MSWord review handout (partial)

Approaches and History (M website)
Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Bradford Titchner: Structuralism
In 1879 Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology laboratory at the
University of Leipzig in Germany. There the use of experiment and measurement
marked the beginnings of psychology as a science. Wundt and one of his
students, Edward Titchner, established a perspective called structuralism, which
was based on the belief that psychology's role was to identify the basic elements
of experience and how they combine.
William James: Functionalism
The American psychologist William James criticized structuralism, arguing that
sensations cannot be separated from the mental associations that allow us to
benefit from past experiences. Our rich storehouse of ideas and memories is
what enables us to function in our environment, James said. His perspective
became known as functionalist theory.
Sigmund Freud: Psychodynamic Psychology
The theories of Sigmund Freud added another new dimension to psychology: the
idea that much of our behavior is governed by unconscious conflicts, motives,
and desires. Freud's theories gave rise to the psychodynamic approach.
John B. Watson: Behaviorism
John B. Watson, a spokesman for the school of thought called behaviorism,
argued that psychology should concern itself only with observable, measurable
behavior. Watson based much of his work on the conditioning experiments of
Ivan Pavlov.
B. F. Skinner: Behaviorism Revisited
B. F. Skinner's beliefs were similar to Watson's, but he added the concept of
reinforcement or rewards. In this way he made the learner an active agent in the
learning process. Skinner's views dominated American psychology into the
Gestalt Psychology
According to Gestalt psychology, perception depends on the human tendency to
see patterns, to distinguish objects from their backgrounds, and to complete
pictures from a few clues. In this emphasis on wholeness the Gestalt school
radically differed from structuralism.
Existential and Humanistic Psychology
Existential psychology attributes psychological problems to feelings of alienation
in modern life. Humanistic psychology emphasizes the goal of reaching one's full
Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes in the broadest sense,
focusing on how people perceive, interpret, store, and retrieve information. Unlike
behaviorists, cognitive psychologists believe that mental processes can and
should be studied scientifically. This view has had a far-reaching impact on
Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary psychology focuses on the functions and adaptive values of various
human behaviors, trying to understand how they have evolved. In this way it
seeks to add a new dimension to psychological research.
The Multiple Perspectives of Psychology Today
Most contemporary psychologists do not adhere to just one school of thought.
They believe that different theories can often complement each other and
together enrich our understandings. (M website)
The Fields of Psychology (M website)
Developmental psychology is concerned with processes of growth and change
over the life course, from the prenatal period through old age and death.
Physiological psychology focuses on the body's neural and chemical systems,
studying how these affect thought and behavior.
Experimental psychology investigates basic psychological processes, such as
learning, memory, sensation, perception, cognition, motivation, and emotion.
Personality psychology looks at differences among people in traits such as
anxiety, aggressiveness, and self-esteem.
Clinical and counseling psychology specializes in diagnosing and treating
psychological disorders, whereas social psychology focuses on how people
influence each other's thoughts and actions.
Industrial and organizational psychology studies problems in the workplace
and other kinds of organizations. (M website)
19th century roots in philosophy and physiology
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) - Among other materials and e-texts are found "A
Critique of Pure Reason", "A Critique of Practical Reason", "A Critique of
Judgment". Kant relates that the empirical skepticism of David Hume caused
him to write his philosophy. His is an empiricism that is directed by the “a priori
categories”, cognitive principles which exist before experience and conform all of
our knowledge. These “faculties” of the mind underlay most of psychological
thought to the present. Kant lived and taught in Konigsberg (right) Germany at
the same time that the eminent composer Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) wrote
his influential music in various locations in Europe.
James McKeen Cattell's (1860-1944) Mental Tests and Measurements (1890,
York University) represents his most important contribution to psychology – the
application of mathematical technique to psychometrics. Cattell was a student of
Wundt and brought the European sense of scientific psychology to the United
States. He added the American motivation of practical use of science to solve
John Dewey’s (1859-1952) The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology, The Ego as
Cause, (York University) and Democracy and Education (Gutenberg) are
representations of this unique thinker’s role in the development of psychology.
Dewey critically reviewed the older psychological explanations and created a
framework within which useful concepts could be applied to help people. Among
Dewey’s contributions are “progressive education” and student centered
James Rowland Angell’s (1869-1949) The Province of Functional Psychology
(York University), Psychology, and Reaction Time (Mead Project) represent the
culmination of “Functionalism”. The “Province” is larger than was conceived in
European psychology and focused on the practical value of concepts and
theories in psychology – a hallmark of American Psychology.
