Chapter 1: Understanding
Psychology’s History
What do we study?
Focusing on knowledge
Understanding historical contexts
Examining the roots
Remembering great individuals
Recurrent themes in psychology:
The mindbody
problem
The naturenurture
debates
The theoristpractitioner
debates
Four types of knowledge in psychology
Scientific knowledge. Knowledge
accumulated through research,
systematic empirical observation,
and evaluation of a wide range of
psychological phenomena. Facts are
obtained with the help of scientific
research methodologies and rigorous
verification by multiple sources.
Four types of knowledge in psychology
Popular beliefs. Everyday
assumptions about psychological
phenomena; such assumptions are
often expressed in the form of
beliefs, evaluations, or prescriptions.
Four types of knowledge in psychology
Value-based knowledge. A consistent
set of beliefs about the world, the
nature of good and evil, right and
wrong, and the purpose of human life
 all based on a certain organizing
principal or central idea.
Four types of knowledge in psychology
Legal knowledge. Knowledge
encapsulated in the law and detailed
in rules and principles related to
psychological functioning of
individuals. These rules are commonly
established by legal authorities.
How ideology affected science: two examples
Ideology
Scientific and
Professional Community
Trappidomania, or
Pathological
Craving for Freedom
Schizophrenia, Slowly
Progressing (Sluggish)
Type, Delusion of
Reformation
How some scientific ideas are dismantled
Theory, Views
Anton Mesmer
formulated a theory
about people’s ability
to magnetize objects
and bodies and affect
certain symptoms.
Critical Points
Careful investigation showed that
the improvement in symptoms
was not caused by magnetism as
claimed by Mesmer. In addition,
there was no verifiable evidence
about the existence of the effects
of magnetism.
How some scientific ideas are dismantled
Theory, Views
The term neurasthenia
was widely by clinicians
to explain the etiology of
several
dysfunctions,
mostly including various
forms of anxiety and
depression.
Critical Points
The concept of weakness of
nervous system is vague. The
symptoms
included
in
neurasthenia are extremely
diverse,
and
clinicians
interpret them according to
their cultural or educational
backgrounds.
How some scientific ideas are dismantled
Theory, Views
Critical Points
Ivan Pavlov’s theory
suggested the existence
of several processes
including the strength,
the balance, and the
speed of nervous
processes.
The assumptions about the
strength, balance, and speed
of nervous processes did
not find many practical
applications and turned out
to be rather simplistic.
Factors Contributing to the Development
of Psychology as Science
Resources and Availability of resources creates conditions for the
Infrastructure development of science and inclusion of
psychology as a scientific discipline.
Social Climate Favorable social climate creates an opportunity
for psychology to be viewed and treated as a
legitimate discipline and profession.
Academic
Tradition
Presence of educated professionals sharing the
same principles of understanding of psychology
constitutes an academic tradition; this creates a
great opportunity for others to join in and develop
this tradition further.
Societal Impact on Psychological Knowledge
Resources
Theoretical and
Experimental
Research
Social
Climate
Academic
Tradition
Psychological
Knowledge
Retained in
History
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