Module 1: The Scope and History of Psychology I. II. III. IV. V. I. Chapter Overview What is psychology?

Philosophical and theological psychology. Before the beginning of “modern, scientific psychology,” people were interested in all of these things. Scientific psychology Perspectives in current scientific psychology Psychology as a profession What is psychology? “A science that attempts to describe and explain how we think, feel and act.” There are at least two “fault lines” that underlie this definition. A. What are we really studying here? Observable behavior or subjective experience? 1. either? 2. both? B. How are we actually studying these things? As broad philosophical questions or with narrowly defined methods for finding practical answers? 1. art, literature, history? “humanities” methods? 2. physics, chemistry? methods from the “hard sciences”? II. Philosophical psychology – provocative early questions A. How are mind and body related? 1. “Dualism”: the mind is a faculty of the soul, the immortal soul, not a product of the body. Practical implications: a. Investigate philosophical and theological writings and even sacred scripture. b. Focus on mental processes and subjective experiences. c. Don’t bother studying the body, since the body at most is a reflection of pure mind or spirit, and never a cause. Socrates, Plato, the Atheneum. 2. Aristotle: the Lyceum. The mind and the body are in fact “connected”: “the soul is not separable from the body, and the same holds good of particular parts of the soul” (cf. Aristotle’s De Anima). Practical implications: a. Focus on observable behavior. Observe, measure and record what you notice. b. Pay attention to what’s happening in the body. It could be 1

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) – “Materialism”: there is no soul. Observe. 3. The mind is a product of the brain. ‘in-born’ ideas. René Descartes (1596-1650) – the soul has a physical seat. Are people programmed only by external experience (a form of “Empiricism”) or is there a genetic predisposition that guarantees that humans will notice certain patterns of language. ranking and classifying organisms. “Empiricism. The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a great inspiration to those who wished to create a scientific psychology. It was shocking because it gave a rational explanation for all the variety that had been discovered – something other than the whim of the gods. destiny. it doesn’t exist. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was the scientist whose work most typified this approach to understanding nature through classification.” “Nativism. The work of Charles Darwin was shocking within this world of taxonomical classification. “Nature” (genetics. He inspired an entire generation of his own students to set off on voyages to exotic outposts in order to discover and classify exotic plants and animals on the basis of his system for naming.important. etc. If you can’t observe it and measure it. 2 . Darwin argued that physical characteristics evolve through “natural selection”: characteristics which favor survival reappear in the offspring of survivors.” “Genetic determinism”)? 1. divine Providence) vs. measure and record what you notice. Abrahamic mysticism & oriental religion (karma. 2. Nineteenth Century biology was obsessed with classification – the culmination of an intellectual trend that had been set loose by the European discovery of the Americas and the expansion of European trade into Africa and Asia. Aristotle 3. immortal or otherwise. the pineal gland at the base of the brain 4. Scientific psychology A. 1. Carl Linnaeus is often called the Father of Taxonomy. Plato vs. “Nurture” (external training.” B. mathematical relations. “Empiricism”. (“Innate. innate ideas) vs. “scientific positivism” (“human reason conquers all”) III. control) 2. The genes of survivors appear again in the children and grandchildren of survivors. 3.

1. centering largely on “cognitive psychology” (how people know things. In his search for something analogous to molecules and atoms. By doing so. 3. 2. He also became the first author of a textbook of psychology. Like any 19th Century scientist. however. the building blocks that described and explained things. This approach came to be known as “Structuralism. asking his subjects to recall sensory experiences rather than directly observing and measuring them. 2. 1. Edward Titchener (1867 – 1927) was a student of Wundt’s who joined the faculty at Cornell soon after receiving his Ph. as in 19th Century biology) C. “structuralism” (classification. He wanted to create a taxonomy. Titchener abandoned Wundt’s experimental methods.D. B. (Something like phobias. Titchener wanted to classify.” 3 . Wundt created the first psychology laboratory.4. a professor of physiology at the University of Leipzig. how people learn). he is remembered today a founder of experimental psychology – a revolutionary idea at the time. for example. He brought Wundt’s ideas to America in the sense that both he and Wundt thought that a scientific psychology would do what “hard” sciences like physics and chemistry do: it would discern the basic structures. might result from what first appeared in earlier generations as a talent for avoiding danger. Wundt decided to create this apparatus as a reaction against “philosophical psychology” – something which he disdained as “mere subjective speculation”.) 3. Perhaps not only reflexes but “instincts” were developed and passed on in such ways. in 1892. On a December day in 1879. Instead he returned to self-reflective introspection. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) and his students completed the construction of a machine that measured the time lag between people’s hearing a ball hit a platform and their pressing a telegraph key. More accurate anatomy and physiology in the 19th Century was opening up new possibilities for speculating about the mental and emotional life of human beings. Darwin speculated that inborn aptitudes (potential talents) and behavioral tendencies are also passed on from survivors to their offspring.