Edward Lee Thorndike’s (1874-1941) Animal Intelligence (York University) was
the beginning of modern “reinforcement theory” in which Thorndike proposes the
“Law of Effect”. The theoretical stage was, thus, set for American Behaviorism.
George Herbert Mead's (1863-1931) The Social Self (1913) (York University)
represents the central idea of this pragmatist thinker. Mead effectively advocates
the inseparable nature of mind and society. This is particularly true in this
interaction manifested in communication.
W.E.B. Dubois’ (1868-1963) The Souls of Black Folk (Gutenberg) established
what he viewed as the principal problem for twentieth century America – “the
color line”. His work is a remarkably astute picture of the psychology of being a
black person in the United States.
Lewis M. Terman's ( 1877-1956) The Uses of Intelligence Tests (1916) (York
University) is an early prescription for the use of intelligence tests in schools and
other institutions. Significantly, he and his students developed the Alpha and
Beta tests which were used in World War I to distribute soldiers into their most
appropriate conditions of service. Controversy continues about this activity but,
arguably, Terman’s work placed the discipline of psychology into its most
culturally influential position ever.
Clark Hull (1884-1952) The Conflicting Psychologies of Learning – A Way Out,
The Concept of the Habit Family Hierarchy and Maze Learning Part 1 and Part 2
(York University) are representative of this significant theorist of the psychology
of learning. Hull was one of the first psychologists to build elegant mathematical
theory based upon careful experimental observation. If a mark of good theory is
testability, Hull’s is great theory. Psychological theorizing was no longer mere
Edward C. Tolman (1886-1959) Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men (York
University) marks the evolution of behavioral technique into excellent theoretical
exposition. Plainly influenced by the German “Gestalt” psychologists, Tolman
proposed a “cognitive map” to explain the empirical fact that behavior can be
modified by altering the circumstances of learning. Learning and behavior are
not the same.
Harry F. Harlow’s (1885-1981) The nature of love (York University) is the
research report on experiments with the nature of tactual stimulation in early
development. Food and other necessities for the continuation of life were well
understood conditioned stimuli and sensual touch was certainly theoretically
explored by the psychoanalysts. However, Harlow demonstrated the salience of
the comforting touch in the early life of primates with clear implications for
Edwin R. Guthrie (1886-1959) Psychological facts and psychological theory
(York University), among other matters, persuasively expanded the ancient “law
of contiguity” in learning theory. No doubt, behaviors recur when they are
associated with reinforcement. Guthrie experimentally demonstrated the detail
by which this principle works. Photographs of cats in controlled learning
situations showed how the precise actions of their whole body was controlled by
the presentation of reinforcement.
Jerome Bruner (1915- ) Value and need as organizing factors in perception
(York University) develops this cognitive psychologist’s view of how people gain
knowledge. Humans establish sets of organizing principles in terms of
perceptual similarities and differences. These categories, in turn, direct the way
we accumulate new knowledge.
Thomas Kuhn (1922- ) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chapter 9,
Marxist Archive)
Thomas Young (1773-1829) represents the advent of modern physical science
in England. Principally know as a physicist, Young also proposed a theory of
color vision that Helmholtz later developed into the “tri-chromatic” theory of color
perception (sometimes called the “Young-Helmholtz” theory). It was proposed
that humans see color as mixtures of three primary colors – red, green, and
blue. This is the underlying means by which color television works.
Charles Bell (1774-1842) was an expert surgeon and contributor to what has
become known as the “neurosciences”. His astute observations resulted in,
among many other findings, the “Bell-Magendie law" (simultaneously discovered
by Francois Magendie)—the demonstration of the motor function of anterior roots
and the sensory function of dorsal roots in spinal nerves.
John Stuart Mill's (1806-1873) Autobiography (McMaster University), On the
Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism (Bjorn’s Guide to Philosophy) are
representative of J. S. Mill’s important work. The Autobiography traces a most
eccentric childhood under the parenting of James Mill, John Stuart’s philosopher
father. J.S. Mill is noted for his theory of “mental chemistry” in which psychology
is analogous to chemical relationships and interactions. The younger Mill was
also an early advocate of women’s rights and other relatively liberal political
doctrines. Finally, he was a major contributor to the Utilitarian movement in
English philosophy which contributed, later, to American Pragmatism and
ultimately to Functional Psychology. The predominant political figure of Mill’s
time was Queen Victoria.
