What Have Been the Major Historical Phases in Psychology?

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Sheriff (1963) defined social psychology as “ The scientific study of the experience and behaviour of individuals in relation to social- stimuli situations ”as cited in Sahakian (1982).What most social psychologists study are a person’s responses stimuli originating with fellow other people. The history of social psychology can be sought at in stages. The first is the anti-democratic French crowd psychology which was around 1900, the democratic attitude research in the United States which was between the two world wars 1920-1940 and finally social psychology in the United States and the rise of social psychology in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the origins of social psychology can be dated back to as early as the late 18th century it was not until the turn of the 20th century that modern social psychology was formed as the way we know it today. In 1895 Gustav Le Bon presented a systematic theory of crowd behaviour he was a French social scientist who loathed socialism and communism. Since the French revolution in 1789 crowds had played a prominent part in France’s politics with there being riots, violent strikes and demonstrations (Richards 2010), Le Bon’s concern with the crowd stemmed from this. He believed that understanding the laws of crowd behaviour would enable national leaders to cultivate patriotic pride (Richards 2010).In his work he argued that the conscious personality of an individual in a crowd is submerged and that the collective crowd mind then dominates and that crowd behaviour can be emotional and intellectually weak (encyclopaedia Britannica 2011).Le Bon’s Crowd shows how an individual’s identity can disappear and how crowd behaviour is pathological and comprehensible in terms of the understanding of suggestion by which it is governed by mental contagion. His views on crowd behaviour helped lay the foundation for fascist ideologies later promulgated by Hitler. He had a big influence on social psychology and how it is today, he...
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