Harvard denied her a degree. William James was a competitor of Titchener’s. 3. outgoing and joyous man.. William James (1842 – 1910) was one of the most remarkable figures in American intellectual history. Even consciousness serves a purpose: considering the past. When not plagued by ill health and depression. all the other students dropped out in protest. James was an impish. biographers and critics for several generations. though in 1890 women lacked the right to vote or even to own property in their own name. Even so. James advocated a philosophy of “pragmatism”: testing truth by its practical consequences. functionalism 3. away from modern science. in 1905. This was evident in his insistence on admitting Mary Calkins into his graduate seminar. structuralism 2. Freudian psychoanalysis 5. William was the brother of the novelist Henry James and of the diarist Alice James. The intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable letter-writing talents of several of its member have made them a subject of interest for historians. developed because it was “adaptive” – it contributed to our ancestors’ survival. planning for the future. Gestalt psychology 4. James assumed that thinking. an independently wealthy and notoriously eccentric Swedenborgian theologian well acquainted with the literary and intellectual elites of his day. son of Henry James. “functionalism” (emphasis on dynamic change. outscoring all the male students on the qualifying exams. He thought that Titchener’s emphasis on taxonomy and classification were a step backwards. adaptation to the environment as in Darwin’s work). When Calkins joined. Calkins eventually became a distinguished memory researcher and.D. (Cf. the first female president of the American Psychological Association. IV. Sr.D. William James proposed a different approach to psychology. increases the chances for survival.) 1. When Calkins eventually finished all the requirements for a Harvard Ph. Perspectives in current scientific psychology A. 2. like smelling. arguing that as a woman she could receive a degree only from a woman’s institution such as Radcliffe. He was born at the Astor House in New York City. Wikipedia. Five early schools of thought 1. early behaviorism 4 .

“applied research” (to solve somebody’s specific problem) (p.the philosophy and the biology of 19th Century Europe. “Basic research” (theoretical) vs. etc. 2. a good education C. 42 % of U. Employers that hire people with only a bachelor’s degree tend to favor individuals with 1.S. 2. p. The biggest and most persistent issue concerns the relative contributions of biology and experience: this is the Nature-Nurture controversy that comes down to us all the way from Plato and Aristotle. or “psychology of health” to prepare for work in 5 .10) F. 1960s to the present: acceptance that neither can be ignored D. 9) C. 1. volunteering. 9th edition) A. 1180s to 1920s: interest in mental processes 2. change: do individual traits persist as we age? Is the concept of “personality” justified? Is therapeutic change possible? 2. Take courses that support your interests in a particular field (e.B. psychology majors go on to graduate school in psych. second only to business. evolutionary psychology) to highly subjective perspectives (cognitive psychology. It is evident in the twin origins of modern psychology -. The American Psychological Association today includes more than fifty divisions: from highly “biological” perspectives (behavioral genetics. Fritz the Cat – the right question at the right time (iClickers) V.1. 1920s to 1960s: interest in observable behavior 3. Basic trends: 1. “community psychology” to prepare for work in a state or federal welfare agency. social-cultural psychology) (Table 1.g. neuro-science. stability vs. Psychology is the second most popular major in the United States. TO GET A JOB with a bachelor’s degree in psychology 1. practical experience relevant to their business 3. B. E. Get to know your instructors by going to meetings. Basic issues in contemporary psychology 1. appendix A.. “positive explanatory styles” (optimistic attitudes) 2. 38% finish with the bachelor’s degree. psychodynamic psychology. rationality versus irrationality: can conscious choice triumph over unconscious and uncontrollable impulse? 3. The profession of psychology (Cf.

E. (“doctor of philosophy”) requires the candidate to complete a “dissertation. D. 2. “Clinical” and “counseling” psychologists are required to pass state licensing examinations. Requirements may also include a master’s thesis reporting on an original research project. not-for-profit agencies. Look into the office of campus career services.D. There are two different kinds of doctoral degrees in psychology. Requirements usually include practical experience in an “applied” (“practitioner’s”) setting. A. The text describes sixteen of them. (“doctor of psychology”) is based on clinical (therapeutic) work and examinations rather than a dissertation. Does the subfield consist mostly of practitioners (“clinicians”). This is the only branch of psychology where a state license is required. A master’s degree in psychology requires at least two years of full-time graduate study in a specific subfield of psychology. Attend activities and meetings. especially universities. They can be divided according to two basic criteria: 1. G.” an extensive research paper based on original research. Among those with a doctoral degree of either kind. B.D.hospitals or the healthcare industry). Get to know the Psych. H. F. made to order to a specific client. 1. The second criteria for understanding the subfields of psychology is this: who’s your client? How do you get paid? I. inducing the use of computer-based statistical analysis. A doctoral degree in psychology requires five to seven years of graduate study in a specific subfield of psychology. 3.g. 6 . The Ph. How do I get into a good graduate school in psychology? 1. The Psy. About one third of doctoral-level psychologists are employed in academic settings. or in private practice. the most popular specialty area is clinical psychology. or does it consist mostly of researchers? If the subfield consists mostly of researchers. e. alumni career networking opportunities. Volunteer for campus or community organizations such as Psi Chi (4year-colleges) or Psi Beta (2-year-colleges) [psychology’s national honors societies] or your school’s psychology club. the remainder work either in for-profit businesses. The American Psychological Association (APA) has 53 divisions catering to 53 subfields in psychology. or is the research primarily “applied” (that is.. etc. Network. a business or a government agency)? 2. is the research theoretical (“basic” research). 2. 1.

2. Volunteer or get a job in a psychology-related field. 4. 3. begin studying for the Graduate Record Exam (“GRE”). Maintain good grades while successfully completing challenging courses that relate to what will become your specialty in graduate school.Dept. so that you begin to understand how to do your own research. It will also showcase your ability to juggle a number of tasks successfully important skill for succeeding in grad school. 5. In your junior year. This will show your ability to apply psychological concepts to real-world settings. the standardized test that applicants to graduate school must complete. Become actively involved in research at a basic level such as data entry and data collection. 7 .

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