Units 1 through 3
Unit 1: Psychology’s History and Approaches
What is Psychology?
Psychology is the science of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology’s common questions are: How do our minds work? How do our bodies relate to our minds? How much of what we know is already present/is acquired through experience?
In India, Buddha focused on how sensations and perceptions combine to form ideas.
In China, Confucious emphasized the power of ideas and knowledge/education.
In ancient Israel, Hebrew scholars linked the mind and emotions to the body. They believed that “people think with their heart, and feel with their bowels.”
In Greece, Socrates (496- 399 BCE) and his student Plato (428-348 BCE) believe that mind is separable from the body; knowledge is born within and continues long after the body dies. Plato’s student, Aristotle (348-322 BCE), derived principles from careful observations and analysis. He did not believe that knowledge is pre-existing, rather it grows from our experiences and memories.
In France, Rene Descartes (1595-1650) agreed with Socrates and Plato. He believed that the fluid in animals’ brains contained “animal spirits”. According to Descartes, these spirits flowed from the brain (through what we know now are nerves) to the muscles, dictating human actions. Also, he thought memories open pores to the brain into which the animal spirits also flowed.
In Brittain, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was fascinated by the human mind and it’s failings. Novum Organuum- our mind’s desire to perceive patterns in random events. John Locke (1632-1704) author of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, argued that the human mind at birth is a blank slate, which is then developed by experiences. Locke’s and Bacon’s ideas cooperatively formed empiricism, the idea that knowledge is based off of experience.
Wilhelm Wundt measured “atoms of the mind”- the