The Evolution of Psychology Chapter 1
Psychology • The scientific study of behavior and mental processes 4 Goals of Psychology • Description: What is happening • Explanation: Why is it happening? • Prediction: When will it happen again? • Control: How can it be changed?
Speculation to Science • Prior to 1879 • Physiology and philosophy scholars studying questions about the mind • Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) University of Leipzig, Germany • Campaigned to make psychology an independent discipline • Established the first laboratory for the study of psychology in 1879 • Interested in introspection • Psychology was born
Wundt’s Influence • Leipzig, the place to study psychology • Graduates of Wundt’s program set up new labs across Europe and North America • Between 1883 and 1893, 24 new laboratories in North America
Titchner and Structuralism in America • Structrualism was one of the early competing schools of thought in psychology – led by Edward Titchner • Took Wundt’s ideas to Cornell University • Every experience could be broken down • Expanded on Wundt’s ideas that introspection could be used on thoughts as well as physical sensations
Titchner and Structuralism in America • In 1894 one of Titchner’s students became the first female Ph.D. in psychology, Margaret F. Washburn • Published an important book on animal behavior – The Animal Mind
William James and Functionalism • Competing view that arose at Harvard soon after Wundt • Wanted to study the importance of consciousness in everyday life • Focused on how the mind allowed people to function in the world • Influenced by Darwin • If physical traits could help survival and be passed on, why couldn’t behavioral traits? • Led to investigation of mental testing, developmental patterns, and sex differences
Structuralism vs. Functionalism • Most historians give the edge to James and the functionalists • Today, psychologists are not really categorized as structuralists or functionalists
William James and his Students • G. Stanley Hall • 1st Ph.D. in psychology in the U.S. (1878) • Founded 1st psychology research lab in the U.S. at Johns Hopkins University in 1883 • Founded APA in 1892 • Mary Whiton Calkins • completed the coursework for a Ph.D. at Harvard but was denied the degree because she was a woman • 1st female president of the APA
William James and his Students • Francis C. Sumner • 1st African American Ph.D. at Clark University in 1920 • Chaired psychology department at Howard University that produced more African American Ph.D.s than all other American Universities combined • Famous student was Kenneth Bancrof Clark whose research on negative effects of discrimination was instrumental in the desegregation of schools
Sigmund Freud • Sigmund Freud (Austria) • Founded Psychoanalytic school of thought • Emphasis on unconscious processes influencing behavior • Unconscious = outside your awareness
Freud’s Ideas • Behavior is influenced by the unconscious • Unconscious conflict related to sexuality plays a central role in behavior • Controversial notions caused debate/resistance • Significant influence on the field of psychology
Behaviorism • John B. Watson (United States) • Founder of Behaviorism • Behaviorist manifesto published in 1913 • Psychology = scientific study of behavior • Behavior = overt or observable responses or activities • Radical reorientation of psychology as a science of observable behavior • Study of consciousness abandoned
The Nature-Nurture Debate • Nurture, not nature • “give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own special world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief…” • Behaviorist school of thought emphasized the environment (nurture) • Focus on stimulus-response relationships • S-R psychology
B.F. Skinner • B.F. Skinner (1904-1990): United States • Environmental factors determine behavior • Responses that lead to positive outcomes are repeated • Responses that lead to negative outcomes are not repeated • Beyond Freedom and Dignity • More controversy regarding free will
Opposition in The 1950’s • Critics thought that Psychoanalytic Theory and Behaviorism were de-humanizing • Diverse opposition groups got together to form a loose alliance • A new school of thought emerged - Humanism • Led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers • Emphasis on the unique qualities of humans: freedom and personal growth
The Return of Cognition • Cognition = mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge • 1950’s and 60’s – Piaget, Chomsky, and Simon • Application of scientific methods to studying internal mental events • Cognitive psychology: the new dominant perspective?
Biological Psychology • Biological perspective - behavior explained in terms of physiological processes • James Olds (1956) • Electrical stimulation of the brain evokes emotional responses in animals • Roger Sperry (1981) • Left and right brain specialization
Evolutionary Psychology • Central premise: natural selection occurs for behavioral, as well as physical, characteristics • Buss, Daly & Wilson, Cosmides & Tooby – 80’s and 90’s • Studied natural selection of mating preferences, jealousy, aggression, sexual behavior, language, decision making, personality, and development • Thought provoking perspective gaining in influence, but not without criticism
Positive Psychology • Martin Seligman - founder • Psychology had focused too much on the negative • Shares traits with humanism • Focus is to better understand positive aspects of the human experience • Positive Emotions • Many individual positive traits – strengths and virtues • Positive institutions
Contemporary Psychology • Ethnocentrism – viewing one’s own group as superior and as the standard for judging • Historically: middle and upper class white males studying middle and upper class white males • 1980’s – increased interest in how cultural factors influence behavior. Why?
Psychology as a Profession • Applied Psychology - Concerned with everyday problems • Clinical Psychology – deals with diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders
Career Options (not everything) • School Psychologist • Genetics Counselor • Animal-Assisted Therapist • Engineering psychologists • Evolutionary psychologists • Forensic psychologists • Sports psychologists • Research/Experimental Psychologists
Seven Organizing Themes Themes related to psychology as a field of study: • Psychology is empirical • theoretically diverse - theory v. data • it evolves in a sociohistorical context • Behavior is determined by multiple causes • shaped by cultural heritage • influenced jointly by heredity and environment • Finally, people’s experience of the world is highly subjective