Overview 1.Roots of Modern Psychology 2.Perspectives on Psychology
Learning Objectives -Learn the origins of modern psychology -Recognize the contributions of pioneers in the field -Compare and contrast early perspectives of psychology -Define psychology
Emergence of Psychology Psychology is rooted in two major disciplines: -Philosophy: Ideas about how knowledge an be acquired. -Natural Science: Progress in understanding the nervous system, etc. -These two fields were blended together to apply methods of natural science to understand behaviour
Philosophical Roots Two main ideas from philosophy influenced Modern Psychology 1.Empiricism: the belief that knowledge can be gained through careful observation 2.Rationalism: the belief that knowledge can be gained through logic and reasoning By using observation to note behaviour, and reasoning to deduce the causes of such behaviour, Psychology was born.
Natural Science Roots Advances in physiology contributed to the interest in, and development of, Psychology Physiology: branch of science that studies the functions of living organisms (differs from anatomy, which studies the structures)
Important Contributors In the 19 th Century… 1.Johannes Muller described how signals were conducted by nerves in the body. 2.Hermann von Helmholtz reported on how receptors in the eyes and ears receive and interpret sensations. 3.Gustav Fechner demonstrated that seemingly hidden mental events, such as sensations, can be measured. These advances led to the belief that scientific methods could be used to study human behaviour.
Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) -Strong supporter of using scientific methods to study behaviour. -In 1879, convinced colleagues at University of Leipzig on the validity of science as an independent science. -This led to the funding for the 1 st laboratory dedicated to scientific research.
Now…What to Study? 1.Structuralism VS. 2.Functionalism Vs. 3.Behaviourism
1. Structuralism -Wundt believed that Psychology should study what goes on inside of our minds (consciousness) -This was known as structuralism, as it focused on the structure of human consciousness. -Wundt used introspection to study sensations, feelings, and images inside the minds of others (a self-descriptive method).
2. Functionalism -William James led a group of Psychologists who felt that the important area to study was the function of consciousness, not its structure. -Their argument relied on Darwin’s work on evolution Consciousness is a human trait, therefore it must form some sort of evolutionary advantageous function. -Their focus was on how consciousness helps humans cope and adapt with their changing surroundings.
Limitations of Structuralism and Functionalism -Self-descriptive -Non-reproducible -Non-observable
3. Behaviourism -The shift of psychological inquiry to focus on the observable led to the demise of Functionalism and Structuralism– and led to the birth of behaviourism. -John B. Watson argued that only observable activities can be measured using scientific methods. -Watson argued that internal events (thoughts, images, feelings, and intentions) were not measureable.
Cognitive Revolution -Yet another change in the focus on Psychology -Used newly available technology to capture information on events thought to be ‘internal’. -Computers played a large role in this revolution. They allowed for precise measurements and exact exposures to certain stimuli. -Medical equipment also allowed for countless new recordings to be made of brain activity. -Increased research into mental processes such as memory further led to increased interest in the study of mental processes and events.
So… Behaviour: any observable action by a living organism. - Overt: anything we say and do - Subtle: electrical activity within the brain Cognitive processes: all aspects of mental life: memories, thoughts, mental images, reasoning and decision making.
…Psychology is Psychology is the science of behaviour and cognitive processes.
Questions 1.Explain the influence of both physiology and philosophy on modern psychology. 2.Do you agree that the principles of empiricism and rationalism can be applied to thoughts, feelings, and reasoning? Why or why not. 3.Describe the contributions of Muller, von Helmholtz, and Fechner. 4.How did Wundt and Watson’s views of psychology differ? Whose viewpoint ultimately prevailed? 5.What led to the cognitive revolution? What was the influence it had on Psychology? 6.Why do psychologists define behaviour as ‘any observable action by a living organism’. What impact does this have on their field of study?