<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Understand the importance of Wundt and James in the development of psychology
  • Appreciate Freud’s influence on psychology
  • Understand the basic tenets of Gestalt psychology
  • Appreciate the important role that behaviorism played in psychology’s history
  • Understand basic tenets of humanism
  • Understand how the cognitive revolution shifted psychology’s focus back to the mind

Psychology is a relatively young science with its experimental roots in the 19th century, compared, for example, to human physiology, which dates much earlier. As mentioned, anyone interested in exploring issues related to the mind generally did so in a philosophical context prior to the 19th century. Two men, working in the 19th century, are generally credited as being the founders of psychology as a science and academic discipline that was distinct from philosophy. Their names were Wilhelm Wundt and William James. This section will provide an overview of the shifts in paradigms that have influenced psychology from Wundt and James through today.

Wundt and structuralism

Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) was a German scientist who was the first person to be referred to as a psychologist. His famous book entitled Principles of Physiological Psychology was published in 1873. Wundt viewed psychology as a scientific study of conscious experience, and he believed that the goal of psychology was to identify components of consciousness and how those components combined to result in our conscious experience. Wundt used introspection    (he called it “internal perception”), a process by which someone examines their own conscious experience as objectively as possible, making the human mind like any other aspect of nature that a scientist observed. Wundt’s version of introspection used only very specific experimental conditions in which an external stimulus was designed to produce a scientifically observable (repeatable) experience of the mind (Danziger, 1980). The first stringent requirement was the use of “trained” or practiced observers, who could immediately observe and report a reaction. The second requirement was the use of repeatable stimuli that always produced the same experience in the subject and allowed the subject to expect and thus be fully attentive to the inner reaction. These experimental requirements were put in place to eliminate “interpretation” in the reporting of internal experiences and to counter the argument that there is no way to know that an individual is observing their mind or consciousness accurately, since it cannot be seen by any other person. This attempt to understand the structure or characteristics of the mind was known as structuralism    . Wundt established his psychology laboratory at the University at Leipzig in 1879 ( [link] ). In this laboratory, Wundt and his students conducted experiments on, for example, reaction times. A subject, sometimes in a room isolated from the scientist, would receive a stimulus such as a light, image, or sound. The subject’s reaction to the stimulus would be to push a button, and an apparatus would record the time to reaction. Wundt could measure reaction time to one-thousandth of a second (Nicolas&Ferrand, 1999).

Questions & Answers

hello what For u wanted to talk
Abhilasha Reply
I want talk about Psychology
Re you there
Where can I find a standardized questionnaire for my research entitled Social media and it's relation to social behavior?
is this effective as a treatment generally?
RebeccaBeki Reply
psychological treatment stands a great role in complete recovery
hi mam
my name is Muhammad Javed
help me
anyone know tamil
I know tamil
how I contact to you
Discuss the historical development of intelligence testing.
Surey Reply
Maybe it's more important to study different fields because there could be a link between them all.
Heidi Reply
Discuss the historical development of intelligence testing.
how can you knew prevent sexual
Francis Reply
How do you deal with a person who is a narcissist?
Michelle Reply
Avoid contact with them or try Grey Rock method. ofc don't let them feel they r being ignored otherwise its gna get lot worse.
1. Learning about how the mind works (interpreting our thoughts/logic/reasoning) can be applied to philosophy; 2. Learnsing the anatomy & physiology of our brain & body can be applied to biology; 3. Studying a person's behavior & their social interactions with other people correlates with sociology.
Emelda Reply
plz share it experience
*Our* own individual perceptions of how things work will only be *our* truth unless convinced otherwise by evidence from outside resources.
Heidi Reply
what is psychology
Antwi Reply
psychology is a systematic study about human brain,mind, thinking pattern, and cognition.
psychology is the scientific study of behaviour of it's mental processes.
how are you doing
how can I meet a psychology doc
igbacher Reply
example of a case study
Kathryn Reply
how does the Constitution of the body affect growth and development
Jasmine Reply
Describe the primary emotions
Kudzai Reply
anger, fear, disgust, sadness, surprise, anticipation, trust and joy are the 8 primary emotions
why did Sena did nt get infected and die?
hi what's the reason we couldn't sleep at night
Mustakim Reply
hello there, reasons depends upon the person. most famous reasons are Stress, Anxiety, Overthinking, Had adequately slept in other times of Day, Sleeping Disorders, etc.,
how do we define the term learning
Nysa Reply
how many total types of psychotherapy ?

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now

Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Psychology' conversation and receive update notifications?