psychology history

Topics: Psychology, Mind, Perception Pages: 3 (659 words) Published: November 25, 2013
 Tupas, April Shane R.BSA-1M3
2:35- 4:05 TTH F304
The Roots of Psychology
Seven thousand years ago, people assumed that psychological problems were caused by evil spirits. To allow those spirits to escape from a person’s body, ancient healers chipped a hole in a patient’s skull with crude instruments— a procedure called trephining . According to the 17th-century philosopher Descartes, nerves were hollow tubes through which “animal spirits” conducted impulses in the same way that water is transmitted through a pipe. Franz Josef Gall, an 18th-century physician, argued that a trained observer could discern intelligence, moral character, and other basic personality characteristics from the shape and number of bumps on a person’s skull. His theory gave rise to the field of phrenology, employed by hundreds of practitioners in the 19th century.

We can trace psychology’s roots back to the ancient Greeks, who considered the mind to be a suitable topic for scholarly contemplation. Later philosophers argued for hundreds of years about some of the questions psychologists grapple with today. For example, the 17th-century British philosopher John Locke believed that children were born into the world with minds like “blank slates” ( tabula rasa in Latin) and that their experiences determined what kind of adults they would become. His views contrasted with those of Plato and the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes, who argued that some knowledge was inborn in humans.

However, the formal beginning of psychology as a scientifi c discipline is generally considered to be in the late 19th century, when, in Leipzig, Germany, Wilhelm Wundt established the first experimental laboratory devoted to psychological phenomena. At about the same time, William James was setting up his laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

When Wundt set up his laboratory in 1879, his aim was to study the building blocks of the mind....
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