Wundt blames human internal experience as being the problem with psychology along with philosophy as human experience varies between living, emotions, reactions, and a list of many other factors (Wundt 1912; 1-5). With this in mind, Wundt taught structuralism. Breaking down cognition into parts, in a biological standpoint, in order to understand ‘how’ the mind functions. This was the first major step in the psychological sciences field, others do not consider it a science.
Wundt was an avid believer in Aristotle’s words when he said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This expedition explains Wundt’s psychological approach as he tried to dive the conscious mind into its most basic elements in order to achieve understanding. Just like the approach’s definition, it was made into the seed that flourished and branched into other psychological approaches.
After Wundt, views in psychology changed as a psychologist began researching topics, they specialized in. Such being Herman Ebbinghaus who studied human memory capacity. He created a what is now known as a nonsense syllable in which random letters are placed together, in addition, to the participant is told to recite them after they are gone.
It is with Sigmund Freud where things get incomprehensible to most as it is a heavy topic, he, in some ways, represents. The psychoanalytical, or psychodynamic, approach of psychology concentrates on human development. The approach says growth and personally, development comes from conflicts experienced throughout a lifetime (Erdelyi 1985). Even then this approach goes on further as it goes into detail with ideas such as memory, bias, structure, and consciousness.
Freud believed in something he called the subconscious. He expresses that during development if a traumatic experience were to occur, the mind would suppress these memories by placing them into our subconscious. Although the experience does not concisely control one’s life, the mind will drive one into a path it feels is safest. The effects of trauma vary from person to person, furthermore, it is often shown later in life. Furthermore, Freud explained false memories as being created to fill the void of repressed memory. He explained in using the analogy of forgetting someone’s name, moreover, replacing it with another mentally, people do this in order to feel satisfied with knowing something even if that is incorrect (Fraud 1938; 1-14).
In opposition of structuralism, aforementioned, functionalism was created after the previous psychoanalytical approach. Functionalism is based on the ideals of understanding how something works regather then what it is made of. It focuses on the emotional development humans experience based on environmental changes (James 1890; 6-18). This approach was based on the teachings of William James, who believed “…no mental modification ever occurs which is not accompanied or followed by a bodily change.” (James 1890; 6-18). He did not consider himself a functionalist, however, his teachings are similar to what is now as functionalism.
A concept many people relate to psychology is the ability to change someone’s behavior in order to accommodate to some else’s desires. Unbelievably, this is a psychological approach called behaviorism. As its name may suggest, this approach seeks to understand how to change someone’s behavior, or their actions, using two methods (Watson 1970; 3-18).
The first method is as classical conditioning, being introduced a new stimulus to induce the same reaction a natural stimulus does. Ivan Pavlov shows this in his experiment in which involves calling dogs to dinner by ringing a bell. At first, the dogs salivated because of the food presented, after some time, they began to salivate when they heard the bell ring. Pavlov introduces a new stimulus that evokes the same response as the “neutral” stimulus did (Pavlov 1928).
The second Conditioning method is called operant conditioning. With this method, a behavior is being changed based on a punishment or reward system. B. F. Skinner used this method with his infamous box dubbed Skinner’s Box. In this box, there was a lever that, if pushed, would give the rat placed in the box food, therefore, rewarding the rat for pushing the lever. The most effective use of this method is to utilize our basic human desires, being sex, food, thirst, and shelter. Knowing this, Skinner experimented with rats effectively changing their behaviors.
The history of psychology continues until it reaches our current day. Although views of these approaches have changed over time, they were the foundation of what is known today.
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