We are aware of our consciousness and tend to relate it to our behaviour. It gets our body moving and
We also assume that other people experience similar consciousness to us.
We believed that movement etc was controlled by our mind or by spirits. We also inferred that the sun,
moon, wind, and tides also were similarly animated. This is the notion of animism, which was given to
gravity as well (rocks wanted to be reunited to the ground so they fell to the ground).
Psychology as a science must be based on the assumption that behaviours are strictly subject to physical
laws, just as any other natural phenomenon.
He was a seventeenth century French philosopher and mathematician.
His biological tradition led to modern physiological psychology.
He assumed the world was a mechanical entity that, after being set in motion by God, ran its course
with no divine interference.
Animals were part of the natural world, so Descarte viewed the human body was also part of the natural
He believed that when an hot object is touched, the quick withdrawal is called reflexes. It happens
because the energy of the fire is reflected through the nervous system to contract the muscle.
According to Descarte, what made humans different is the possession of the MIND , that was not part of
the natural world therefore it obeyed different laws.
He believed in dualism where all reality can be divided between mind (thinking things) and
He suggested a causal link existed between the mind and its physical housing.
He thought the mind controlled the physical body, but through sensory organs, the body transmitted
information about what was happening outside. The interaction between mind and body occurred in the pineal body (small organ at the top of the brain
Rationalism: Pursuit to truth through reason
Empiricism: Pursuit to truth through observation and experience/ all knowledge is obtained through
Believed in blank slate and was an empiricist Philosopher. He noted that the mind is also part of the
material world. He believed that simple idea combined into more complex ones.
Irish bishop, philosopher and mathematician
Our knowledge is from the accumulation of past experience.
An example would be visual depth which is an accumulation of simple sensations that become the
complexity of looking at how far or close an object is.
LOCKE and BERKELEY both worked with the knowledge and the concept of learning.
He was a Scottish philosopher
Completed the switch from animism (animated by spirits) to materialism (mind composed entirely of
Materialism: The belief that reality can be known through an understanding of the physical world
Worked with the assumption that humans and animals were practically the same
Both were physical and subject to physical laws of the universe
The mind responded to the world the same way as the body to Mills, it was like a machine.
BIOLOGICAL ROOTS TO PSYCHOLOGY
He did not have scientific proof, but he relied on simple similarities he used the moving statues as an example to how humans also functioned
Was a physiologist
He discovered that muscles can contract by applying an electrical current through it
Mucles had the energy to contract, they did not need to be inflated
(A British physician showed that through demonstrating that his muscles did not increase in volume
when he flexed in a barrel of water)
Shows how biological knowledge shapes the evolution of psychology.
He stated that they should remove or isolate animal organs, test their responses to chemicals, and
manipulate other conditions to see how the organism works.
Important contribution: Doctrine of specific nerve energies (message sent through all nerves were the
same electrical impulse. But have different responses to the impulse because it`s sent through different
channels to the brain)
Implied that the different parts of the brain have different functions.
Gave evidence to Muller`s doctrine of specific nerve energies
Removed various parts of the nervous system and found the resulting effect depends on what part was
He did experimental ablation
Claimed to have found regions of the brain that control heart rate, breathing, purposeful movement,
and visual and auditory reflexes PAUL BROCA
Applied Muller`s logic to humans.
He did an experiment on a person who had a stroke. The stroke caused the man to lose the ability to
Broca discovered the stroke caused damage to the cerebral cortex on the left side of the brain. (Broca`s
area) He suggested it had the function of speech.
Though it`s been discovered that the single region doesn`t attribute solely to speech, it is a part of
GUSTAV FRITSCH AND EDUARD HITZIG
Used electrical stimulation to map the functions of the brain
provided some answers that experimental ablation could not.
Wilder Penfield showed that highly specific sensory experiences and even memory can be mapped in a
HERMAN VON HELMHOLTZ
German physicist and physiologist
Demonstrated that mental phenomena can be explained by physiological means
He disassociated himself from natural philosophy where assumptions about the mind were made
Muller believed that there was a force that conducted behaviour that could not be investigated.
Helmholtz did not believe that assumption and advocated a scientific approach with conclusions based
on observation and precise measurement.
He successfully measured the speed at which nerve impulses travel (27 m/s).
He suggested that nerve impulses are more complicated than electricity travelling along a wire.
He tried to measure a person’s reaction time to a stimulus, but there was too much variability between
people to make a clear scientific distinction.
Scientists started to speculate that mental events could be subject to scientific investigation. Which set up the stage for the science of psychology.
Led to the development of a method for measuring the magnitude of human sensations
Weber was an anatomist and physiologist
Weber noticed that people’s ability to distinguish between two stimuli (brightness of two lights)
followed orderly law. It showed that perception can be studied as scientifically as physics or biology.
Psychophysics: Measures quantitative relation between physical stimuli and perceptual experience
APPLICATION TO EDUCATION AND THERAPY
A commitment to empiricism and materialism might imply a commitment to determinism
DETERMINISM: Behaviour is a result of prior events
Most psychologists assume some sort of determinism, due to the political efforts of the nineteenth
century to reform society and improve individual well being
JEAN-MARC GASPARD ITARD
He took care of the boy that was raised in the forest.
Itard sought to discover what `Victor` could learn. He devised many procedures to teach the kid
words and recorded his progress.
Victor only slightly improved in language.
It was discussed if all children should be taught in terms of their individual needs
Though most states adopted the “American Common School”, which sought the best curriculum
for a given age.
Brooker T Washington and John Dewey advocated reform on the bases of needs and faculties of
Dewey argued that education should be in the terms of how children’s abilities develop. Dewey believed that one aim of education is to establish habits to integrate children into the
community. (Progressive Education)
Noticed that if a pleasant event occurs, the animal is more likely to recreate the behaviour to
get that pleasant event. While bad consequences makes an animal less likely to recreate that
behaviour. (Reinforcement and punishment)law of effect
Thorndike believed that learning was automatic and inevitable
First woman in Italy to get a medical degree
She applied Itard’s approach to children with developmental disabilities, and it was successful.
She wondered if the approach can be also used for normal children.
Her method outlined that children matured through stages and were sensitive to different kinds
of instruction to specific ages.
Montessori felt that rewards interfered with a child’s ability to learn.
The school system we have is shaped more from Thorndike than Montesorri
Father of psychiatry. Studied “victor” before Itard
He proposed that an asylum could with the proper care, become a therapeutic institute
He tried different approaches to restore cognitive ability, he believed mental illness had a social
cause and could be cured with similar factors.
Women were admitted in Salpetriere with a collec