Mind and Body - History of Psychlogy

Topics: Psychology, Consciousness, Mind Pages: 3 (841 words) Published: April 6, 2012
Mind & Body

The history of psychology dates back to the Middle Ages and it was considered a branch of Philosophy until the middle of the the 19th century, when psychology developed as an independent scientific discipline. The term Psychology comes from two Greek words: psyche, which means “soul,” and logos, 'the study of.' These root words were combined in the 16th century, at a time when the human soul, spirit, or mind was seen as distinct from the body.

It is to Rene Descartes, a French mathematician, philosopher, and physiologist, that Psychology owes the first systematic account of the mind and body relationship. Descartes was the first to talk about mind and body interactions, and eventually had a great influence in later psychologists and thinkers. He believed that the mind and body were distinct essences, but that they had direct influence on each other. In other words, Descartes proposed that not only the body can influence the mind, but that the mind could also affect the body.

Mind can be defined as the collective aspects of intellect and consciousness which are a combination of thought, perception, emotion, imagination, wills and most important reasons (Merrian- Webster.) Mind can also be define according to Jean Piaget’s theory as an active biological system that seeks, selects, interprets, and recognizes environmental information to fit with or adjust to its own existing mental structures.

We can define consciousness as the quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment. (Merrian-Wesbter). We can say that dreams, emotions, surroundings, upbringing, environment, religion, and the senses; sight, smell, touch, and brain activity comprise the basic characteristics of being able to observe the world and experience it. Language can also be considered part of the consciousness because it allows humans to...
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