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  1. Psychology
  2. The History of Psychology
  3. Behaviourism
  4. 1.2 The Evolution of Psychology: History, Approaches, and Questions
  5. Psychology and History: Interdisciplinary Explorations

Psychological scientists demonstrated that organisms have innate dispositions and that human brains are distinctively prepared for diverse higher-level mental activities, from language acquisition to mathematics , as well as space perception , thinking, and memory. They also developed and tested diverse theoretical models for conceptualizing mental representations in complex information processing conducted at multiple levels of awareness.

They asked such questions as: How is memory organized? In a related direction, the analysis of visual perception took increasing account of how the features of the environment e.

Concurrently, to investigate personality, individual differences, and social behaviour, a number of theorists made learning theories both more social interpersonal and more cognitive. Research demonstrated the importance of learning through observation from real and symbolic models, showing that it occurs spontaneously and cognitively without requiring any direct reinforcement.

Likewise, studies of the development of self-control and the ability to delay gratification in young children showed that it is crucially important how the situation and the temptations are cognitively appraised: Traditional personality-trait taxonomies continued to describe individuals and types using such terms as introversion-extraversion and sociable-hostile , based on broad trait ratings. Research examined the nature of the consistencies and variability that characterize individuals distinctively across situations and over time and began to identify how different types of individuals respond to different types of psychological situations.

The often surprising findings led to new models of cognitive and affective information-processing systems.



In clinical applications, cognitive-behaviour therapy CBT was developed. CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative, inaccurate, or otherwise maladaptive beliefs and thought patterns through a combination of cognitive and behaviour therapy. It helps people to change how they think and feel about themselves and others.

In time, these cognitive-behavioral treatment innovations, often supplemented with medications, were shown to be useful for treating diverse problems, including disabling fears, self-control difficulties, addictions, and depression. In social psychology, beginning in the early s, social cognition—how people process social information about other people and the self—became a major area of study. Recognizing that much information processing occurs at levels below awareness and proceeds automatically, research turned to the effects of subliminal below awareness stimuli on the activation of diverse kinds of mental representations, emotions, and social behaviours.

Working with a variety of animal species, from mice and birds to higher mammals such as apes, researchers investigated social communication and diverse social behaviours, psychological characteristics, cognitive abilities, and emotions, searching for similarities and differences in comparison with humans. In developmental psychology , investigators identified and analyzed with increasing precision the diverse perceptual, cognitive, and numerical abilities of infants and traced their developmental course, while others focused on life-span development and mental and behavioral changes in the aging process.

Developmental research provided clear evidence that humans, rather than entering the world with a mental blank slate, are extensively prepared for all sorts of cognitive and skill development. At the same time, research also has yielded equally impressive evidence for the plasticity of the human brain and the possibilities for change in the course of development. Late in the 20th century, methods for observing the activity of the living brain were developed that made it possible to explore links between what the brain is doing and psychological phenomena, thus opening a window into the relationship between the mind, brain, and behaviour.

The functioning of the brain enables everything one does, feels, and knows. To examine brain activity, functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI is used to measure the magnetic fields created by the functioning nerve cells in the brain, detecting changes in blood flow. They thus allow a much more precise and detailed analysis of the links between activity in the brain and the mental state a person experiences while responding to different types of stimuli and generating different thoughts and emotions.

These can range, for example, from thoughts and images about what one fears and dreads to those directed at what one craves the most. The result of this technology is a virtual revolution for work that uses the biological level of neural activity to address questions that are of core interest for psychologists working in almost all areas of the discipline.

The advances described above led to the development in the early years of the 21st century of a new, highly popular field: This interdisciplinary field asks questions about topics traditionally of interest to social psychologists, such as person perception, attitude change, and emotion regulation. It does so by using methods traditionally employed by cognitive neuroscientists, such as functional brain imaging and neuropsychological patient analysis.

By integrating the theories and methods of its parent disciplines , SCN tries to understand the interactions between social behaviour, cognition, and brain mechanisms. The term epigenetic is used to describe the dynamic interplay between genes and the environment during the course of development. In contemporary use, the term refers to efforts to explain individual differences in physical as well as behavioral traits e.

