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The History of Psychology

  • The development of psychology as a formal discipline began in the 19th century. However, early concepts of psychology are evident in the study of philosophy and medicine, which are both ancient fields of study. The development of psychology, as a formal discipline, historically relates to the influence of philosophers Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Wundt and Nikolai Lossky. Freud Sigmund played a crucial role in creating the distinction between psychology and science by describing the scope of psychoanalysis using philosophical concepts regarding life. Sigmund’s arguments, regarding psychology as a discipline, modeled the key pillars of the discipline, which facilitate the study of the human perceptions in the universe. Freud greatly advanced the psychoanalytic concepts regarding factors that influence human behavior and developed the theory of positivism in describing the human desire to survive. Concepts of positivism were instrumental in the foundation of modern psychology. Sigmund’s concepts regarding human personality expanded the scope of study of psychology, which traditionally focused on aspects of conscious human experiences. The study of the unconscious mind in modern psychology in research paper online seeks to establish the relationship between unconscious impulses and changes in personality and behavior. Wilhelm Wundt’s role in the formulation of psychology as a discipline, concerns his laboratory experiments on various aspects of the human brain relating to mental and abnormal disorders, and beliefs. In this regard, Wilhelm was instrumental in the development of concepts that highlight the relationship between psychology and mental health. As a discipline, psychology describes the relationship between the mental status of an individual and his or her behavior. Wilhelm perceived psychology within the scope of human consciousness and the application of various experiments in the analysis of mental processes. Despite the lack of relevant tools and procedures for experimentation in psychology, Wilhelm’s methods were crucial in the distinction of the science of psychology. With the advancement in the methods of scientific research, the concept of structuralism became significant in psychological research. Modern psychology perceives human consciousness as comprising of small parts, which psychologists can study independently to evaluate an individual’s mental state. Concepts of intuitive-personalism are key elements in the discipline of psychology. Nikolai’s research on intuition and memory introduced concepts relating to human consciousness and thus facilitated the study of human mental abilities in modern psychology.

    The development of psychology as a discipline benefited greatly from several philosophers in the western tradition. These include, Ralph Waldo, Abraham Maslow, Max Wertheimer and Kurt Wolfgang. Ralph Waldo was instrumental in the development of the discipline of psychology through his ideas and concepts of transcendentalism. Ralph conducted extensive studies to illustrate the interconnection between the world, man and God. In his studies, Ralph hypothesized that the human abilities to explore were unbound. In this regard, people could learn in a framework supportive of the convergence of various aspects of nature. Ralph’s concepts are evident in the study of modern psychology, it focuses on the interconnection between the soul and nature. The discipline of psychology incorporates various aspects of Gestalt psychology developed by a group of philosophers who included Max Wertheimer and Kurt Wolfgang. Gestalt psychology focuses on the identification of the relationship between an individual’s response and the nature of structural organization. Max and Kurt discovered that despite the presence of sensory components, psychological patients exhibited high responses to external stimuli. In this regard, they developed concepts to describe the interconnection between the human mind and inanimate nature.

    The role of Abraham Maslow in the development of the discipline of psychology pertains to concepts of self-actualization. Abraham developed the relationship between a person’s physical and psychological needs, and the discovery of the full potential of an individual. Modern psychology focuses on various aspects of self-actualization by identifying the relationship that benefit people’s physical and psychological needs, and facilitate the attainment of full potential.

    The 19th century was a period of great advancements in the science of psychology. Major advancements arose from the activities of Wilhelm Wundt relating to the study of self-consciousness. Wilhelm established a laboratory exclusive to the study of psychology and thus provided a platform necessary for the advancement of modern psychology. Ivan Pavlov’s experiments regarding classical conditioning enhanced various aspects of psychological research in the 19th century. He helped to expand concepts of behaviorism regarding the ability of individuals to learn through conditioned associations. Pavlov experiment helped in identifying factors responsible for the relationship between environmental and natural stimuli. William James experiments, regarding the human memory, helped in expanding concepts of psychology relating to the human mental status. James extensively developed the concept of functionalism and helped in the identification of behavioral changes to ensure survival in different environments. James’s concepts on functionalism described the importance of analyzing human consciousness wholly rather than evaluating mental processes individually because consciousness is continuous. Concepts of functionalism greatly influenced the modern theories on human thoughts. Concepts on scientific pedagogy helped in advancing psychology through relationships on to assimilation and transmission of habits in various environmental contexts. Scientific pedagogy helped in the development of theories explaining the conditions of human life. Philosophers, such as Kant, engaged in the manipulation of psychological data to determine the impacts of various stimuli during an individual’s upbringing on his or her behavior. In addition, scientific pedagogy was instrumental in the development of concepts relating to people’s responses to instructions and the learning experience. Philosophers such a Herbart experimented with systems to evaluate the outcomes of suppressing personalities.