Origins of Contemporary Pysychology

  • French Philosopher Rene Descartes

    French Philosopher Rene Descartes
    The response for the second important question debated by the Greek philosophers was popular for almost 2000 years until it was challenged by the French philosopher Renes Descartes. In he's explanation, Decartes describes both the mind and body are two different entities. He states that the mind is a spiritual entity, whearas the body is a physical structure. However, Decartes states that the mind and body come into contact through the pineal gland, a small structure located deep in the brain.
  • French Philosopher Rene

    The pineal gland is said to allow the mind and brain to interact to produces sensations, thoughts, emotions and other concsious experiences. Descartes also argued that the mind could affect the body and the body could affect the mind.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz

    Hermann von Helmholtz
    In the nineteenth century, physiologists began studying the brain and other psych other psychologically relevent structures such as the nervous system and sensory organs. For example, hermann developed a method for measuring the spede of nerve impulses in a frog's leg. Nerve impulses along with chemical substances from hormones are the communicated through our bodies to enable us to think, feel and behave like we do.
  • Hermann von Helmoltz PART2

    Hermann conducted scientific research to accurately measure the speed of nerve impulses in the human body. One of the researches he conducted found that humans gennerally took longer to respond when their toe was stimulated than when their thigh was stimulated. The difference between the two times allowed him to calculate how long a nerve impulse takes to travel to the brain.
  • Structuralism - Wilhelm Wundt

    Structuralism - Wilhelm Wundt
    Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was a German physiologist trained in medicine and was specifically interested in the scientifc study of the human consciousness. Wundt's persepctive, theories, scientific findings on the structure of consciousness led to the establishment of the first school of though in psychology, Structuralism. Structuralism focused on the structure of consciousness, the break down of parts that make up the consciousness and how they are organised and interrelated.
  • Structuralism - William Wundt PART2

    Wundt approaced the study of the consciou expierience very experimentally. In 1897, Wundt established a laboratory in Germany where he and his students conducted many experiments on the conscious. Wundt defines pyschology as the study of the consciousness and has inspired students from around the world with his ideas.
  • Functionalism - William James

    Functionalism - William James
    William James (1842-1910) was a graduate from university as a medical doctor and became interested in the emerging science of psychology after reading Wundts articles in the late 1860s. As time passed as a lecturer in medicine, James eventually lectured exclusively in psychology. Even though James defined the study of pyschology simarily to Wundt, he disagrees with Wundts approach to seperating the consciousness into its different elements.
  • Functionalism - William James PART2

    James stressed the importance of adaptability of consciousness and our ability to change our behavior when necessary to adapt efficently with the constantly changing environment. This approah was called functionalism and it is focused on studying the purposes that mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment. James also disagreed with Wundts views on the importance of experimentation restricted tto the lab, but believed you can directly observe people/animals.
  • Scientific Roots. PART1

    Scientific Roots. PART1
    Philosophers could advance undersatanding of human behaviour and mental processes only to a certain point. Their ideas were mostly limited to personal ovservations, reflection, intuition, speculation and reasoning. By the 19th centurary, scientists were making progress in answering questions about human behaviour and mental processes that philosophers could not. Some philosophers were very skeptical against the scientists and believed that the mind was not a physical object.
  • Psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud

    Psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud
    Psychoanalysis focuses on the roles of unconscious conflicts and motivations in understanding and explaining behavior and mental process. Sigmund Freud believed that unconscious instintive needs accompanied by urges and impulses are the triggers of our behaviour. Freud also arose another important query, that our pasts experiencecs, espeically ones from early childhood, are very important in shaping ones personality and behaviour. This leads to the theory on how personality develops.
  • Behaviourism - John B. Watson

    Behaviourism - John B. Watson
    John B. Watson (1878 - 1958) steered the world away from the study of the conscious and the unconsciousness that Wundt and James emphasized on. He proprosed that pyschology be the scientific study of observable behaviour. Watson did not reject the existance of the consciousness and unconsciousness, but instead viewd them as impossible to observe. Watsons approach to pyschology came to be known as Behaviourism. Which invloves the understanding of how behaviour is learned through experiences.
  • Behaviourism - John B Watson PART2

    Behaviourists believe that almost everything a person or animal does is influnenced by rewards and punishments. Watson at one time boasted that if he had enough control over the environment, he could create learning experiences that would turn any infant into whatever he wanted. Behaviourism was very popular and has been influential in pyschology ever since. The dominance reigned until the 1960s, when other approaches attracted attention.
  • Humanism - Carl Rogers PART2

    Rogers emphasised our free will. That all indviduals who freely choose to behave in how they desire. That we control our own destinies. Rogers agreed with the views of Wundt and James that psychology should focus on the study of the consciousness, however roger emphasised the importance of focusing on the whole person and studying each indvidual's unique, inner awareness and understanding of themselves and the world.
  • Humanism - Carl Rogers

    Humanism - Carl Rogers
    Humanism emerged in late 1950s as an alternative to pyschoanalysis and behaviourism. It is an approach to explaining the behaviour and mental processes that focuses on the uniqueness of each individual person. American clinical pyschologist Carl Rogers (1902 - 87) was one of the founders and leaders of humanism. He rejected Pyscholoanalysis and Behaviourism because of the negativity both studies had on humans.
  • Humanism - Carls Rogers PART3

    However, Rogers did not support the use of experiments, therefor he's research and ideas lacked of scientific evidence. Which towards the end of Rogers career, he regres not conducting a wider range of scientific research, as doing so may have led to humanism having a longer lasting impact on psychology. But however, many psychologists adopted the humanistic approace and many were influenced by its theories.
  • The Philosophers PART2

    A second important question debated by the Greeks is called the mind body problem. This argued whether both your body and mind are the same or separate entities. Most of the Greek philosophers believed that they were both separate and that the mind can control the body, but not vice versa.
  • The Greek Philosophers

    The Greek Philosophers
    Over 2000 years ago, the Great philosphy Socrates (470-399 BC) and his followers Plato and Aristole wrote in detail about all kinds of human behaviour. From internal thoughts and feelings to the way they act and behave physically. One important example and question discussed was whether humans are born with distinct thoughts, feelings and behaviour through genes, or whether they are aquired through life experiences.