Thus, while the genome provides the possibilities, the environment determines which genes become activated. In the early 21st century there emerged evidence for the important role of the environment e. Epigenetic factors may serve as a critical biological link between the experiences of an individual and subsequent individual differences in brain and behaviour, both within and across generations. Epigenetic research points to the pathways through which environmental influence and psychological experiences may be transformed and transmitted at the biological level.

It thus provides another route for the increasingly deep analysis of mind-brain-behaviour links at multiple levels of analysis, from the psychological to the biological. The discoveries and advances of psychological science keep expanding its scope and tools and changing its structure and organization. For most of the 20th century, psychological science consisted of a variety of specialized subfields with little interconnection. They ranged from clinical psychology to the study of individual differences and personality, to social psychology, to industrial-organizational psychology , to community psychology , to the experimental study of such basic processes as memory, thinking, perception and sensation, to animal behaviour , and to physiological psychology.

In larger academic psychology departments, the list got longer. The various subfields, each with its own distinct history and specialized mission, usually were bundled together within academic departments, essentially a loose federation of unrelated disciplines, each with its own training program and research agenda. Late in the 20th century this situation began to change, fueled in part by the rapid growth of developments in cognitive science and social cognitive neuroscience, including the discovery of new methods for studying cognition, emotion, the brain, and genetic influences on mind and behaviour.

In the early years of the 21st century, psychology became an increasingly integrative science at the intersection or hub of diverse other disciplines, from biology , neurology , and economics to sociology and anthropology.

The History of Psychology

Likewise, advances in cognitive neuroscience led to the subfield of neuroeconomics. In another direction, links deepened between psychology and law. This connection reflected new findings in psychology about the nature of human social behaviour, as well as the fallibility of eyewitness testimony in legal trials and the distortions in retrospective memory. Likewise, with recognition of the role of mental processes and self-care behaviour in the maintenance of health, the fields of behavioral medicine and health psychology emerged.

These subfields study links between psychological processes, social behaviour, and health. At the same time, within psychology, old sub-disciplinary boundaries were crossed more freely. Interdisciplinary teams often work on a common problem using different methods and tools that draw on multiple levels of analysis, from the social to the cognitive and to the biological.

An extremely wide range of diverse research methods are used by psychological scientists to pursue their particular goals. To study verbal and nonverbal behaviour and mental processes in humans, these include questionnaires, ratings, self-reports, and case studies; tests of personality, attitudes, and intelligence ; structured interviews; daily diary records; and direct observation and behaviour sampling outside the laboratory.

Diverse laboratory measures are used to study perception, attention , memory, decision making, self-control, delay of gratification , and many other visual, cognitive, and emotional processes, at levels of both conscious and automatic or unconscious information processing.

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The astonishing growth in computational power that began in the final decades of the 20th century transformed research on methods of data analysis in psychology. More-flexible and more-powerful general linear models and mixed models became available. Similarly, for nonexperimental data, multiple regression analysis began to be augmented by structural equation models that allow for chains and webs of interrelationships and for analysis of extremely complex data. The availability of free, fast, and flexible software also began to change teaching in the measurement area.

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History of Psychology, Lecture 1

Consumers are influenced, for example, by their motivation to fulfill a need. In addition, the ways in which an individual acquires and retains information will affect the….

1.2 The Evolution of Psychology: History, Approaches, and Questions

The most important aspect of colour in daily life is probably the one that is least defined and most variable. The device graphs the electrical activity of the brain by means of electrodes attached to the head. Nazi persecution of psychologists After the Nazi party gains control of the government in Germany, scholars and researchers in psychology and psychiatry are persecuted.

Many, including Freud, whose books are banned and burned in public rallies, move to Britain or the United States. AA's group meetings format and step program become the model for many other mutual-support therapeutic groups. Gestalt psychology Kurt Koffka, a founder of the movement, publishes Principles of Gestalt Psychology in Gestalt German for "whole" or "essence" psychology asserts that psychological phenomena must be viewed not as individual elements but as a coherent whole.

By , more than 18, such operations have been performed. The procedure, intended to relieve severe and debilitating psychosis, is controversial. Horney goes on to challenge many of Freud's theories, as have many later psychologists and scholars. Specifically, she questions Freud's theories on the Oedipal Complex and castration anxiety. The Behavior of Organisms B.

