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Describe the key features of the historical development of modern day psychology particularly focusing on changes in explanation of human behaviour.

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Introduction

Unit 1 Perspectives 1. Describe the key features of the historical development of modern day psychology particularly focusing on changes in explanation of human behaviour. The word psychology was derived from two Greek words, psyche meaning mind, soul, spirit and logos meaning study. Philosophy was the predecessor to psychology. The new psychology differed from philosophy because psychology has a scientific influence while philosophy had been reflecting on and speculating about the mind. In Europe around 1879 Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Wundt investigated the mind through introspection. He analysed conscious thought by recording research under controlled conditions. The emphasis was on measurement and control in a scientific manor, rather than speculation. ...read more.

Middle

His controversial views of primitive urges and repression brought great criticism from some colleagues who claimed none of his work could be proven. By the 1920's the validity and usefulness of these approaches were being questioned. American psychologist John B. Watson believed that introspection and psychoanalysis produced results which could never be proved or disproved. It was possible to obtain completely different results from participants in the exact same scientifically controlled experiment. He believed psychology should be confined to what is measurable and observable i.e. behaviour hence the new psychology 'Behaviourism' was born. Watson believed that the workings of the mind and private mental processes have no place in truly scientific psychology. Behaviourism remained a dominant force for the next 40 years with the emphasis on the role of learning in the form of conditioning. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believed that psychology should be about maximising individuals own potential, he called this self- actualization. Along with Carl Rogers the new 'Third force' of psychology 'Humanism' was developed. Unlike previous theories the humanists believed that Humans are unique and have their own free will. They regarded the use of scientific methods as impropriate for studying humans. They do however accept the relevance of the 'mind' as a topic in psychology. It was how an individual perceived themselves that most affected mental health. Humanist psychology remains prevalent today. Biological psychology had been bubbling away gently in the back ground since the day's of philosophy. It became more prominent as Biology and medical science progressed. In recent years Biopsychology has become a science in its own right. It combines knowledge of biology with behaviour and mental processes. Sarah Nicholls 07/05/2007 psy 1 ...read more.

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