Foundation of Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Mind, Cognition Pages: 6 (876 words) Published: February 9, 2014

The Foundations of Psychology

Jennifer Moser

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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