The Origins of Psychology: History Through the YearsIn this section we will review the history of psychology with a focus on the important questions that psychologists ask and the major approaches or schools of psychological inquiry. The schools of psychology that we will review are summarized in Table 1. Table 1. The approaches that psychologists have used to assess the issues that interest them have changed dramatically over the history of psychology. There has also been an influx of women into the field. Although most early psychologists were men, now most psychologists, including the presidents of the most important psychological organizations, are women.
The Origins of Psychology
While the psychology of today reflects the discipline's rich and varied history, the origins of psychology differ significantly from contemporary conceptions of the field. In order to gain a full understanding of psychology, you need to spend some time exploring its history and origins. How did psychology originate? When did it begin? Who were the people responsible for establishing psychology as a separate science? Contemporary psychology is interested in an enormous range of topics, looking at human behavior and mental process from the neural level to the cultural level.
The field of social psychology is growing rapidly and is having an increasingly important influence on how we think about human behavior. Newspapers, magazines, websites, and other media frequently report the findings of social psychologists, and the results of social psychological research are influencing decisions in a wide variety of areas. During the s and s, the social psychologists Kurt Lewin and Leon Festinger refined the experimental approach to studying behavior, creating social psychology as a rigorous scientific discipline. In , Festinger edited an influential book called Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences , in which he and other social psychologists stressed the need to measure variables and to use laboratory experiments to systematically test research hypotheses about social behavior. He also noted that it might be necessary in these experiments to deceive the participants about the true nature of the research. Social psychology was energized by researchers who attempted to understand how the German dictator Adolf Hitler could have produced such extreme obedience and horrendous behaviors in his followers during the World War II. Social psychology quickly expanded to study other topics.
Brief History of Psychology.
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Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties, joining this way the broader neuroscientific group of researchers. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral , or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior , while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.