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Psychology’s Methodology is simply a reflection of Psychology’s history. Discuss.

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Introduction

Psychology's Methodology is simply a reflection of Psychology's history. Discuss. In order to discuss Psychology's history, It is important to understand where the science originated I will review it's philosophical origins and discuss how its methodology, has been affected by the chronicles of Psychology. Philosophical ideas influenced the development of Psychology, beginning probably, with Plato (427-347 BC), in ancient Greece. He began to ask questions on learning, motivation and perception. His only source of research was transcripts, from discussions with his mentor Socrates. All he had as his basis of knowledge were ideas, untested in any way. Aristotle (384-322 BC), created a whole system of knowledge based on experiences such as waking, sleeping, gender, self-control and relationships. He described his theory as 'enlightenment' which was the idea that the mind influenced these bodily experiences, but the body could not effect the mind in any way. Philosophers had a great deal of authority and respect from the Greek society. They were disinclined to use any methodology, in which their theories could be measured, as they believed that the truth could be found in thinking rather than carrying out any experiments. These beliefs were indoctrinated into the lives of the Greeks, by the method of authority. According to Charles Sanders-Pierce (1877) the easiest way to fix a belief is to take someone you trust 's word, in faith. ...read more.

Middle

There are many subsets of the Theory of Evolution, one of which is Common Descent, which described how organisms could be traced back to their ancestors - like a family tree. He researched into how apes express emotion in a way, which is very similar to human responses to the same emotion, and deducted from his experiments that humans could be reasonably described as complicated animals. (Hayes 2000). Once humans had been linked closely to animals in this way, it opened the floodgates to more animal research. Hall and Flourens, who removed parts of an animal's brain to find the effects on behaviour, carried out early brain research. Fritsch and Hitzig in 1870 passed an electrical current to parts of the animal's brain and observed the movement of their limbs. Because animals are so similar to humans, some psychologists felt they could make comparative studies, as similar human research would not be practical. Ethics didn't appear to be taken into consideration at this time. Sigmund Freud (1910-1930), in his influential theory of the unconscious, gave a new direction to psychology and laid the groundwork for the psychoanalytic model. Freudian theory took psychology into such fields as, education, anthropology and medicine. Freud is often critiqued for linking sexual problems with almost all his patients. However, in Victorian society, sex was often seen as a taboo subject which could explain why Freud seemed to find almost all of his subjects had sexuality as their main unconscious anxiety. ...read more.

Conclusion

The results of Maslow's studies contributed to an evolution in post-war psychology, which was accelerated by the onslaught of industrialisation and consumerism. Maslow's model of Self-Actualism was, and still is, used in training the workforce in motivation and achieving goals. The expansion of technology during World War Two governed psychologists into developing assumptions on human cognition, particularly, attention span, as this was of major importance in wartime and in new technological areas. Cognitive research analysed decision-making and reasoning, which was particularly useful in a society, whose workforce had higher aspirations than ever before. With this new commercial and technological era, human cognition was examined to evaluate how we access and process information, which was comparative to philosophical ideas that minds were like machines. Hayes 2000 Conclusion Initially, it seems that psychology's theory's had come full circle, begining with philosophy study of the mind, to the study of behaviour and then our most resent psychological research into cognition again. However, it is clear when we put these theories into their historical context, that the methods in which these theories were examined, were effected by external influences. Once psychology had been excepted by most as science laboratories were set up. Psychologists armed with the basic knowledge that their philosophical predecessors had given them were able to construct theories using methodology, which could be controlled. However, how strictly these methods were controlled depended on the assumptions of the researcher and the society in which they lived. ...read more.

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