Skinner publishes The Behavior of Organisms , introducing the concept of operant conditioning. The work draws widespread attention to behaviorism and inspires laboratory research on conditioning. Electroconvulsive therapy begun Italian psychiatrist and neuropathologist Ugo Cerletti and his associates treat human patients with electrical shocks to alleviate schizophrenia and psychosis.

ECT, while controversial, is proven effective in some cases and is still in use in The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children Anna Freud publishes The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children, introducing basic concepts in the theory and practice of child psychoanalysis. President Harry Truman signs the National Mental Health Act, providing generous funding for psychiatric education and research for the first time in U. First drug to treat depression Studies are published reporting that the drug imipramine may be able to lessen depression. Thorazine tested The anti-psychotic drug chlorpromazine known as Thorazine is tested on a patient in a Paris military hospital.

Approved for use in the United States in , it becomes widely prescribed. Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy Penfield publishes results from his study of the neurology of epilepsy. His mapping of the brain's cortex sets a precedent for the brain-imaging techniques that become critical to biopsychology and cognitive neuroscience.

The Nature of Prejudice Social Psychologist Gordon Allport publishes The Nature of Prejudice , which draws on various approaches in psychology to examine prejudice through different lenses. It is widely read by the general public and influential in establishing psychology's usefulness in understanding social issues. Biopsychology In his studies of epilepsy, neuroscientist Wilder G.

Penfield begins to uncover the relationship between chemical activity in the brain and psychological phenomena. His findings set the stage for widespread research on the biological role in psychological phenomena. Psychopharmacology The development of psychoactive drugs in the s and their approval by the FDA initiates a new form of treatment for mental illness. Among the first such drugs is Doriden, also known as Rorer, an anti-anxiety medication approved in Humanistic Psychology In the wake of psychoanalysis and behaviorism, humanistic psychology emerges as the "third force" in psychology.

Psychology and History: Interdisciplinary Explorations

Led by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, who publishes Motivation and Personality in , this approach centers on the conscious mind, free will, human dignity, and the capacity for self-actualization. Cognitive psychology Inspired by work in mathematics and other disciplines, psychologists begin to focus on cognitive states and processes. Miller's article "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two" on information processing is an early application of the cognitive approach.

Syntactic Structures Noam Chomsky publishes Syntactic Structures , marking a major advancement in the study of linguistics.

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The book helps spawn the field of psycholinguistics, the psychology of language. A similar drug, diazepam Valium , is approved in Kennedy calls for and later signs the Community Mental Health Centers Act, which mandates the construction of community facilities instead of large, regional mental hospitals. Congress ends support for the program in , reducing overall funds and folding them into a mental health block-grant program.

Miller receives the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor given in the United States, for his studies of motivation and learning. He is the first psychologist to be awarded this honor. It is marketed under the trade names Eskalith, Lithonate, and Lithane. The widely used reference manual is revised to state that sexual orientation "does not necessarily constitute a psychiatric disorder. By tracing chemical markers, PET maps brain function in more detail than earlier techniques. Evolutionary psychology Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene, which begins to popularize the idea of evolutionary psychology.

This approach applies principles from evolutionary biology to the structure and function of the human brain. It offers new ways of looking at social phenomena such as aggression and sexual behavior. The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene , a work which shifts focus from the individual animal as the unit of evolution to individual genes themselves. The text popularizes the field of evolutionary psychology, in which knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are applied in research on human brain structure.

Standardized IQ tests found discriminatory The U. District Court finds the use of standardized IQ tests in California public schools illegal. The decision in the case, Larry P. Wilson Riles, upholds the plaintiff's position that the tests discriminate against African American students.

Insanity Defense Reform Act passed U. Congress revises federal law on the insanity defense, partly in response to the acquittal of John Hinckley, Jr. The act places burden of proof for the insanity defense on the defendant. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act provides the first federal funds allocated specifically for the homeless population.

The act includes provisions for mental health services, and responds, in part, to psychological studies on homelessness and mental disorders. The drug, and other similar medications, acts on neurotransmitters, specifically, serotonin. It is widely prescribed and attracts attention and debate.