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History of Psychology
Roots in Greece
• Plato once gave the idea to a student “Know
• Socrates said it is important to examine our
thoughts and feelings.
• Introspection- looking within
• Anything wrong with your mental state was
thought to be a punishment from the Gods
The Middle Ages
• Signs of agitation and confusion were signs of
• Also, the same idea as the Greeks, this was
thought of as a punishment for sins committed
• Tests were ran to confirm or deny the presence of
– Water-Float Test
Science Evolves
• The Scientific revolution changed the world
and how it viewed how things happened
• In the 1800’s psychology developed into the
ideas of human behavior based on EVIDENCE
• Methods used were similar to those used in
Wilhelm Wundt
• He founded the field of psychology
• This idea became known as structuralism
(concerned with discovering the basic elements
of conscious experience)
• Consciousness was broken down into two
separate categories
• Objective sensations- sight sound taste
• Subjective feelings- were thought to include
emotional responses and mental image
• Combine these and you get the
William James
• Thought that experience is a continuous stream
of consciousness
• Founder of the school of functionalism (how
mental processes help organisms adapt to their
environment. )
• Functionalism vs. Structuralism
• Functionalism includes behavioral
observation as well as introspection
• Structuralisms ask what are the elements of
a process
• Functionalists ask what is the purpose of a
Adaptive practices
John B. Watson
• Rat in a maze example
• Watson thought there was a severe problem
with the school of functionalism….where does
behavior fall in all of this?
• Watson begins the school of behaviorism (the
study of measurable behavior)
B.F. Skinner
• Skinner built on the idea of behaviorism, he
felt that if a person were reinforced then they
would be more likely to perform this action.
• Pigeons and rats can learn complex behaviors
if they are reinforced in the right way.
• Can people be reinforced? Have you ever
experienced this?
Sigmund Freud
• Possibly the most famous psychologist in
• Emphasized the importance of unconscious
motives and internal conflicts that determine
• Interpret a slip of the tongue or a dream
• What fills the mind of an individual is
conflicting impulses, urges, and wishes.
What is the Number One Factor that
Effects Psychology?
Biological-how we function
Cognitive-thoughts determine behavior
Humanistic-need for self fulfillment
Psychoanalytic- influenced by unconscious
• Learning-the effect of experiences
• Sociocultural- ethnicity, gender,
socioeconomic standing