Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 1: THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOLOGY
I. From Speculation to Science: How Psychology Developed
A.A New Science is Born: The Contributions of Wundt & Hall
1. “psyche” – soul “logos” – study of (Greek roots)
2. Defined in 16th Century, yet not popular till early 18th century.
3. Born out of philosophy and physiology – movement led by Wilhelm Wundt
a.1879 – 1st Formal Lab for Psych research, Univ of Leipzig
b. 1881 – Wundt starts 1st psych journal
c.Wundt known as father of psych
d. According to Wundt, psych should be a science. Focus on
consciousness. Psych became the scientific study of conscious
4. Hall, G Stanley – studied briefly with Wundt, contributor to American Psych.
a.Established first American research lab – John Hopkins (1883)
b. Launched American’s 1st Journal (1887)
c.1892 – Became 1st president of APA.
B. The Battle of the Schools Begins – Structuralism vs. Functionalism.
1. Structuralism – led by English Edward Tichener (studied in the States though)
a.Based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze
consciousness into it’s basic elements and investigate how these
i.Wanted to identify and examine fundamentals of consciousness, like
sensations, feelings, and images.
b. Most work centered around sensation and perception in vision, hearing
c.Relied on “introspection” – careful, systematic, self observation of one’s
own conscious experience.
i.Required training to make subject m ore aware and objective
ii.One trained, exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions, and visual
stimuli under carefully controlled and systematically varied conditions.
Then asked to analyze what they experienced.
2. Functionalism – based on the belief that psychology should investigate the
function/purpose of consciousness, not the structure. Led by American William
a.Author of “Principles of Psych” (1890) – most influential work
b. Believed psych is embedded in network of culture and intellectual
c.Influenced by Darwin, natural selection – heritable characteristics that
provide a survival or reproductive advantage are more likely than
alternative characteristics to be passed on to subsequent generations, and
thus become selected over time (i.e. typical characteristics of a species
must serve a purpose.)
d. Argued that consciousness was “flow” of thoughts and structuralists
examined only static points.
Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 1: THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOLOGY
e.Less focused on lab, more on “practical” i.e. mental testing,
development in children, effectiveness of education practices,
differences between the sexes.
f. Has now faded, but led to today’s “applied psych” and “behaviorism”
C. Watson Alters Psych’s Course as Behaviourism Makes Its Debut
1. Behaviorism – theoretical orientation based on premise that scientific psych
should only include observable behavior founded by John B. Watson.
a.Abandon study of consciousness altogether. Why? Scientific Method
2. Behavior refers to any observable (overt) response or activity by an organism.
a.Watson believed one could study what people do or say, but not their
thoughts and wishes.
3. Nature vs. Nurture. Genetic inheritance vs. Environment and Experience.
a.Watson says Nurture – downplayed heredity.
4. Psych’s Mission: relate behavior (responses) to observable events in
a.Stimulus is any detectable input from the environment
b. Behavioral Approach often called S-R (stimulus-response) psych
5. Pavlov, Russian Psych, proved dogs an be trained to salivate by an auditory
tone. 2 decades before Watson.
6. Moved towards animal subjects – exercise more control
7. Opposing “schools” in Germany – “Gestalt” Psych – focus on perception
(consciousness) and Freudian Psych
D.Freud Brings the unconsciousness into the Picture
1. Sigmund Freud – Austrian Physician – approach to psych grew out of
treatment of mental disorders.
a.Treated people with psych problems like irrational fears, obsessions,
anxieties through psychoanalysis. Looked for basis of theory in patients’
and his own life.
2. Focused on unconscious – thoughts, memories, and desires well below surface
of conscious awareness, but that still exert great influence on behavior.
a.Believed slip in words and dreams were people’s true feelings
b. Psych Disturbances largely caused by conflict existing at unconscious
3. Psychoanalytic Theory – attempt to explain personality, motivation, and
mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior.
a.Major departure from prevailing belief that people fully aware of forces
on their behavior
b. Also believed behavior is greatly influenced by how people cope with
their sexual urges.
E.Skinner Questions Free Will as Behaviorism Flourishes
1. Skinner – American psych. Believed in strict focus of observable behavior.
a.Did not deny internal mental events, but argued they could not be
Chapter 1: the evolution of psychology: from speculation to science: how psychology developed, a new science is born: the contributions of wundt & hall. Then asked to analyze what they experienced: functionalism based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function/purpose of consciousness, not the structure. James: author of principles of psych (1890) most influential work, believed psych is embedded in network of culture and intellectual c. influences. Scientific method (verifiability: behavior refers to any observable (overt) response or activity by an organism, watson believed one could study what people do or say, but not their thoughts and wishes, nature vs. nurture. Believed in strict focus of observable behavior: did not deny internal mental events, but argued they could not be studied scientifically. People are governed by their enviro: the humanists revolt, humanism 1950"s. Greatest contribution is treatment of psych problems and disorders: psych comes of age as a profession, applied psych branch concerned with everyday practical problems a.