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Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 - The Evolution of Psychology

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Eileen Wood

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CHAPTER ONE: The Evolution of Psychology • high-profile events, such as bullying, served to motivate and energize researchers in psychology to attempt to document and understand such acts, in hopes of reducing the occurrence Psychology: Greek for psyche; “the study of the mind” The science that studies behaviour and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems. Wilhelm Wundt- a German professor, mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline rather than a stepchild of philosophy and physiology • his proposals were received by the academic community, and he established the first formal laboratory for research in psychology (University of Leipzig, Germany) • this is when the birth of psychology was dated (1879) • known as the founder of psychology G. Stanley Hall- studied briefly with Wundt; • 1883: responsible for the birth of American psychology (Johns Hopkins University) • 1892: established American Psychological Association (APA), and elected first council President SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT or THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES… 1. Structuralism: based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related • Interest: the laboratory • Identify and examine fundamental components of a conscious experience (sensations, feelings) • Introspection: the careful, systematic self-observation of one’s own conscious experience (Edward Titchener) o trained subjects were exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions and visual stimuli and analyzed what they experienced o no independent objective evaluation (solely evaluated on individual’s reflection) 2. Functionalism: based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of consciousness, rather than structure • Interest: how people adapt to their behaviour to demands of the real world around them • William James wrote the book Principle of Psychology • The consciousness is an important characteristic of our species  natural selection o 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 come to be “selected” over time • Concluded that psychology should investigate the functions rather than the structure of consciousness 3. Behaviorism: a theoretical orientation, based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behaviour (John B. Watson) • refers to any observable response or activity by an organism • the question of nature (genetic) vs. nurture (environment and experience) • psychology’s mission: relate observed behaviours (responses) to observable events in the environment (stimuli) o Stimulus- any detectable input from the environment o this is how behavioural approach became known as  stimulus-response (S-R) psychology o this contributed to animal research (because their concern was not related to conscious evaluation) o brought control over subjects • B.F. Skinner: developed a system called radical behaviourism (derived as a median between behaviourism and neo-behaviourism) o Known as the most important contributor to schools of psychology o Environment actors mould behavior o “Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and they tend not to repeat responses that lead to neutral or negative outcomes” o Free will is an illusion o 4. Psychoanalytical: attempts to explain personality, motivation and mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior • Sigmund Freud: explored the unconscious through his patients (psychiatric) and self reflection o Unconscious: contains thoughts, memories and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness, but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior o people are fully aware of the forces affecting their behaviour (people are not masters of their own mind) o known for controversial theory: behaviour is influenced by people’s sexual urges 5. Humanism: emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially their freedom and their potential for personal growth • Optimistic view of human nature; humans are free, rational beings \ • Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow- argued that human behaviour is governed primarily by each individual’s sense of self or “self-concept”  animals lack Psychology in Canada: • 1891: James Mark Baldwin establish the first Canadian laboratory of UofT • 1838: the first offered psychology course (Dalhousie)  later one became more common in the 1950s • 1891: Canadian Psychological Association was formed • Psychology was advanced as a science • Women: o Brenda Miller: taught at University of McGill • Contributed to understanding of memory • One o the founders of neuropsychology Growth of Psychology in Profession: • Applied Psychology: this branch of psychology is concerned with everyday practical problems • Clinical Psychology: this branch of psychology is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders o Before WWII the field of psychology was research based o After the war, it became used more frequently in clinical environments
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