Chapter 1: The Evolution of Psychology
How Psychology Developed
• The term psychology comes from the Greek words psyche, meaning the soul, and logos, referring to
the study of a subject.
• Psychology’s parents were 19th-century philosophy and physiology, which shared an interest in the
mysteries of the mind.
• Psychology became an independent discipline when Wilhelm Wundt established the ﬁrst
psychological research laboratory in 1879 at Leipzig, Germany. He deﬁned psychology as the
scientiﬁc study of consciousness.
• G. Stanley Hall was responsible for the establishment of the American Psychological Association
(APA) in 1892.
• The structuralists, led by Edward Titchener, believed that psychology should use introspection to
analyze consciousness into its basic elements.
• The functionalists, inspired by the ideas of William James, believed that psychology should focus on
the purpose and adaptive functions of consciousness. Functionalism paved the way for behaviourism
and applied psychology.
• Behaviourists, led by John B. Watson, argued that psychology should study only observable
• Emphasizing the importance of the environment over heredity, the behaviourists began to explore
stimulus-response relationships, often using laboratory animals as subjects.
• Sigmund Freud was an Austrian physician who invented psychoanalysis. His psychoanalytic theory
was focused on the unconscious determinants of behaviour and the importance of sexuality.
• The inﬂuence of behaviourism as boosted by B. F. Skinner’s research. He believed that psychology
should study only observable behaviour.
Working with laboratory rats and pigeons, Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat
responses that lead to positive outcomes and not to repeat responses that lead to neutral or negative
consequences. • Based on the belief that all behaviour is fully governed by the external stimuli, Skinner argued in
Beyond Freedom and Dignity that free will is an illusion.
• Humanism, led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, became inﬂuential in 1950s and it highlighted
the unique qualities of human behaviour and humans’ freedom and potential for personal growth.
In the 1990s a new theoretical perspective called evolutional psychology emerged. It believes that
pattern of behaviour are the product of evolutionary forces and that natural selection favours
behaviours that enhance reproductive success.
Psychology Today: Vigorous