how did psychology begin?greenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
iwant to how does pschology begin? how? where? who? when? and why?
-- woo wai kuan (email@example.com), May 29, 2001
Hi Woo, psychology begins with Gustave Fechner (1801-1887) when he bridged physiology into psychophysics; in 1860 he published "Elements of Psychophysics." This is thought by some to be the beginning of psychology as an experimental science. The how part is: he conceived of a way to demonstrate the systematic relationship between the physical and metal; he demonstrated this by asking people to self report changes in sensations as a physical stimulus was systematically varied. However, the title of first psychologist is often given to Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920). Some would argue that Fechner was really a physiologist; but I don't know any one who would deny that Wundt was a psychologist. Moreover, it was Wundt who began the first journal devoted to experimental psychology, Psychological Studies, and he opened the first experimental laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879. OK so far? How. Where. Who. When. The why question is tricky, but I think it was William James who thought that for the above to have occured it could only happen among a race of people that couldn't become bored. Now some may hold the above isn't the whole story, and so for a more comprehensive explaination I suggest you read "An Introduction to the History of Psychology" by B.R. Hergenhahn ISBN 0 534 16812 4. This is a very good source for your answers, and you can form your own opinions. Hope I helped. Good luck, David
-- david clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 29, 2001.
I don't know that I agree with David's answer. The origins of psychology are far too complex, to my mind, to be given simple answers about the five w's. Some say it began with Wundt, some with Fechner, some with Descartes, some Aristotle. It really depends on how one closses the term "psychology." Experimental psychology became institutionalized in the 19th century, but there were experiments on perception as far back as the Middle Ages, at least. There empirical work on brain-mind connections in the ancient world. And there has bee speculation on the nature of the psyche back to the very earliest pre-Socratic philosophers. The Hergenhahn text David recommends is good. There are many other such textbooks, however. One I particularly like is Daniel Robinson's _Intellectual History of Psychology_. It covers ancient and medieval periods better than any other. Another interesting account can be found in Roger Smith _Fontana History of the Human Sciences_ (called, I think, the _Norton History..._ in the U.S.). It shows how psychology grew out of a matrix of "human sciences" -- not all on its own.
-- Christopher Green (email@example.com), May 29, 2001.
I would also recommend such texts as Brett's History of Psychology, D. B. Klein's excellent (1970) history, Robert Watson's The Great Psychologists (1963).
-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 12, 2001.