Wundt mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline.
Stanley Hall contributed to the rapid growth of psychology in the United States.
Edward Tichener led structuralism based on Wundt’s work.
Structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness
into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related
Introspection: The careful, systemic self-observation of one’s own conscious experience.
Structuralism required subjects who were trained in observing themselves.
Limitations associated with the use of introspection contributed to the demise of structuralism.
Functionalism: psychology should investigate the function or purpose of consciousness rather
that its structure.
William James believed that consciousness was a flow of thoughts rather than simple elements or
Both sturctursts and functionalists fought over the very definition of psychology.
Functionalists wanted to see how people adapted and survived to the demands of the real world.
Functionalism fostered behaviouralists and applied psychology.
Founded by John Watson behaviourism is a theoretical orientation that scientific psychology
should only study observable behaviour.
The power of the scientific method rested on the idea of verifiability. Which meant that
psychology would have to become the science of behaviour not consciousness
Behaviour refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism.
Watson also argued that people were made by their experiences rather than inherited personality
and heredity (nature vs. nurture) Stimulus is any detectable input from the environment.
Ivan Pavlov’s work demonstrated stimulus response bonds and became popular when
behaviourism was developing. This also paved the way for animal research in psychology.
Animals were easier to exert control over, have no uncontrolled experiences and can easily be
At the same time behviouralsism was developing the gestalt school had developed. Gestalt
theorists argued that consciousness should continue to be studied rather than simply behaviour.
According to Freud the unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well
below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on
Freud based his theory by treating people who were troubled by psychological problems in his
developed technique called psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by
focusing on unconscious determinants of behaviour.
Freud had stirred up debate and controversy with his new theory which he proposed that we were
not masters of our own minds. He also proposed behaviour is greatly influenced by how people
cope with their sexual urges.
The main reason why his theory took so long to develop was because at the time psychology was
the study of observable behaviour and was still trying to get away from the murky concepts of
At the same time the psychoanalytical theory was developing B.F skinner developed a system
based on his own philosophy of radical-behaviourism.
Skinner did not deny the existence of internal mental events but he thought that they should be
given special status when explaining behaviour.
Psychology could understand and predict behaviour adequately without having to resort to
Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes but tend not to repeat
responses that have neutral or negative outcomes. Skinners followers eventually showed that principles uncovered in their animal research could be
applied to human behaviour as well.
He asserted that all behaviour is fully governed by external stimuli. (People were not free)
Humanism is a theoretical orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially
their freedom and potential for personal growth. Optimistic view
Many humanists found that psychology had become dehumanizing.
Psychoanalytical theory was attacked for its belied that behaviour is dominated by primitive
Behaviourism was attacked for its preoccupation with the study of animal behaviour.
Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow argued that behaviour is governed by a sense of self, or self-
Fragmentation reduced influence of humanism.
Applied psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with everyday practical problems.
Clinical psychology is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems ad
Psychology changed during WWII since many researchers had been called to help soldiers deal
with post-traumatic stress distorted. Which meant that more psychologists were choosing clinical
work over research?
Cognition refers to the mental process involved in acquiring knowledge. Cognitive theorists have
argued that psychology must study internal mental events to fully understand behaviour.
Cognitive psychology also emphasized the role of the brain itself in undertraining the mind. This
lead to cognition and neuroscience, as well as neuropsychology. Why has the focus of western psychology been so narrow?
Ethnocentrism: the tendency to view one’s own group as superior to others and as the standard
for judging the worth of foreign ways,
Focus of western psychology is expanding due to:
Advances in communication and the ethnic makeup of the western world have become
increasingly diverse and multicultural.
Evolutionary psychology examines behavioural processes in terms of their adaptive value for
members of a species over the course of many generations.
Some argue that human behaviour is the result of learning and socialization not evolution.
Positive psychology uses theory and research to better understand the positive adaptive creative
and fulfilling aspects of human existence.
Key themes in psychology
Psychology is empirical ,theoretically diverse, evolves in a sociohistorical context (western
Behaviour is determined by multiple causes, shaped by cultural heritage, heredity and
environment influence also behaviour (nurture vs. nature),
People’s view of the world is subjective (see what they want to see) Goals of scientific enterprise
1. Measure and describe
2. Understand and predict
3. Apply and control
A theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations. In a typical study,
investigators test one or two specific hypothesis from a single theory.
Steps in a Scientific Investigation
1. Formulize a Testable Hypothesis (hypothesis expressed as predictions, and state what
variables must be controlled)
2. Select the Research Method and design the study
3. Collect the Data
4. Analyze data and draw conclusion
5. Report findings
Advantages of the scientific method
Clarity and precision (specify exactly what people are talking about)
Relative intolerance for error (subject to scientific scrutiny and objective data.)
The experiment is a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable
under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in the
second variable as a result.
Independent variable: is a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see
its impact on another variable Dependant variable: variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the
The experimental gro