PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Wilhelm Wundt, Evolutionism, Psychophysics

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13 Nov 2012
PSYA01 Sept. 14
Germany was very powerful at the time that psychology was starting to get started:
Economic power
o Meant lots of money for: a strong military and research into science.
o Led to wars
State funded research
o More chances for research into psychology to be carried out.
Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894)
He studied measuring the speed of neural impulses.
People thought this was difficult and even impossible at the time.
His experiment involved measuring the nerves from hand-spine-brain.
This was tested by a chain of hand squeezes, timed.
Von Helmholtz knew the average nerve span, time to complete the chain,
amount of people… this led to being able to calculate the speed of neural
Humans have very slow neural impulses, generally, when compared to machines.
Ernst Weber (1795-1878)
He studied ‘psychophysics’:
How the mind works with ‘conscious experiences’.
His experiment involved getting a blindfolded person with two different weights (one per
hand) and asking the person to identify when they felt a weight distance.
It took a one in ten ratio in weight differences to identify a difference.
This led to proof that what happens in the mind follows mathematics.
Willhelm Wundt (1832-1920)
He was the first to refer to himself as a ‘psychologist’.
Wrote the first psychology textbook The Principles of Physiological Psychology
(aprox. 1898).
He founded the structuralist approach.
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