Foundations of Psychology

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Foundations of Psychology
Vanessa R. Nunez
September 11, 2012
Randy Stinnett

Foundations of Psychology
Psychology is a fascinating field with a solid historical foundation. There are many aspects that make up psychology. This paper will examine the major schools of thought in psychology and their major underlying assumptions, as well as the primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior. There are many schools of thought; these are just a few of them. One of the first schools of thought in psychology was Structuralism. Structuralism was advocated by William Wundt, who is known as the first founder of the psychology lab. “Structuralism focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components.” (Cherry, 2012) One of the main focuses of structuralism was on reducing mental processes down into their most basic elements. “…techniques such as introspection were used to analyze the inner processes of the human mind.” (Cherry, 2012) This second school of thought came about because of some theories of structuralism; this school of thought in psychology was functionalism. Functionalism was also heavily influenced by psychologist and philosopher William James. Functionalist wanted to explain the mental processes in a more systematic and accurate manner. Instead of just focusing on the elements of consciousness, functionalists focused on the purpose of consciousness and behavior. (Cherry, 2012) The next school of thought is Psychoanalysis, which was developed by a late 19th and early 20th century neurologist, Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud came up with the theory that people are heavily “influenced by unconscious forces, innate sexual and aggressive drives.” (, 2009) Freud believed that peoples unconscious are suppressed, and in order for a person to maintain a healthy personality, they need to find a suitable outlet. (, 2009) He treated his patients by hypnosis or by just...
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