Origins of Psychology

HideShow resource information

Early Psychology

- Psychology is a new scientific discipline

- It was originally known as experimental philosophy

- Influences: 

Rene Descartes // Cartesian dualism: the body and mind are seperate entities

John Locke // Empiricism: all knowlege comes from senses + studied with science

Charles Darwin // Evolution: we have evolved; important in bio. approach


1 of 7

Wilhelm Wundt

- Published first book on psych.

- Opened first psych. lab in Germany - 'Father of psychology'


Structure of human mind 

Behaviour into basic elements

- Approach is called Structuralism

2 of 7


Introspection: a technique which involves an individual examining and reporting their own mental processses.

The first systematic attempt to break apart concious mind

Wundt established using the scientific method:

Standardised instructions, replicated

This influenced controlled research

3 of 7

Introsp. Critisms

X Relies on non-observable responses, participants can only comment on conscious experiences, not unc. factors related to behaviour

X Data produced subjective: varied from person to person. Hard to establish general principles. thf. results not reliably reproduced

4 of 7

Introsp. Strengths

Emphasis on precise measurments taken from the stimulus as well as detailed recordings or immediate experience

5 of 7

Criticisms of Psychology as a Science

X Some types of human behaviours are difficult to study scientifically, eg. Psychopathologies like personalities are difficut to predict using the scientific method.

X Scientific methods rely on a belief in determinism: that they are able to establish the causes of behavior through use of methods that are empirical and replicable. However, much of the subject matter in psychology is unobservable and can't be measured with any accuracy.

6 of 7

Strengths of Psychology as a Science

/ Heavily relied on on objective and systematic methods, so knowledge is aquired, contributing to theories, rather than being reliant on passive facts or anecdotes.

/ Flexibility for psychologists - If an experiment produces inconsistent results, it can be refined or abandoned, making scientific knowledge self corrective. This allows psychologists to be mindful of results and implications of findings from investigations.

7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Approaches resources »