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PSYC 1200 Lecture Notes - Ethnocentrism, Experimental Psychology, Margaret Floy Washburn

Course Code
PSYC 1200
Jason Leboe- Mcgowan

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The Evolution of Psychology
Psychology: the study of the mind
o Comes from two Greek words, psyche, which means soul, and logos, which refers to
the study of a subject
o The term psychology did not gain more than rare usage until the early 18th century
The Contributions of Wundt and Hall
Psychology's parents were the disciplines of philosophy and physiology
o Experts in those fields viewed questions about the mind as fascinating issues within
their discipline
Wilhelm Wundt (1832 - 1920)
o German professor who changed this view
o Mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline rather then a
stepchild of the others
o Timing was right - German universities were expanding and the intellectual climate
favored the scientific approach that Wundt advocated
o In 1879, Wundt established the first formal laboratory for research in psychology, at
the University of Leipzig.
Historians have christened 1879 as the year that psychology was born
o In 1881, he established the first journal devoted to publishing research on psychology
o He is widely characterized as the founder of psychology
Declared that it should be a science modeled after fields like physics and
o According to Wundt, psychology's primary focus was consciousness - the awareness
of immediate experience
o G Stanley Hall - studied under Wundt
Established America's first research laboratory at John Hopkins, in 1883
In 1887, he established the American Psychological Organization
Worlds largest organization devoted to the advancement of psychology
The Battle of "Schools" Begins: Structuralism vs. Functionalism
Structuralism: based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness
into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related
o Emerged through the leadership of Edward Titchner
o Structuralists wanted to identify and examine the fundamental components of
conscious experience, such as sensations, feelings, and images
o Introspection: the careful, systematic self-observation of one's own conscious
Subjects were exposed to stimuli and asked to analyze what they experienced
o More laboratory based
o Limitations associated with the use of introspection were a factor that contributed to
the demise of structuralism
If you depend solely in an individuals reflection to document a phenomenon,
there is no independent objective evaluation of that claim
Functionalism: based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or
purpose of consciousness, rather than structure
o Based of work of William James

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Principles of Psychology became standard reading for a generations of
psychologists - one of the most influential texts in the history of psychology
o Natural selection: heritable characteristics that provide a survival or reproductive
advantage are more likely to be passed along - 'selected' over time
James applied this idea to humans - psychology should investigate the function,
instead of structure of consciousness
Wanted to understand the flow of consciousness - the flow of
Argued that Structuralists were looking at static points
o Spent more time studying people in the real world, than in the laboratory
o Margaret Floy Washburn - first woman in the US to receive a Ph.D in psychology\
Author of the book - The Animal Mind - served as a precursor to behavioralism
o Fostered the development of behaviouralism and applied psychology
Watson Alters Psychology's Course as Behaviorism Makes Its Debut
Behaviorists, lead by John B. Watson, argued that psychology should only study
observable behavior. Thus they campaigned to redefine psychology as the science of
Behavior: refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
Watson asked question - nature vs. nurture
o Argued that people are made, not born
o Downplayed the importance of heredity
Viewed psychology's mission as an attempt to relate overt behaviors (responses) to
observable events in the environment (stimuli)
Stimulus: any detectable input from the environment
Behavioral approach often referred to as stimulus-response (S-R) psychology
o Emphasizing the importance of the environment over heredity, behaviorists began to
explore stimulus-response relationships, often using animals as subjects
Ivan Pavlov showed that dogs could be trained to salivate in response to an
auditory stimulus such as a tone
The Gestalt theories challenged Watson's
o Argued that psychology should continue to study conscious experience rather than
overt behavior
Freud also challenged Watson
Freud Brings the Unconscious Into the Picture
Freud's approach to psychology grew out of his efforts to treat mental disorders
The unconscious: contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface
of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour
o Believed that slips of the tongue and dreams revealed people's true feelings
By arguing that behavior is governed by unconscious forces, Freud suggested that people
are not the masters of their minds
o Proposed that behaviour is influenced by how people cope with sexual urges
By 1920, the psychoanalytic theory was widely known around the world, but continued to
meet with resistance
o It conflicted with the spirit of the times
o Psychologists felt that the conscious experience was inaccessible to scientific
observations, never mind the unconscious
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