How deeply psychology is related to science

Myers - Prologue: The History of Psychology

David G. Myers


  • 1.1 What is psychology?
    • 1.1.1 The roots of psychology
    • 1.1.2 Development of Scientific Psychology
  • 1.2 Modern psychology
    • 1.2.1 Big topics in psychology
    • 1.2.2 Three central levels of analysis in psychology
    • 1.2.3 Fields of work in psychology
  • 1.3 Learn with psychology - improve your memory and your grades!
  • 1.4 Chapter review
    • 1.4.1 Questions of understanding
    • 1.4.2 Key Terms
    • 1.4.3 Further German literature

Definition of "psychology"

Psychology is the science of behavior (everything that an organism does) and of the mental processes (the experience, the subjective experiences that we deduce from the behavior). The key word in this definition is science.

The roots of psychology

Psychology's roots go back a long way in history. They can be traced back to India, China, the Middle East, and Europe, where some learned people spent their lives striving to understand others. A particular concern for her was the question of how our mind works and how its functions are related to the functions of our body. More than 2000 years ago, Buddha and Confucius pondered the power of the mind and the generation of ideas. The Hebrews in the Middle East, Socrates, his pupil Plato and his pupil Aristotle in Greece investigated the question of whether body and soul represent separate units or whether they are connected to one another. They wondered whether human knowledge is innate or acquired through experience. In the eighteenth century Descartes and Locke revisited some of these old questions, and Locke created the now famous concept of the mind as a "blank slate." The ideas of Francis Bacon and John Locke contributed significantly to the development of modern empiricism, the view that knowledge is based on sensory experience and that science should be based on observation and experiment.

The The birth of psychologyas we know it today, struck at the end of the 19th century in a German laboratory where Wilhelm Wundt carried out the first real psychological experiment in the first psychological laboratory. Schools soon formed: Titchener and other structuralists looked for the basic elements of the soul by teaching people to look inward and describe the smallest units of their experience. In an attempt to understand how mental and behavioral processes help us adapt, survive, and thrive, William James and other functionalists tried to explain why we do what we do.

Until the 1920s, psychology was one "Science of Mental Life"that has been explored with the help of introspection. The American behaviorists, led by John B. Watson and later by B.F. Skinner, changed focus and limited himself to studying observable behavior. Judged in the 1960s the humanistic psychologists their attention to the importance of environmental influences, personal growth, and the need to be loved and accepted. It only began in the 1960s cognitive turn to re-focus psychology on the interest in mental processes; special attention was paid to perception, information processing and memory. The cognitive neuroscientists expand our understanding of these and other processes in today's psychology, which sees itself as the "science of behavior and of the mental processes".

Modern psychology

Psychology is expanding and becoming global. Psychologists work, teach and research in many fields in 69 countries around the world.

The Plant environmental debate: The most important of the repeatedly discussed questions in psychology is about the balance between the influence of disposition (the genes) and the environment (all other influences to which we are exposed from conception to death). Philosophers have long debated whether the disposition (as Plato and Descartes believed) or the environment (as Aristotle and Locke thought) is more important. Darwin proposed a mechanism - the principle of natural selection - by which nature selects random variations that enable living things to survive and reproduce in certain environments. Psychologists today are of the opinion that in most cases every psychological event is at the same time a biological-physical event. A slew of research, including studies on identical and dizygotic twins, has shown the relative importance of the three groups of influences on traits such as personality and intelligence in a new light.

in the biopsychosocial approach information from the biological, psychological and socio-cultural level of analysis is combined. Psychologists examine human behavior and experience from different perspectives (including neuroscience, evolutionary theory, behavioral genetics, psychodynamics, learning theory, cognitive theory, sociocultural theory). Bringing together the information gathered in these many strands of research provides a broader understanding of behavior and mental processes than would be possible by focusing on a single point of view.

The fields of work of psychology: The fields of work in psychology include basic research (mostly carried out by psychophysiologists, developmental and cognitive, differential and social psychologists), applied research (practiced by work, industrial and organizational psychologists, among others) and the many different fields of application, including clinical psychology (the work of psychotherapists and clinical psychologists). Clinical psychologists examine, test and treat people with mental disorders (with the help of psychotherapy); Psychiatrists also examine, test, and treat people with disorders, but they are medical professionals who can both prescribe medication and offer psychotherapy.