History & Evolution of Psychology
Major Periods in World History Relative to the Evolution of the Field of Psychology
Developed by psychology students--A. Jacobsen, R. Zartman, & H. Ashfaq
Psychology evolved from philosophy, science, medicine and theology. Psychology evolved out of a coalescence of natural science and the branch of philosophy known as epistemology or the theory of knowledge.
In the beginning, psychology was a 3-way synthesis of physics, physiology and mental philosophy.
The roots of psychology go back to Egypt and the Egyptian mystery system.
Early psychology focused on measuring and understanding the mind.
Later psychology focused on measuring and understanding behavior.
Observation and interpretation of data were the business of the philosopher.
Beginning with the Ancient Greeks, philosophers learned a great deal about the world around them, and attempted to arrange their learning in an orderly way, and speculated on its meaning.
As philosophers increased their knowledge, they developed specialties within the field of philosophy.
Psychology was housed under philosophy as "Mental Philosophy"
which was concerned with psychological principles. The other specialties under philosophy were "Natural Philosophy"
which dealt with the areas of physics, chemistry and the natural sciences; and "Moral Philosophy"
which dealt with the social sciences and ethical considerations.
Once you become familiar with the history of psychology, you will see that psychology and knowledge in general has evolved as man has evolved -- both in consciousness and intellect or knowledge.
Psychology did not become an independent discipline separate from philosophy until the late 19th century.
The search for knowledge was the quest of the early philosopher scientists -- the desire to know
. Psychology was interwoven in early science and philosophy.
I. ANCIENT EGYPT (664BC-554BC)
Egypt was known for its Egyptian Mystery System or set of secret doctrines, since knowledge was power in those days. Only the privileged few had access to knowledge and they kept this knowledge secret and passed most of it on in secret societies.
The Egyptians are also reported to have been prolific writers, but few knew how to translate their writing system of Hieroglyphics
. It has only been in recent decades that Egyptologists were able to understand the early writings.
A great philosophical text developed by an Egyptian scholar is The Kybalion - written by Hermes Trismegistus. It is considered the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt and Greece. Trismegistus was known as the "scribe of the gods." He was also known as the father of the occult wisdom, the founder of astrology and the discoverer of alchemy.
The Egyptians deified Hermes, and made him one of their gods, under the name of Thoth. Years later, the people of Ancient Greece also made him one of their many gods, calling him "Hermes, the god of Wisdom."
is described as the fundamental and basic teachings embedded in the esoteric teachings of every race. It is claimed that even the most basic teachings in India, Persia, China, Japan, Assyria, and Rome; as well as other ancient countries, have their roots in the original hermetic teachings.
The earliest scientific knowledge came from the Egyptians-although there exists almost no written records of their scientific contributions until recently with the work and study of Egyptologists and their success at understanding hieroglyphics, the ancient writing system of the Egyptians, along with Coptic writing. In most philosophy and history of psychology textbooks, you will see credit being given solely to the Greeks.
Three such works that document through careful research and study the contributions of Egyptians to science and philosophy are:
1. Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James (1954). San Francisco: Julian Richardson Associates.
2. From Ancient Africa to Ancient Greece: An Introduction to the History of Philosophy by Dr. Henry
Olela (1981). Atlanta, GA: The Select Publishing Corporation.
3. Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (The Fabrication of Ancient Greece-
1785-1985, Volume 1), by Martin Bernal (1987). New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
According to the first two scholars, there is evidence that Egyptians laid the foundation for scientific knowledge. Further, they indicate that much of Greek knowledge was borrowed from Egypt; especially after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, and the seizure and looting of the Royal Library at Alexandria.
According to Bernal (1987), Greece had a distinctive and mixed culture, with much learned and practiced from the Egyptians; and many lived in Greece with Egyptian ancestry. The Greek religion also is reported to have a largely Egyptian base.
Further, it is known, that many of the early Greek philosophers studied in Egypt and brought back interpretations of their knowledge to Greece. Namely, Thales, (a physicist) who was the first to go into Egypt and bring back scientific knowledge into Greece. Also, Pythagoras, a pupil of Thales who studied in Egypt and Babylon. Pythagoras was a musician and mathematician. He studied for 34 years. Pythagoras like Euclid is given credit for what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem -- first formulated by Thales.
Therefore, the history of psychology begins with ancient Egypt.
II. ANCIENT GREEK PERIOD (500BC-300BC)
In Greek mythology there were four Ages of Man: The Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron (or Heroic) ages.
