The Birth of Modern Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Mind, Wilhelm Wundt Pages: 2 (603 words) Published: November 16, 2013

The Birth of Modern Psychology began with Wilhelm Wundt and William James who are usually thought of as the fathers of psychology, as well as the founders of psychology’s first two great “schools.”  Although they were very different men, there are some similarities:  Their lives overlap, for example, with Wilhelm Wundt born in 1832 and dying in 1920, while William James was born ten years later and died ten years earlier.  Both have claims to having established the first psychology lab in 1875. Wilhelm Wundt designed the first control research in a lab setting and his approach was later known as structuralism. In this setting Wundt and his colleagues studied perception some experiments simply involved recording of the subject responded to sound or how the subject reacted to the dropping of a large rubber ball. Wundt also developed a method introspection where he asked subjects to report their feelings and sensations after dropping the ball to the ground, although Wundt believed that he could gain insight into how the brain works by asking subjects how they feel this approach was criticized for being unreliable and prone to bias. Wundt’s method as a whole was often criticized for being too narrow or subjective. In eighteen ninety William James attempted to explain how consciousness functions with his book the principles of psychology, because James and his theories attempted to explain the function of consciousness rather than the structure, his approach was appropriately named functionalism. James borrowed heavily from Darwin’s ideas that mental processes involve overtime to aid the overall survival of humans. Although the early psychologists may have disagreed over how to conduct research, these clashes led to improvements in the science, and shaped the methods used today. Consider the period starting about 1880 and ending in the new century to be an interlude because it was concerned to a large extent with cleaning up the loose ends and leftovers of the...
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