PS390 Study Guide - Final Guide: Associationism, Gestalt Psychology, Scientific Revolution

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14 Aug 2019
Early modern: 17th (Scientific Revolution) and 18th (Enlightenment) centuries
-the Enlightenment was evoked by the Newtonian framework and replaced religion with empirical
science as the dominant Western ideology
-in the Enlightement, psychology still meant 'the study of the soul'
1. Describe key figures, key concepts, and key contributions of early modern psychologists on
modern day psychology
Bacon believed unifying knowledge and practice could transform scoiety and provide power
over nature (linked power with knowledge). He argued experimentation was the authority for deriving
correct causal explanations, a position which continues to influence modern psychology as seen
through the epitome of authentic scientific work being regarded as experimentation. His
methodological principles included the notion that one must generalize only from objective
observations, not preconceived ideas which is consistent with modern psychology. His view that
natural philosophers accumulate knowledge incrementally also informs modern natural-sciences views
of historical progress.
Newton argued that, because human understanding is imperfect, we must settle for probabilities,
which informs modern experimentation that analyzes the likelihood of a conclusion, rather than
concrete right or wrongs. He also epitomized mathematical deduction and experimental verification
which constitute the modern ideal methodology for psychology.
Hartley, who was an associationist, postulated that simple ideas come together to form complex
ideas, however complex ideas are not entirely reducible to simple ideas. This notion was influential to
later Gestalt psychology's notion that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Hartley and Locke
both viewed mental processes as passive, which paved the way for behaviourism. Furthermore,
associationists' belief in reductionism underlies modern psychological research in that we use specific
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