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11 Mar 2011
Psychology is a young science just a little over 100 years old.
It evolved from philosophy and physiology.
Father of Psychology German professor Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920) established first
formal laboratory for psychological research in 1879 at the University of Leipzig. 1881
developed first journal devoted to publishing psychological research. He focused on
psychology as the study of consciousness. He developed the method of introspection
( looking within) to study conscious experience. He trained people to observe stimuli and
describe their experiences. Eg. He would ask subjects to describe red while looking at a red
apple. Problem with this is that descriptions are very subjective.
G. Stanley Hall (1846 – 1924) considered father of American Psychology. He developed
first American psychological research lab, first American psychological research journal and
the APA( American Psychological Association)
Structuralism vs Functionalism
Structuralism introduced by a former student of Wundts, Edward Titchner. Structuralists
believed that in order to understand consciousness you had to break it down into its
underlying components ( structures ) and once you understood the components you would
understand the mind. Studied sensation and perception.
Functionalism. William James ( 1842 – 1910 ) believed we needed to study the function of
consciousness. He felt it must have a purpose for our survival as suggested by Darwin’s
Theory of Natural Selection. James viewed the mind as much more complex than its
structures. He believed the mind developed over the course of evolution to help the organism
cope with environmental demands. Functionalists believed there was a biological
significance to behavior. The focus then shifted to the study of observable events. James
believed in the stream of consciousness ( continuous flow of thoughts) and was interested in
how organisms adapted their behaviors in relation to the environmental factors presented.
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