PS390 Study Guide - Final Guide: Kotodama, Zeitgeist, Psychologies
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Describe different definitions of Psychology and how they have changed historically.
Before psychology became distinct from philosophy, it was considered to be the study of the
soul. Later definitions encompassed other areas of focus. Psychologists, trying to create boundaries for
their discipline, replaced the word “soul” with “mind” which they believed was material and thus not
associated with metaphysics. Behavioural psychologists treated their discipline as the study of overt
behaviour, positing non-observable aspects of human life as irrelevant or not possible to study
scientifically. Psychoanalysts in the 1900s, on the other hand, thought of psychology as having to do
more with the study of consciousness, rather than behaviour. In modern times, psychology is more
broadly considered the study of behaviour and mental life, with attention given to social, cultural,
clinical, developmental, and biological factors.
Describe different definitions and types of history, the crucial role that interpretation plays, and
different assumptions about historical change.
Definitions of History and Crucial Role of Interpretation:
History is the record of chronicle of past events, which can never be complete as one always filters
events through subjective lenses, selecting from events what they believe are important and worthy of
documentation. Another definition of history posits that it is the interpretation of the record of past
events in order to understand them, while a third says it is the interpretation of past events from
multiple perspectives in order to understand their meaning. The latter takes a more critical approach,
though both of these definitions stress the importance of interpretation. As interpretation is inherent
when recording or explaining history, it must be stressed that our record of history itself is not objective
and may exclude the perspectives of marginalized groups. Additionally, when interpreting history it is
essential to understand past events in the context they took place in. Historical events do not exist in
isolation but were embedded in the zeitgeist of the time and influenced by cultural and political factors.