PSYC 289.docx - Unit 1 ● Psychologists seek to describe,...

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Unit 1Psychologists seek to describe, explain, and predict the occurrence of suchbehaviour.Psychology is practical, but it is more than that—it is a way of thinking.The term psychology comes from two Greek words, psyche, meaning the soul, andlogos, referring to the study of a subject.its literal meaning, “the study of the mind.”Psychology's intellectual parents were the disciplines of philosophy and physiology.Wundt mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline ratherthan a stepchild of philosophy or physiology.Historians have christened1879as psychology’s “date of birth.”In 1881, Wundt established the first journal devoted to publishing research onpsychology.According to Wundt, psychology’s primary focus was consciousness— the awarenessof immediate experienceIn psychology, the first two major schools of thought,structuralism andfunctionalism, were entangled in the field’s first great intellectual battle.Structuralismemerged through the leadership of Edward Titchener.Structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is toanalyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how theseelements are related.The structuralists wanted to identify and examine the fundamentalcomponents of conscious experience, such as sensations, feelings, andimages.Introspection, the careful, systematic self-observation of one’s ownconscious experience.Limitations associated with the use of introspection were a factor thatcontributed to the demise of structuralism.In analyzing consciousness into its “elements,” the structuralists were lookingat static points in that flow. James wanted to understand the flow itself,which he called the stream of consciousness.The structuralists sought to train observers who, in principle, would becomeskilled at making self-observations and would report these to theexperimenters with whom they worked. The structuralists' method ofintrospection never caught on as a research strategy in psychology.Functionalismwas based on the belief that psychology should investigate thefunction or purpose of consciousness, rather than its structure.Functionalists began to investigate mental testing, patterns of developmentin children, the effectiveness of educational practices, and behaviouraldifferences between the sexes.
Functionalism fostered the development of two descendants that havedominated modern psychology: behaviourism and applied psychology.According to the principle ofnatural selection, heritable characteristics thatprovide a survival or reproductive advantage are more likely than alternativecharacteristics to be passed on to subsequent generations and thus come to be“selected” over time.The impassioned advocates ofstructuralism and functionalismsaw themselves as fighting forhigh stakes: the definition andfuture direction of the newscience of psychology.

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