Historical Influences On Development Of Psychology – Presentation

Introduction

  • Being concerned with the manner in which other people behave has never seemed strange for some people.
  • In this manner, it is easy to assume that some of the philosophical ideas embraced in psychology can be traced back to the ancient Greeks (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
  • Some of the great philosophers like Plato and Aristotle argued for long time about human ideas. Way back then, it was not clear if human ideas needed any form of experience or if they were innate.

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The main influences involved in the development of psychology

  • It is essential to note that people’s nature has always been the main interest of philosophers.
  • The main influences involved in the development of psychology date back to the seventeenth century when John Locke, the British philosopher described the mind of a human being as blank slate or tabula rasa that had the capacity to accommodate all the writings about the experiences of life (Schultz & Schultz, 2012)..
  • In his arguments, Locke emphasized the significance of imitation, punishments, and rewards thereby becoming the forerunner of the concept of behaviorism in the 20th century.

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The main Influences Involved in the Development of Psychology

  • Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778);- he was a nativist who believed that a sense of fairness and a conscience do accompany children whenever they are born (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882)- he argued that there are some essential human behaviors that incorporate the evolution of certain systems in order to serve certain functions (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
  • G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924)- he is the American Psychological Association’s founder and the first holder of a Ph.D. in psychology (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).

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Just like other key influences in the development of psychology such as Piaget and Locke, Rousseau, also, believed that children have an innately exploratory and curious nature. In this case, therefore, he argued that society is the main cause of corruption to the ‘otherwise’ good human nature.

 He, also, emphasized the idea of readiness where he argued children can only benefit from instruction when they are ready i.e. when the instructions find them at the appropriate level of development (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).. In his book, The Expression of Emotion, in Man and Animals, Darwin shows the drawings dogs as they express fear and anger. For instance, the development of emotion of fear is essential for mobilizing the animal to know how to deal with dangers (Schultz & Schultz, 2012)..

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 Hall utilized the questionnaire approach to ask people questions that concerned their lives. His theories; however, were only influential for a long time. Being a maturationist, Hall believed that genes have a strong influence on behavior. Behavior grows and matures just like any other creature by virtue of being under genetic control

Early Research on the Function of Brain

  • Psychologists developed several approaches for studying the brain to help them attain a better position of predicting, controlling, and explaining behavior.
  • Some of the early research on the function of the brain were proposed by Franz Gall. In the early 1800s, he performed measurement of the bumps on the skulls of people and attempted to link them to a number of behavior characteristics (Westen & Kowalski, 2011).
  • Prefrontal lobotomy is another method that was embraced later in the 1930s. It led to discovery that separation of the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain can cause calm in extremely emotional mental patients (Westen & Kowalski, 2011).

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While Gall’s research method, phrenology, failed to produce significant results, it prepared ground for subsequent methods that could be used in the identification of certain parts of the brain (Westen & Kowalski, 2011). Prefrontal lobotomy was faulted for lacking social inhibitions and so could not provide solutions to social problems. Currently, electrical stimulation of particular areas of the brain is the essential technique used for studying the brain.

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How the Research Influenced the Study of the Mind-body Interaction

  • The early research on the functions of the brain saw different researchers taking contrasting observations regarding the separation and relationship between the body and the mind.
  • Some researchers argued that a mental event such as thinking had the capacity to initiate behavior i.e. it can cause movement of a muscle in response to a thought (Kantowitz & Elmes, 2014).
  • This led to researchers believing that mind can cause matter to experience movement.

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The major developments that led to experimental psychology

  • Experimental psychology entails the study of the issues of psychology through utilization of experimental procedures. It uses scientific approaches to study the mind and behavior.
  • Ernst Heinrich Weber, a Germany Physician, is the father of experimental psychology. His experimental research focused on establishing more information of the sense of touch (Kantowitz & Elmes, 2014).
  • Gustav Fechner published the first work of experimental psychology in 1860 and his main interest was to establish a scientific investigation about the relation of the mind and body, which later on was referred to as psychophysics (Kantowitz & Elmes, 2014).

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Wilhelm Wundt is still remembered in the literature of psychology for establishing the first ever psychology laboratory. Behaviorism became a dominant interest in experimental psychology later in the 20th century (Kantowitz & Elmes, 2014). Some of the researchers of the time included Donald Broadbent, Kenneth James Williams and Frederic Barlett. Their main focus was attention, memory, and thinking.

Their contribution to the field of psychology

  • Wundt, often, referred to as the father of psychology made immense contribution to the field of psychology through his experimental efforts that separated psychology from philosophy (Westen & Kowalski, 2011). This was achieved through analysis of the mind in a way that was more structured.
  • Structural approach in experimental psychology contributed to the field of psychology in two ways (Westen & Kowalski, 2011):
  • Brand associationism by Titchener influenced subsequent psychologists to regard the mind of human being as a tool that record experience in a passive manner.
  • The focus on precise measurement and experimental control by Titchener influenced subsequent psychologists to emphasize significance of controlled research.

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Conclusion

  • Being concerned with the manner in which other people behave has never seemed strange for some people.
  • Locke emphasized the significance of imitation, punishments, and rewards thereby becoming the forerunner of the concept of behaviorism in the 20th century.
  • Psychologists developed several approaches for studying the brain to help them attain a better position of predicting, controlling, and explaining behavior.
  • Ernst Heinrich Weber, a Germany Physician, is the father of experimental psychology. His experimental research focused on establishing more information of the sense of touch.
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