William James and G. Stanley Hall’s Contributions to Psychology

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  • Topic: William James, Psychology, G. Stanley Hall
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  • Published : December 23, 2012
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Compare and contrast William James and G. Stanley Hall’s contributions to psychology. William James was born from a wealthy family, from supportive parents were provided with the best educational opportunities at the time. Early on was interested in painting, love literature, entered in the Harvard School of Medicine. After traveling to the Amazon with naturalist Louis Agassiz, contracted measles and his experience was not as positive as he expected. Depression took over him and marched for Germany where he studied with Hermann von Helmholtz and became fascinated by psychology. He got a medical degree in 1869 but never practiced. Harvard offered him a job as an instructor, taught at Harvard for 35 years. James was the founder of the first experimental psychology laboratory in the U. S.(Emory University, 2008) "The Principles of Psychology" got him some tribute, but serious critics as well; as some considered it more a piece of literature than psychology. Later, James published a condensed version of his pioneering work “Psychology: The Briefer Course”, which has been widely used by college students. "James conceived the theory of Pragmatism, in which he assured that the truth of an idea can never be proven".(Emory University, 2008) He proposed that people needed to focus "the cash value of an idea which also involves determining its practical, ethical/moral, and intellectual consequences"(Emory University, 2008). James proposed the idea of Functionalism that pays attention to the entirety of an event, and considers the effect environment has on behaviors. The James-Lange theory of emotion proposes that an event triggers a physiological reaction, which we then interpret. Per the theory, emotions are caused by the interpretations of physiological reactions (Huffman, K.,2002).

G. Stanley Hall had a different up bring than James his parents were conservative Congregational parents, and he was raised in a modest farm, his mother aspiration for him was to go into...
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