Trace the Historical Background of Its Early History Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1415 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

Psychology - History of Psychology

THE HISTORY and EVOLUTION of MODERN PSYCHOLOGY

Background and Early History:

The interest in understanding human behavior likely predates any recorded history. The earliest known philosophers of ancient Greece and Egypt wrote extensively on theories of the mind, in addition to their historical counterparts in the Far East. Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas devoted considerable attention to behavioral pathologies and post-Enlightenment philosophers like Emmanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Jean Jacques Rousseau all addressed human thought processes, motivation, and behavioral tendencies.

The modern era of psychology began with first formal laboratory dedicated to the field established in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt, and with the simultaneous efforts of nineteenth-century physicians like William James and Edward Titchener (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). By the early twentieth century, several specific schools of Psychological thought had developed their own directional approaches to understanding the human mind, lead by pioneers such as Freud, Maslow, and Skinner.

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Today, psychology has grown into a major branch of modern medicine featuring multiple theoretical frameworks, each appropriate to different ailments and patient profiles. Despite their fundamental theoretical and practical differences, all modern schools of psychology can be traced to their historical origin represented by the work of a relatively small number of contributors who contributed their major work between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century (Coleman, et al. 1984).

The Behaviorist Perspective:

Term Paper on Trace the Historical Background of Its Early History Assignment

Psychological Behaviorism began with John Watson (1878-1958) whose original foundational premise emphasized the need to understand the external influences that caused human beings and other biological organisms to develop specific behaviors as a response to them (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). Watson focused his work on studying the ways that external circumstances and experiences triggered behavioral responses in subjects, as well as the measurable subsequent impact of those responsive behaviors. His original premise was further developed by B.F. Skinner, most famously, through the study of the effect of emotional deprivation and social isolation on infants.

While Skinner's work predated the strict code of professional ethics that governs all human experimentation in modern psychology, it was partly responsible for its evolution by raising the need to address ethical issues in experimental psychology.

The Psychodynamic Perspective:

The Psychodynamic perspective of psychology was introduced by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), who developed his initial views about the unconscious mind and its direct influence on human behavior after working with clinic patients afflicted with mental disorders (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). The fundamental tenet of the psychodynamic model is that human behavior is, to a very large extent, a combination of latent manifestations of internal desires and conflicts between them and the need to conform to societal expectations (Coleman, et al. 1984)

According to strict Freudian principles, traumatic experiences and the ordinary frustrations of infancy, childhood, and those associated with lifelong sexual urges are repressed into the subconscious mind, which then direct much of our external behavior.

The Humanistic Perspective:

The Humanistic perspective was originally developed by Carl Rogers (1902-

1987), according to whom the natural state of the individual is to strive for continual psychological development throughout life in conjunction with much broader issues than addressed by either behaviorism or psychodynamics (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005).

Whereas behaviorists focus exclusively on the influence of external environmental factors and psychoanalysts view all human behavior as expressions of subconscious desires and conflicts, humanistic psychologists maintain that both of those approaches are too narrow in relation to the full spectrum of behavioral influences (Coleman, et al. 1984)

According to the humanistic perspective, human behavior includes many more contributing components than strictly subconscious influences or strictly external environmental experiences. Rather, it conceives of human behavior as a more holistic combination of biological tendencies, foundational relationships, formative experiences, as well as both conscious and subconscious reactions and the contributing effects of the external environment.

The best-known twentieth-century proponent of humanistic psychology is Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) who coined the concept of self-actualization as the highest level of psychological development at the top of a pyramidal representation of hierarchical levels of personal development. He suggested that everyone strives, over the course of a lifetime, to achieve a higher level of internal comfort, specifically in relation to others in society and to society as a whole (Gerrig &… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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