Cristina de l'Aigle-Barnett
PSY 300 – General Psychology
October 27, 2014
Foundations of Psychology
Psychology is the process of understanding ones mental processes such as how and why one thinks, feels, and behaves the way they do. Psychology is the process by which the scientific method is used to better understand and test these processes (Allport, 1985). Psychology was established as a means to blends these two differing schools of thought into one. Psychology quickly separated into different schools of thought as a means to explain the human mind and its behaviors. In this paper we will discuss in more depth about a few of them such as structuralism, functionalism, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanism (Allport, 1985).
Wilhelm Wundt is thought to be one of psychologies founding fathers. He was a pioneer using laboratory research as a way to back up his theories of the mind. One of Wundt’s students Edward Titchener used Wundt’s theory of introspection as his basis of his new school of thought called structuralism. Structuralism is the study of the contents of the mind (Britannica, 2001). Just like his predecessor Titchener believed that the scientific method was the only means to the science of the mind. Structuralism was only one of two schools that dominated psychology in its early years. The other was functionalism. Functionalism was the product of one Harvard graduate named William James. James believed structuralism was a great start, however felt the mind still needed further explaining and hence functionalism was born. Where structuralism focused its efforts on the mental processes themselves, functionalist conserved their efforts on the role those processes play. Functionalism is the study of how ones psychological processes helps one adapt to their environment (Britannica, 2001).
Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that the unconscious mind influenced behavior. Freud