Origins of psychology

  • Origins of psychology:
  • AO1:
  • Wundt and introspection:
  • Wundt opened the fist psychology lab in germany, in 1879. The aim was to describe the nature of human consciousness (the mind) in a carefully crontrolled and scientific environment - a lab. Introspection was the first systematic experimental attempt to study the mind by breaking up conscious awareness into basic structures of thoughts. images and sensations. 
  • The same standardised instructions were given to all participants. Procedures could be repeared (replicated). For instance, participants were given a ticking metronome (to pace their responses) and they wuld report their thoughts, images and sensations, which were then recorded. 
  • Although Wundt's early attempt to study the study the mind would have been seen as naive today, his work was significant as it marked the separation of modern, scientific psychology from its broader philososphical roots. 
  • Emergence of psychology as a science:
  • John B. Watson argued that introspection was subjective, in that it varied from person to person. According to the behaviourist approach, 'scientific' psychology should only study phenomena that can be observed and measured. 
  • Skinner brought the langage and rigour of the natural sciences into psychology. The behaviourst's focus on learning, and the use of carefully controlled lab studies, would be the focus of psychology for the next few decades. 
  • Following the cognitive revolution of the 1960s, the study of mental processes was seen as legitimate withing psychology. Although mental processes remain 'private', cognitive psychologists are able to make inferences about how these work


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