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Critically discuss the emergence of psychology as a separate discipline

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Unit 1: Introduction to Psychology Leigh Webber Critically discuss the emergence of psychology as a separate discipline Psychology itself is a comparatively new field, but its roots can be traced back to early Philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, who had for years, contemplated the human mind and the relationships between people and society. Hippocrates, for example, philosophized about basic human temperaments and their related traits, reasoning that physical conditions, such as yellow bile or too much blood, may cause differences in temperament (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011). However, psychology takes these ponderings and turns them into hypotheses, scientifically testing them in an attempt to answer and understand them further. It also differs from sociology, which although similarly looks at behaviour; how it affects and is affected by the environment, because it focuses specifically on individuals or small groups, whereas sociology looks at large groups and subcultures. ...read more.


He felt that since only behaviour could be measured objectively, psychologists should concentrate on this (Gross et al, 2000). According to behaviourists, behaviour can be studied in a systematic and observable manner with no consideration of internal mental states (Cherry, 2011). Skinners theory of learning was based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through conditioning, the use of reinforcement (Gross, et al, 2000). However, Bandura felt not all behaviour is a result of reinforcement, suggesting that some behaviours can be learned through observation. He also concluded that external, environmental reinforcement is not the only factor to influence learning and behaviour. Pride, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment were described as a kind of internal reward, or intrinsic reward. He also added that observational learning demonstrates that not all learned behaviour is necessarily performed. His work still has important implications in the field of education, the importance of modelling appropriate behaviours, encouragement and building self-worth is still key in today?s classrooms (Cherry, 2011b). ...read more.


Focusing entirely on mental processes, Cognitive psychologists renamed the ?mind? ?cognition? and concentrate on how we attain, retain and regain information, through the processes of perception, attention, memory, problem-solving, language and thinking in general. Cognitive psychologists see people as information processors, much like computers. Although these processes can only be inferred from what a person does, these processes can be observed in the form of memory or problem solving tests etc (Gross, et al 2000). With developments in technology such as brain imaging, Biological psychologists focus on the biological basis of behaviour; Causal factors the role of genetics and chemical, for example, the release of neurochemicals and physiological changes, for example, heart rate. They are particularly interested in the brain, how it works, the functions of the different parts and how these parts are connected. Their work is based upon findings of actually looking at the body, more specifically the brain, and observing what happens during particular mental states. This work has had a major influence on the explanation and treatment of psychological disorders (Harolambos and Rice, 2002). ...read more.

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