CHAPTER 1 THE STUDY OF THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY Aira Jane A. Ortiz, RPm Development of Psychological Thought Discussion Questions 1. What can we learn from studying the history of psychology? Studying the history of psychology can give us insight on how the theories emerge or started. Learning the history or past of psychology can help us understand why different areas and approaches emerge. Gaining knowledge in the history of psychology brings order and imposes meaning on what appears to be chaos, putting the past into perspective to explain the present. 2. Why can psychologists claim that psychology is one of the oldest scholarly disciplines as well as one of the newest? Explain why modern psychology is a product of both nineteenth-century and twentieth-century thought. Psychology is among the oldest of all scholarly disciplines as well as the newest based on its origin that can be traced into two different time periods. First, in the fifth century BC when philosophers like Plato and Aristotle proposes philosophical and abstract approach to define human behavior. In 19th century up to present when scientific approach is applied in exploring questions about human sciences that lead to separation of psychology from philosophical perspective and gain recognition to formaly study the field as a disciplinary subject matter known as the modern psychology. 3. In what ways do the data of history differ from the data of science? Give examples of how historical data can be distorted. The difference between data of history and data of science, the formerly is used to describe and understand the development of a discipline in manner based on written manuscripts, journals etc. that cannot be replicated in same manner because each situation written occurred at some point in the past while the latter used a scientific method which the data produced can be tested . Common examples of how historical data can be distorted is through lost or suppressed data (burned manuscripts), distortion in translation from one language to another. 4. In what ways have contextual forces influenced the development of modern psychology? The contextual forces like the economic opportunity of applying psychology as a teaching profession, War as contextual force that allow the growth of psychology into areas of selection and psychological testing help shaped in the development of modern psychology. 5. Describe the obstacles faced by women, Jews, and African Americans in pursuing careers in psychology, especially during the first half of the twentieth century. Discrimination against women has existed in psychology’s history for instance women were denied admission to graduate school or excluded in faculty position. Jewish men and women faced admission quotas in college and graduate school due to discrimination and even they got to finish their degree the chance of being employed and gaining academic position is tough. 6. How does the process of writing history in any field necessarily restrict the number of people whose work can be singled out for attention? The history is full of great works that have marked a turning point in the development of a branch of knowledge, and in which the proposals for a new theoretical frame of reference or a new systematization of the known facts were preceded by an extensive historical introduction consisting in the evolution of the topic up to that moment. 7. Describe the differences between personalistic and naturalistic conceptions of scientific history. Explain which approach is supported by cases of simultaneous discovery. Scientific history of psychology can be view in two ways, first is the personalistic theory which focuses on the achievements and contributions of specific individual. This implies that the events never would have occurred without the appearance of monumental figures and suggest that person makes the time. Second, the naturalistic theory of history proposes that times make the person or at least make the recognition and acceptance of what the person has to say possible. Example, three investigators unknown to one another coincidentally discovered the work of Austrian botanist George Mendel and made it famous whose writings on genetics has largely been ignored for 35 years. Instances of simultaneous discovery support the latters conception of scientific history. 8. What is the Zeitgeist? How does the Zeitgeist affect the evolution of a science? Compare the growth of a science with the evolution of a living species. Zeitgeist is a German word means spirit of the time. The Zeitgeist within science has inhibiting effect on investigation, theoretical formulations and the evolution of the subject matter. Both science and species change or adapt in response to the demands of the environment. 9. What is meant by the term “school of thought”? Has the science of psychology reached the paradigmatic stage of development? Why or why not? The term school of thought refers to a group of psychologists who become associated ideologically and geographically with the leader of the movement. No, psychology has not yet reached a paradigmatic stage because no single school has succeeded yet in unifying or explaining the different school of thought in psychology. 10. Describe the cyclical process by which schools of thought begin, prosper, and then fail. Each school of thought in psychology was a protest movement. When a new and better definitions and concepts in psychology emerge, it is the time of prosperity and the opposition in the older system, the passion and ardor of the once-new movement die or fail. REFLECTION: Studying the past is relevant to explain present events. Imagine your cheerful and kind friend having unusual and disturbing behavior that sometime you’ve been hurt by what she/he did, if you truly considered him/her as a friend you will not get angry easily but instead you will ask him/her what happen. Knowing the history of psychology from ancient time and gaining insight on how it develop into modern psychology can we truly understand its concept. We will have our own Zeitgeist, if not now maybe in the near future.