Introduction to Psychology
Psychology started as a branch of philosophy in 300 B.C. with the great precursors like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, St. Augustine and etc. The first psychological laboratory was established by Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, Germany and He made himself the “father of experimental psychology”.
Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. Behaviour is anything that a person or animal does, feels, thinks or experiences. And there are two classifications of behaviours which are the overt and covert. In the overt, behaviours are directly observed or seen while in the covert behaviours are not directly observed. On the other hand, to describe behaviour, to explain behaviour, to predict behaviour and to control or change behaviour are the goals of psychology.
There are schools of thoughts in psychology and these are the following; structuralism, functionalism, gestalt, behaviourism, psychoanalysis and purposivism or “hormic psychology”. Structuralism focuses on the conscious experiences, as the building block of the behaviour. While functionalism focuses on how the mind works in order to serve certain function in an individual’s environment. However gestalt emphasizes on the over-all pattern or the organization of any experience rather than on its specific elements. Gestalt is a German word which means “unified form or shape”. Whereas behaviourism advocates measurable and objective behaviour. In psychoanalysis, human motives and desires that are contained in the individual’s unconscious experiences which are driven out to awareness through acceptable manner. While the purposivism or “hormic psychology” by William Dougall believed that the objects, movements and behaviours have definite purposes.
There are also the contemporary perspectives in psychology. The biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioural and socio-cultural are the examples of these contemporary perspectives. Research methods in psychology includes observational method, under this are naturalistic observation, formal/controlled observation and participant observation. Second is the case history which involves the life of an individual. Then, the experimental which studies behaviour in a laboratory and conducted through experimentation. Next is the correlational method that is used to describe the relationship between any two or more variables without interfering the one that causes the other. Another is the survey method that is done through written questionnaire or personal interviews.
Basically, nervous system is composed of brain, spinal chord and nerves. Neuron or the nerve cell is the basic structural unit of the nervous system. There are three types of neurons which are the sensory or afferent neurons, motor or efferent neurons and the connector or interneurons. Sensory or afferent neurons send neural impulses or signals from the receptor to the brain. While motor or efferent neurons sends neural impulse from the brain to the effectors, motor neurons sends efferent signals for muscular contractions and glandular secretions. On the other hand, connector or interneurons connects neurons between the sensory and the motor neurons this are found only in the brain and the spinal chord. The central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system are the two divisions of the nervous system. The central nervous system serves to connect the sensory and the motor fibers within the nervous system .Under the central nervous system is the brain and the spinal chord. The spinal chord is regarded as the set of reflex actions and connecting link between the peripheral system and the brain. However the brain is regarded as the seat of consciousness and higher mental processes. The peripheral nervous system is the autonomic nervous system that is made up of one sympathetic and the two parasympathetic divisions. The sympathetic...
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