Foundations of Psychology Paper

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Foundations of Psychology
Psych 300
November 20, 2010
Dr. Stern, EdD, LMHC

Foundations of Psychology Paper
Psychology is the scientific investigation of mental processes (thinking, remembering, feeling, etc.) and behavior (Kowalski & Westen, 2009.) The phrase mental behavior and mental processes means many things: it encompasses not just what people do but also their thoughts, emotions, perceptions, reasoning processes, memories and even the biological activities that maintain bodily function (Jex.) Psychology is divided into sub-fields such as health, human development, law, and many other sub fields, just to name a few. The major schools of thought in Psychology are structuralism, functionalism,

behaviorism, psychodynamic, humanistic, cognition, and evolutionary. William Wundt is called

the father of psychology for his pioneering laboratory research (Kowalski & Westen, 2009.) He

founded the first psychological laboratory in Germany in 1879. Wundt used introspection to

evaluate thoughts and behaviors when subjects were presented with a stimulus such as a pink

object on a card and basically were asked to put in their own words what they were feeling.

Wundt’s student Edward Tichener (1867-1927) advocated the use of introspection in

experiments with the hope of devising a periodic table of elements of human consciousness,

much like the periodic table developed by chemists (Kowalski & Westen, 2009.)

Tichener focused on consciousness and therefore founded the first school of psychology known

as structuralism. Structuralism focused on uncovering the fundamental mental components of

perception, consciousness, thinking, emotions, and other kinds of mental states and activities

(Feldman, Chapter 1.) Tichener’s belief varied from that of Wundt’s in that he believed that

experimentation was the only appropriate method for a science of psychology and that concepts

such as “attention” implied too...
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