A Level Psychology AQA - Origins of Psychology AO1

  • Created by: Becca1304
  • Created on: 23-02-21 11:28
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  • The origins of Psychology AO1
    • Wilhelm Wundt
      • The first person to call himself a psychologist
      • Believed that all aspects of nature , including the human mind, could be scientifically studied
      • His approach paved the way for the acceptance of psychology as a distinct science in its own right, and experimental as the preferred method for studying human behaviour
      • He only studied only those aspects of human behaviours that could be strictly controlled in experimental conditions
      • Aim - to study the structure of the human mind, and he believed that the best way to do that was to break down behaviours such as sensation and perception into their basic elements
      • His approach was referred to as structuralism and the technique he used as introspection
      • Although Wundt originally believed that all aspects of human experience could be investigated experimentally, he eventually cam to realise that higher mental processes, such as learning, language and emotions, cannot be studied in this controlled manner
    • Introspection
      • From the latin meaning "looking into"
      • The process by which a person gains knowledge about their own mental and emotionsstates
      • Just as our perceptual ability enables us to observe and make sense of the outer world, out introspective ability enables us to observe our inner world
      • Wundt claimed that with sufficient training, mental processes such as memory and perception could be obcserved systematically as they ocurred using introspection
      • EXAMPLE - observers might shown  an object and asked to reflect upon how they were perceiving it. This informatuion could then be used to gain insight into the nature of the mental process involved in perception, reaction time etc.
      • In Wundt's studies of perception, participants would be presented with carefully controlled stimuli, then would be asked to provide a description of the inner porcesses they were experiencing as they looked at the image or listened to the tone.
        • This made it possible to compare different participants' reports in response to the same stimuli, and so establish general theories about perception and other mental processes
    • Emergence of psychology as a science
      • When empirical methods were first applied to the study of human beings by Wundt and his followers, psychology began to emerge as a distinct entity
      • Empiricists believe that knowledge comes from observation and experience alone (rather than being innate)
      • Psychology is reliant on a philosophical view known as empiricism.
    • The scientific method in Psychology
      • The scientific method refers to the use if investigative methods that are objective, systematic and replicable.
      • It is objective in that researchers do not let preconceived ideas or biases influence the collection of their data, and systematic in that observations or experiments are carried out in an orderly way
      • Measurement and recording of empirical data are carried out accurately and with due consideration for the possible influence of other factors on the results obtained
      • It is replicable in that observations can be repeated by other researchers to determine whether the same results are obtained
      • If results are not replicable, then they are not reliable and cannot be accepted
      • The research process is not restricted to empirical obervation alone, but also necessitates the use of reason to explain the results


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