Term Paper: History of Psychology Although the Science

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History Of Psychology

Although the science of psychology has only been recognized for only about 100 years, human behavior has been of interest from the earliest historical times. Psychology is the practice of studying, teaching or applying an understanding of the mind, thought and behavior.

Over the last century, psychologists have suggested a number of different ways to explain human behavior. Many of these approaches were indicative of the thought at that time and have since either diminished in popularity or changed significantly. Others have their origin in more recent years as new information came to light about the human mind and actions. Psychologists normally adhere to a particular approach or a combination of methodologies when studying behavior or helping patients.

Behaviorism explains human behavior in terms of external physical stimuli, responses and learning histories. John Watson began using the term in the early 1900s, but it was B.F. Skinner who was one of the first advocates of this approach. In this school, new behavior is learned through conditioning or when natural reflexes respond to stimuli or a response to stimuli is reinforced. The major example is Ivan Pavlov's dog, which was trained to salvitate each time it heard a tone even if the food was not available. After many decades of support in the field, behaviorism is losing favor and turning instead to cognitive behaviorism or the study of thinking and consciousness.

Cognitive psychologists believe that the inner thoughts and their consciousness, or mental processes, prove that they are not simply a product of positive and negative reinforcement and therefore have free will. Cognitive therapy first developed in the mid-1900s with the WWII focus on human performance and attention. Noam Chomsky's review of Skinner's book on language is considered the point of origin. Chomsky argued that language cannot be explained solely through a stimulus-response process. The creative use of language can be better explained as a central process than a peripheral one. Over the years, these two approaches have melded into cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This is based on the scientific fact that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. We can thus change the way we think to feel and act better even if the situation does not change. Therapists help people change their thoughts so they have control over their own behavior. CBT has become a mainstream approach to treating emotional and behavioral problems.

Gestalt psychology began as a reaction to the behaviorism in the end of the 19th century. Gestalt's argument with behaviorism was the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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