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History of Psychology

People study their minds everyday. They try to see what other people think about the things around them. They question who they are and where they come from. Theses are the most common psychological, and at the same time, philosophical ideas that people face in their everyday lives. Psychology and philosophy are connected to each other in which they both study human mind that is influenced by historical and cultural forces, and various perspectives through time; these will eventually help people get organized with their thoughts and mental disorders.

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Psychology has its root in philosophy. For example, the idea of nurture has came form Plato, one of the Greek philosophers during 5th century B.C., who thought people are ‘blank slate’ at birth which can be changed to anything through their life time depending on the influence of surroundings. The two main philosophical influences on modern development of psychology are empiricism and positivism. Empiricism argues that humans should only measure data that is objectively observable. Positivism argues that the methods and principles of science should be applied to human behavior. These two ideas facilitate the development of psychology as a science. Therefore, it can be said that philosophy and psychology interact with each other while having the same root ideas.

Psychology began in 1879 when Wilhelm Wundt created the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig. Since then, psychology officially cut itself off from the philosophy. The first step of exploring psychology was structuralism. The idea was that object of psychological investigation should be the conscious mind, and introspection should be the studying method of this approach. This approach was very limited in a way of explaining and therefore, it was replaced by functionalism. Functionalism was investigated by William James who was influenced by Darwin’s view. This approach believed workings of the mind are functional. It is the investigation o what behavior and thoughts are for. After functionalism was psychoanalysis. This was a method of therapy that argued human’s behavior is determined by processes of which they are unconscious. Sigmud Freud described this approach as an underlying theory of the human mind and behavior that has had an enormous impact on psychology. Next step was behaviorism. It suggested that psychology should only observe the observable things. It had been dominant until 1950′s when cognitive psychology was newly investigated. Cognitive psychology studied the mind by using computer information. It was a more advanced approach that science methods were applied. Later, humanistic approach followed. It was less scientific but it focused on individual’s conscious experience and aims in life. The latest approach was biological approach. It dealt with evolutionary, physiological, and genetic relationships with psychology. Psychology had been developed through out a long time and many different approaches.

Major historical events in the world also influenced psychology. After World War I, people got more interested in personal research. People learned controls in human development. Also after the World War II, interest in human brain reaction grew rapidly. It was because a lot of people went through extremely painful hardships both mentally and physically. It is clearly shown in the literatures and art works created during that time period. People needed to soothe their mind somehow, and psychology was one of the ways they soothed their broken hearts.

There were several key figures that significantly influenced the development of psychology. First, Sigmud Freud was a founder of psychoanalysis. He devised a technique called free association. He influenced many other psychologists’ ideas. John Watson studied children behavior. He was one of the rare people who disagreed with Freud, and dismissed heredity as a significant factor in shaping human behavior. William James was a person who advocated functionalism and was influenced by Darwin’s evolutionary ideas. Darwin was the one who claimed evolutionary principle that states humans have evolved from other animals. Lastly, B.F. Skinner was called the leading exponent of the school of psychology known as behaviorism. These people contributed a significant influence in development of psychology.

As the world becomes more complex and challenges to move faster, people claim a lot more mental problems than they did 10 years ago. Some people cannot adjust to this kind of fast-moving society. They get all kinds of stresses and mental chaos. It will only become more severe as time goes by. Estimation of future psychology done by Collegeboard.com says that psychology will become a more popular subject by 2005. The future of psychology seems very prospective. It will help a numerous number of people.

Psychology is a study which requires many different perspectives and deeper thoughts. There are infinite things to investigate in human mind and there is no limit to it. Human mind is basis of the society, the world. It can be very powerful and therefore, it can even change the world. Psychology will continue to improve and will eventually have a great influence on everyone. Study of psychology should be continued and people should not cease to question.

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