Term Paper: Discovery of Psychology

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Discovery of Psychology

At the end of the 19th century the basis of psychology as a science were laid by Wundt, William James, and Ribot. In general lines, across decades the points of interest seem to have remained the same while the perspective changed, focusing more and more upon the experimental approach.

In an article published in 1917, Pillsbury stated that at first, with some important exceptions, experiment has been confined to sensation, to Weber's Law, space perception and to reaction times. Ebbinghaus had worked on memory, while only preliminary experiments had been made upon association and the ideational processes. There were few studies on the physiological correlates of mental processes and most of the results obtained were found later to be incorrect. In the early period of psychology there was an interest to the central problems of science but the applications in various fields were completely neglected. For instance, even the educational problems were not considered in relation to this field.

After the developments in each field have been traced, it would be interesting to note the progress made for each domain (for instance, animal psychology, cognitive psychology etc.). The main areas of interest have been, from the beginning intelligence testing, personality, perception, emotion, how does the brain work etc. In time, this main areas of interest formed separate branches of psychology. For instance, neuropsychology, personality psychology, social psychology, statistics and methodology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, animal psychology, experimental psychology etc.

If we should refer to the major concerns in 19th century psychology, it is important to mention free will and consciousness. In the 20th century, the major moves in psychology made the greatest accomplishments. For instance, Freud and psychoanalysis recognized the importance of the unconscious, Skinner and behaviorism shifted the focus to what is observable and measurable: the human behavior and promoted important behavioral techniques to change behavior; Gestalt psychology was established by Wertheimer, focusing on the Gestalt or the unified or meaningful whole; according to this theory people are built to experience the structured whole as well as the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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