The Gods and Goddesses were: Poseidon (Sea); Apollo (Sun); Hera & Zeus (Heaven); Athene (Wisdom); Hermes (Messenger); Artemis (Hunting); and, Aphrodite (Love).
The early Greeks had a tremendous confidence in their superior ability for reasoning.They also used naturalistic observations to derive at theories and hypotheses.
Their reasoning was called rationalism
- the search for the essence of things. (Now known as the deductive method). They saw the world as a macrocosm
and man as a microcosm
Among scientists contributing to psychology were:
-Heraclitus - sought to discover the nature of knowledge and the essence of things. He believed all people possess "logos" or the ability to reason, but do not make use of it. He believed the key to understanding was introspection.
-Thales - was the first known Greek philosopher, physicist and mathematician. He is credited with 5 theorems of geometry. He predicted an eclipse of the sun in 585 BC. He also concluded that water is the original substance from which all other things come--earth, air, and living things. His contributions to psychology were his discussion of the nature of matter.
-Pythagoras was a pupil of Thales. He was a mathematician and philsopher and born on the Island of Samos. He died in southern Italy, then called Magna Graecia. Pythagoras was the son of a jeweler named Mnesarchus and his beautiful wife Pythais.He developed the label "philosopher" and was the first to call himself a philosoper--lover of knowledge. It happended one day, when Leon, tyrant of Philous, asked Pythagoras who he was and what he did for a living. He answered: "I am a philosopher," thereby coining the word. He is given credit for the Pythagorean theory, although many other scholars are reported to have made the discovery before him. For Pythagoras, numbers had a spiritual meaning. Coming from Greece, where education consisted of music and gymnastics, where perfecting the body meant adherence to a rigorous diet and lifestyle, Pythagoras followed an orderly, ascetic lifestyle. Such orderly arrangements Pythagoras saw in human society as well as in the universe. Pythagoras believed the body was a container for the soul whose object was eventually to purify itself so it could become free of the body. Meanwhile, human shortcomings resulted in climbing backwards down what was called the evolutionary scale in each successive re-incarnation.
-Democritus - Was a member of the school of thought called atomism, a theory that held that the things of the physical world were made up of an infinite number of absolute units called atoms. According to Democritus, being is as existent as non-being. Being is indivisible matter, the atom which cannot be split. Many atoms exist which are interconnected in various ways, obeying purely mechanical laws and forming miscellaneous beings that are known to us. All the things that we perceive are due to the interaction of these atoms with the sensory receptors. Democritus notions of the universe laid the foundation for progress in scientific research. He said: "similarity creates friendship."
-Alcmaeon - Was a physician. Investigated the basis for knowledge. Was the first to define the difference between man and animals, saying that man differs from the latter in the fact that he alone has the power of understanding. He recognized the brain as the seat of consciousness and called it the soul. He believed that the brain not only received perceptions of vision, audition, and olfaction, but was also the seat of thought. He performed dissections of human bodies for research purposes. He believed that health and disease are matters of equilibrium, with health being a balance and disease, a rupture of that balance. He developed the two aspect theory of the soul.
-Hippocrates - Known as the father of ancient medicine. He developed the Hippocratic oath, which is still used by the medical profession today. He developed the theory of humors, which as a theory of disease was later expanded by Galen to include the impact on temperament. According to Hippocrates, a disease of an individual is a disturbance of the harmony of the elements as manifested in the humors. He agreed with Alcmaeon that cures depend on restoration of the disturbed harmony. The Hippocratic School was the first to relate brain to the conscious life in its entirety, including the emotions.
-Socrates -Induction; One of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of antiquity. He devoted his life and work to moral philosophy and to the search for moral good, virtue and justice. The main method he used was dialectics (the method of seeking knowledge by question and answer) by which he tried to teach men how ignorant they were and to help them know themselves. His contribution to philosophy was highly significant, especially because in Socrates, it is not the heavenly bodies, earth, clouds, etc., that were of value but the universe of the human soul. He was found guilty, and sentenced to death, by a jury of his Athenian peers for corrupting the young and not acknowledging the gods of the city.
-Plato - Wrote the Republic. Duality of the Psyche. Plato was author of some 31 philosophical dialogues, and founder, in 387, of the Academy, in Athens. He was considered one of the most significant thinkers of antiquity. Plato, despite his aristocratic origin and his parents' plans for his political or petic career, devoted his life to philosophy, first as a devoted pupil of Socrates, and later by founding his own school of philosophy, the Academy. Plato held far-reaching views on the creation of the world, which have been preserved in the dialogue Timaeus, while his work the Republic, is perhaps the world's most important political science text.
