How Psychology Developed as a Subject?

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Psychology is seen as a science of human behaviour and mental processes. The word psychology comes from the two Greek words ‘psyche’ meaning mind, soul or spirit and ‘logos’ meaning to study, therefore the word ‘Psychology’ means ‘Study of the mind’.

The first Psychology laboratory opened in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt, this signalled the separation of Philosophy and Psychology. Methods used by Wundt were introspective and concerned with conscious and unconscious experiences. Cognitive psychology was born in the 1950’s. Early psychologists such as Watson, Tolman and Pavlov rejected hypothetical mental processes which then led to a branch of Behaviourism; this was the first attempt to study the mind through psychology rather than philosophy, this branched off during the early 20th century. Behaviourism was a major change from previous theoretical perspectives, rejecting the emphasis on both the conscious and unconscious mind. Instead, behaviourism strove to make psychology a more scientific discipline by focusing purely on observable behaviour. Behaviourism had its earliest start with the work of a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov's research on the digestive systems of dogs led to his discovery of the classical conditioning process, which demonstrated that behaviours could be learned through conditioned associations. Pavlov demonstrated that this learning process could be used to make an association between and environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. The impact of behaviourism was enormous, and this school of thought continued to dominate for the next 50 years. Psychologist B.F. Skinner furthered the behaviourist perspective with his concept of operant conditioning, which demonstrated the effect of punishment and reinforcement on behaviour.

Social psychology stretches back to Greek philosophers pondering on humanities social and political nature. The first true experiment was carried out by Triplett in 1897 (social facilitation)....
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