how the nervous works, a discovery that would be recognizable as Bell-Magrendle law, found that ???the posterior roots of the spinal cord controlled sensation, while anterior roots controlled motor responses??? (p. 67). This new discovery would be crucial for providing a foundation of anatomy for studying reflexes; movement and sensation. This would aid in understanding that a nerve sends a message in a single direction and there is different motor and sensory tracts in a person??™s spinal cord and possibly differing regions on the brain.
The structural makeup of the brain was vital influence of the 19th century. Localizing of a brains function would assist psychologists to understand that different parts of the brain could control different areas of the body. This new area of study would become phrenology. Franz Josef Gall, a phrenologist would prove the theory that one side of the brain would control the opposite side of the body and vice versa. These advancements would aid in the study of brain damage and mental illness.Conclusion
Many early philosophers would have a vital impact on the history of psychology. Philosophers would lay the foundation with varying approaches to the school of thought of psychology and how people would study the mind. Many of these ideas are still influencing psychology today. This paper explained the philosophers who were influential in the beginnings of psychology, major philosophers in the western tradition that were primary contributors, and explore the development of the science of psychology during the 19th century. References
Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A history of modern psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Oracle Education Foundation-History of Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2012 from http://library.thinkquest.org/C005870/history/index.phpid=historyP1
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Behaviorism. (2009). Retrieved January 23, 2012 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/behaviorism/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Functionalism. (2009). Retrieved January 23, 2012 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/functionalism/

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