Charles Darwin's (1809-1882) Origin of Species, The Descent of Man and The
Voyage of the Beagle (Knowledge Matters) and The Expression of Emotion in
Man and Animals (Malaspina) are the three monumental theoretical works which
changed psychology as well as the Western world of thought even to today.
Animals, including people, are the result of their abilities to cope with changing
environments; they are “naturally selected” by their abilities to contend with the
environment in which they live. Not only our physical structures but our patterns
of behavior are produced by the inheritance of characteristics which have
succeeded in the survival of our progenitors.
Herbert Spencer's (1820-1903) Man versus the State (1884, McMaster
University) and Laws in General (1864, Marxist Archive) – Spenser became a
principal advocate for evolutionary thinking in psychology even though he argued
against “natural selection”. His work emphasized the evolution of psychological
factors through the inheritance of acquired structure and behavior (“evolutionary
associationism”), instinct and “teleological progressivism” (i.e., evolution
continually works to improve species). His biological speculation was historically
less important than his psychological and political ideas.
Francis Galton (1822-1911) Hereditary talent and character, Statistics of mental
imagery, and History of twins (York University) – Galton, promoting his
conception of Darwin’s (his cousin’s) work, saw Natural Selection as so profound
a force and humanity as so advanced a species that our evolution must be
controlled by society. Thus was created the Eugenics Movement in which
society was to manipulate who should produce children. Galton’s advances in
statistics, generated by his psychological interests, resulted in the mathematics
of correlation and the proposition of “the regression to the mean”: exceptional
parents (above or below average) produce children who tend toward the
Wilhelm Wundt’s (1832-1920) Principles of Physiological Psychology, and
Outlines of Psychology (York University) present a monumental attempt to create
a science. Wundt’s thoroughly experimental work and his development of the
first professional laboratory dedicated to psychological research (1879) earned
this prolific writer the homage of many - “Father of Modern Psychology”.
Following the lead of the physical sciences, Wundt strove to develop an
experimental discovery of the “elements of consciousness” from which the laws
of cognition and perception could be derived. His singular efforts sprouted a new
methodological approach to psychology both through the work of his intellectual
advocates and opponents.
Max Wertheimer’s (1880-1943) Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms
(York University) is a major statement by the founder of “Gestalt” psychology and
predecessor of modern Cognitive psychology. Members of this school worked to
establish holistic approaches to psychology in which systems, as opposed to
analytical elements, were identified as the proper focus of psychological study.
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky’s (1896-1934) Thinking and Speaking (excerpts),
The Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology: A Methodological
Investigation, The Problem of the Cultural Development of the Child, The
Psychology of Art (Andy Blunden) shows this important Russian psychologist’s
perspective on how language, in all of its manifestations, and cognition relate.
Vygotsky relegates perception to a lesser role in the development of mentality
than the development of the use of language.
Different Perspectives and their influence on research and practice
Psychology is not an absolute science and is often referred to as a 'Social
Science' or a 'Soft Science.' This is because it deals with human thoughts,
feelings, and behavior, and as we are all aware, humans are not always
predictable and reliable. Instead, we interact with our environment in ways that
alter how we behave, how we think, and how we feel. Change one thing and the
domino effect can change everything else.
Nevertheless, research plays an extremely important role in psychology.
Research helps us understand what makes people think, feel, and act in certain
ways; allows us to categorize psychological disorders in order to understand the
symptoms and impact on the individual and society; helps us to understand how
intimate relationships, development, schools, family, peers, and religion affect us
as individuals and as a society; and helps us to develop effective treatments to
improve the quality of life of individuals and groups.
In this sense, psychological research is typically used for the following:
Study development and external factors and the role they play on
individuals' mental health
Study people with specific psychological disorders, symptoms, or
Develop tests to measure specific psychological phenomenon
Develop treatment approaches to improve individuals' mental health
Biological Bases of Behavior
(read Morris and use Barrons for review)
Somatic and autonomic nervous systems—M 71-74
Electochemical transmission of impulses—M 49-52
Behavioral genetics on human inheretence—M 78-87
Sensation and Perception
(read Morris for the ear and use Barrons for review:
read Barrons for the other senses)
Absolute and difference thresholds—M 94-96
Physical, physiological and psychological variables affecting thresholds—
M 94-96
Audition—M 110-112
Taste, smell, touch, pain perception, balance/equilibrium—115-123
Anatomy and functions of the ear—M 112-113
Theories of audition—M 114
Sensory disorders (deafness)—M 114
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