PS101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: James Mckeen Cattell, Margaret Floy Washburn, American Psychological Association

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
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WLU
Department
Psychology
Course
PS101
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Chapter 1: The Evolution of Psychology
How Psychology Developed:
The term psychology comes from two Greek words, psyche meaning the soul and logos
referring to the study of a subject
o The two Greek words were first put together in the 16th century to define a topic
of study
This was when psyche was used to refer to the mind, spirit or soul as
distinguished from the body
o In the early 18th century, the term psychology gained more than just rare usage
among scholars
By this time, psychology had acquired the literal meaning, “the study of
the mind”
People have always wondered about the mysteries of the mind therefore psychology is as
old as the human race
o It was only a little over 100 years ago that psychology emerged as a scientific
discipline
The Contributions of Wundt and Hall:
Psychology’s intellectual parents were the disciplines of philosophy and physiology
o By the 1870s, a small number of scholars in both fields were exploring questions
about the mind in their respective fields
Wilhem Wundt:
o A German professor, was the one who mounted a campaign to make psychology
an independent discipline
o His campaign was a success and as a result in 1879, Wundt succeeded in
establishing the first formal laboratory for research in psychology at the
University of Leipzig
As a result of this, historians have christened 1879 as psychology’s “date
of birth”
o His campaign was so successful that he’s widely characterized as the founder of
psychology
o In 1874, Wundt declared that the new psychology should be modelled after the
fields physics and chemistry
o According to Wundt, psychology’s primary focus was consciousness (the
awareness of immediate experience) therefore psychology became the scientific
study of conscious experience
This orientation kept psychology focussed on the mind and mental
processes but it demanded that the methods psychologists used to
investigate the mind be as scientific as those of chemists and physicists
o Between 1883- 1893 some 24 psychological research laboratories sprang up in the
United States and Canada
Many of the labs were started by Wundt’s students or by his student’s
students
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G. Stanley Hall:
o Studied briefly with Wundt
o Toward the end of the 19th century, Hall had many “firsts” for American
psychology
Established America’s first research laboratory in psychology at John
Hopkins University in 1883
In 1887, he launched America’s first psychology journal
In 1892, he was the driving force behind the establishment of the
American Psychological Association (APA) and was elected its first
president
The APA is now the world’s largest organization devoted to the
advancement of psychology with over 155 000 members and
affiliates
APA was at first created with Hall and 26 others members
Structuralism vs Functionalism:
The first two major schools of thought, structuralism and functionalism had the first great
intellectual battle
Structuralism emerged through the leadership of Edward Titchener, an Englishman, who
emigrated to the U.S in 1892 and taught for decades at Cornell University
o He earned his degree in Wundt’s Leipzig lab
o Although he had great admiration for Wundt’s work, he brought his own version
of Wundt’s psychology to America
o 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
o Structuralists wanted to identify and examine the fundamental components of
conscious experience such as sensations, feelings and images
Most of their work concerned sensation and perception in vision, hearing
and touch
To examine the contents of consciousness, they used a method called
introspection which is the careful, systematic self-observation of one’s
own conscious experience
Introspection required training to make the subject (person being
studied) more objective and more aware
Once trained, the subjects were typically exposed to auditory
tones, optical illusions and visual stimuli under carefully controlled
and systematically varied conditions and were asked to analyze
what they experienced
Limitation: if you depended only on an individual’s reflection to
document a phenomenon, there is no independent objective
evaluation of that claim
Functionalism was based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or
purpose of consciousness rather than its structure
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o William James, a brilliant American scholar, was the chief impetus for the
emergence of functionalism
James’s formal training was in medicine but he found that it wasn’t
intellectually challenging and felt that he was too sickly to pursue a
medical practice
As a result, in 1872, he joined the faculty of Harvard University to
pursue a different career
His landmark book, “Principles of Psychology” (1890) became the
standard reading for generations of psychologists and is perhaps the most
influential text in the history of psychology
His thinking illustrates how psychology, like any field, is deeply
embedded in a network of cultural and intellectual influences
He was impressed with Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection
According to the principle of natural selection, heritable
characteristics that provide a survival or reproductive advantage
are more likely than alternative characteristics to be passed onto
subsequent generations and thus come to be “selected” over time
o Darwin’s evolutionary theory suggested that the typical
characteristics of a species must serve some purpose
Applying this idea to humans, James (1890) noted
that consciousness obviously is an important
characteristic of our species therefore he contended
that psychology should investigate the functions
rather than the structure of consciousness
James also argued that the structuralists’ approach missed the real nature
of conscious experience
He argued that consciousness consisted of a continuous flow of thoughts,
by analyzing consciousness into its “elements”, the structuralists were
looking at static points in that flow
James wanted to understand the flow itself which he called the
stream of consciousness
o Functionalists were more interested in how people adapt their behaviour to the
demands of the real world around them
This led them to introduce new subjects into psychology
Instead of focusing on sensation and perception, functionalists like James
McKeen Cattell and John Dewey began to investigate mental testing,
patterns of development in child, the effectiveness of educational practices
and behavioural differences between the sexes
These topics may have played a role in attracting women into the
field of psychology
o Margaret Floy Washburn was the first woman in the U.S to receive a Ph.D in
psychology
She was the author of the book “The Animal Mind” which served as a
precursor to behaviourism
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Document Summary

This was when psyche was used to refer to the mind, spirit or soul as distinguished from the body: in the early 18th century, the term psychology gained more than just rare usage among scholars. By this time, psychology had acquired the literal meaning, the study of the mind . People have always wondered about the mysteries of the mind therefore psychology is as old as the human race: it was only a little over 100 years ago that psychology emerged as a scientific discipline. Psychology"s intellectual parents were the disciplines of philosophy and physiology: by the 1870s, a small number of scholars in both fields were exploring questions about the mind in their respective fields. Many of the labs were started by wundt"s students or by his student"s students. G. stanley hall: studied briefly with wundt, toward the end of the 19th century, hall had many firsts for american psychology. Established america"s first research laboratory in psychology at john.