PSYA01 Sept. 12
Psychology is still a relatively young part of science:
Means lots more research left to do
Unlike physics, chemistry who have been around since the very early stages of
Psychology came into existence in the time bracket of 1850-1950
The reason for this is…
For many (many, many) years, humans assumed that God was in every being. He
created humans so humans were like ‘Angels in the physical world’.
The rest of the world was considered ‘physical’ (no God inside of them).
This meant that they had to follow natural/physical laws and that their future
behaviour could be predicted.
o Humans did not follow these laws so they were considered unpredictable.
The rest of the world was studied for these behaviours but humans were not.
o Humans had ‘souls’ and souls could not be studied.
Today, the idea of ‘souls’ is in decline because of lack of belief. In the past however,
circumstances allowed for belief:
There were not explanations for many occurrences.
o This meant that they were considered ‘magic’.
Magic is based on lack of understanding (magicians can perform amazing tricks
because the audience has no understanding of the workings of the tricks.)
o In this way, people had no understanding why others behaved as they did.
The idea of souls being controlled by God allowed for an explanation. (ie.
We have zero idea why we behave as we do, blame souls for it.)
Belief in animism. Ex. Thunderstorms meant that God was displeased. (The
answer was usually to throw some female virgins into a volcano to solve it.)
o The attribution of a living soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural
o The belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Had quite a few nervous breakdowns
Believed that the mind and body were controlled by the pineal gland PSYA01 Sept. 12
While in France for stress relief, Descartes observed some ‘moving statues’:
The statues were controlled by hydraulics, however, it seemed like they were
moving on their own.
o This meant that they seemed human and had intentions. (Intentions to
move about.) Intentions were what were considered to make humans
Descartes believed that animals and humans were machines. However, humans had
souls controlling their machine bodies.
This led to Cartesian Dualism: humans are machines but we are controlled by
our souls. This means that our machine parts are controll