The Foundations of Psychology
Every since the beginning of Psychology, we have been faced with many
questions. Psychology did not emerge as it’s own field until the late 1800’s. Psychology
was first seen as a study of the human consciousness. The study of behavior of the mind
dates all the way back to the Ancient Greeks.
The formal founding of psychology had many developments in the early schools
of thought. One of the first early schools of thought was Structuralism. Structuralism was
based around basic components that focused on the breaking down of mental processes.
Introspection was a technique used to analyze the inner processes of the human mind.
One of the major thinkers of Structuralism was Wilhelm Wundt. Wundt was often
considered as the Father of Psychology. Wundt helped divide psychology from
philosophy by analyzing the workings of the human mind in a more “structured” way.
Wundy created the new branch of science, Psychology, by combining philosophy and
Another early school of thought is Functionalism. There are many theorists
involved in functionalism, like many other schools of thought. One of them had theories
that heavily influenced functionalism—William James. James brought forth
functionalism by studying structuralism. Functionalists were interested in the role the
mental processes in structuralism play. He was one of the most influential philosophers
and he was labeled as “the American Father of Psychology.” James also proposed a
theory known as, “James-Lange Theory of Emotion.” It was proposed with a physiologist
known as Carl Lange. This theory involves focusing on what kind of emotions occur,
after interpreting physical actions that take place. "My thesis on the contrary is that the
bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and that our
feeling of the same changes as they occur IS the emotion."—William James.
Behaviorism is another school of thought for psychology. Behaviorism is the
study of behavior that is observed. Theorists believed that behavior can be explained by
studying their environments. This school of thought developed in the 1950’s, but is still
widely used today. Albert Bandura made many contributes to psychology and one of
them was the influential transition between behavioral psychology and cognitive
So that leads us to the school of thought known as Cognitive Psychology. Partly
as a response to behaviorism, cognitive psychology emerged. This school of psychology
studies the mental processes; how we think, perceive, learn, and remember. A theory that
Bandura developed was Social cognitive theory. This theory was based on directly
observing clients’ social interactions and experiences. One notable theorist working with
cognitive psychology besides Bandura, was Jean Piaget. Piaget was mostly known for his
work with children and the education of children. His theory was based on a cognitive
approach as well as a structuralist approach. Piaget developed his own Cognitive theory.
The basic components of her theory includes schemas (building blocks of knowledge),
processes that enable the transition from one stage to another, and then the stages of
development; senorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operation.
Sigmund Freud is one of the most talked about theorist or psychologist. He had a
major impact on the field of psychology alone. He founded a school of thought known as
Psychoanalysis. He believed the human mind was made up of three different
components; id, the ego, and the superego. The id is composed of our primal urges. The
ego is the component of personality charged with dealing with reality. The superego is
the part of...
References: 1) Espinoza. Interdisciplinary Humanities. Spring 2010, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p28-36. 9p.
2) Sharpe. Understanding psychoanalysis. 2008.
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