1-2.intro.lsu.post - Chapter 1 Introduction to the History...

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Chapter 1 - Introduction to the History and Science of Psychology A standard definition of psychology is that it is the study of the human mind and human behavior. Psychology is rooted in empiricism – the view that a) all knowledge comes from experience through the senses, and b) science flourishes through observation and experiment. The British philosopher John Locke was so sure that all knowledge came from the senses that he said at birth, the mind was a tabula rasa A Brief History of Psychology Wundt and the Structuralism of Titchener This part of the history of psychology starts with researchers such as von Helmholtz and Fechner – researchers who were trying to get at the basic building blocks of sensory perception. Fechner in particular was interested in psychophysics Two other main people here are Wilhelm Wundt, who established the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, in 1879. His student, Edward Titchener, brought Wundt’s ideas to the United States. Wundt defined psychology as the study of the structure of conscious experience. The goal was to find the 'atoms' of conscious experience – the basic building blocks of how we experience the world around us. Wundt turned to introspection as the tool for gathering data. Researchers were trained with specific criteria for becoming skilled introspectors. They would be exposed to different types of stimuli, then report their sensations and feelings that were associated with that stimuli. Titchener brought Wundt’s ideas to the US, performing studies at Cornell University. He named his method structuralism – Gestalt Psychology Like Wundt and the structuralists, Gestalt psychologists were also interested in the study of perception. However, the Gestalt psychologists also thought that you can’t study perception by breaking it down into its structural parts – you had to look at the experience as a whole. Gestalt psychology is based on the observation that we often experience things that are not a part of our simple sensations. The original observation was Wertheimer’s, when he
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noted that we perceive motion where there is nothing more than a rapid sequence of individual sensory events. phi phenomenon - According to Gestalt psychologists, we are built to experience the structured whole as well as the individual sensations. And not only do we have the ability to do so, we have a strong tendency to do so. We even add structure to events which do not have gestalt structural qualities. Freud and Psychoanalysis Freud began as a physician, assuming that all behavioral and psychological processes arose from the body. Later, he began to change that assumption when he began treating patients who showed physical complaints that had no apparent physical cause. This began his work based on the idea that all behavior was rooted in psychological causes. We’ll talk more about Freud throughout this course.
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This note was uploaded on 05/11/2010 for the course PSYC 2000 taught by Professor Munson during the Spring '10 term at LSU.

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1-2.intro.lsu.post - Chapter 1 Introduction to the History...

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