Plato defined 3 aspects of the psyche--reason, feeling and appetite. He also wrote about the duality of the psyche and the relationship between mind and body. He believed the action of the humors of the body affects one's mental state. Madness and ignorance for Plato were diseases of the mind brought about by the body. He also discussed sense perception. He believed that excessive pain and pleasure are the greatest diseases of the mind. He indicated that people in great joy or great pain cannot reason properly. Hence, sense perception, desire, feeling and appetite are products of the body and are at war with the mind. This is similar to Freud's notions about the id, ego and superego.
Plato also delved into the realms of neuroscience. He believed that the seat of the psyche and its aspects (reason, feeling and appetite) reside in the cerebrospinal marrow. The immortal (rational) aspect has a separate place in the brain; the mortal (irrational) aspects of feeling and appetite are located in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The heart serves as an advance post of the immortal part when wrong is committed; the heart can be stimulated to anger and these emotions (of anger) can be carried by the blood vessels to all parts of the body. He believed that the blood vessels serve as the means for conveying sensations through the body. He also believed that the psyche itself is immortal, but some of the functions it assumes when connected to the body are not (Watson, p. 59).
Plato used storytelling and literature to illustrate points about the psyche, as did Homer. In his story of the charioteer in Phaedrus, Plato likened the human being to a chariot team.
"[As part of the team] there is a powerful, unrully horse intent on having its own way at all costs (appetite). The other horse is a thoroughbred, spirited but manageable (spirit). On catching sight of his beloved, the charioteer (reason) attempts with some difficulty to direct the two horses toward the goal, which he alone (not they) can comprehend." (Watson, p.62)
This is an illustration of Plato's theory about conflict based on reason,emotion and drive.
Plato also made early contributions to motivational psychology with his delineation of the drive characteristics of the psyche--that drives have a striving toward attainment of a goal and an affective coloring of pleasure and pain.
In Plato's Symposium, he presents a dialogue on the meaning of Eros or love, in which each participant offers their interpretations. He discusses 2 kinds of love: profane and sacred. The first is concerned with the body and the second with the psyche, mind and character. Physical sexual desire is not merely concerned with sex, but a masked deisre for parenthood, an attempt to perpetuate oneself. Plato believed this passion for physical parenthood was the most rudimentary fruition of the good and the eternal. He also believed that only higher love could lead to happiness. For Plato, the love of wisdom is the highest form of love. Love can be equated with life force, as it is akin to the biological will to live and the life energy.
Many scholars have used Plato's notions to draw conclusions about human nature. Freud's notions about the personality being dependent on the id, ego and superego are similar to Plato's 3 aspects of the psyche. Carl Jung's notions about the libido and its general nonspecialized drive character seem to stem from the early drive theories of Plato. Evolutionary psychologists discuss humans' need to reproduce copies of themselves and their gene pool. In the psychology of emotion and social psychology, psychologists have studied and outlined the different forms of love. Personality psychologists define the core form of energy residing in man, most frequently, as "psychic energy." The field of energy medicine discusses the relationship of energy centers in the body to the mental state and nature of humans.
-Aristotle - De Anima, first book to treat psychology as a systematic philosophy. Developed notions about the psyche. Founded philosophical psychology. Studied with Plato 20 years. After Plato's nephew, Speusippus, is named the head of the Academy, Aristotle leaves Athens, but later returns, to found his own school, the Lyceum, in 335 BC. Although he, too, wrote philosophical dialogues, only a few fragments have come down to us. His surviving writings exist in the form of treatises. Was considered the father of modern scientific thought, he was also Alexander's tutor.
Aristotle was the greatest systematic philosopher of antiquity. He was the first to philosophise on the basis of science. Because of his great knowledge, especially in the physical sciences, he became known in history as a "panepistimon" or man of all sciences. Aristotle developed the dialectical method in logic, not in the Socratic sense of the dialogue but as a process consisting of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which then becomes the new thesis.
-Theophrastus - study of botany, treatise on physiological psychology (on the senses), a collection of personality sketches (characters);
-Galen - influenced medicine with his theory of humors. Was a practitioner. Integrated anatomy and physiology.
-Homer-(applied psychology). "Nothing is sweeter than home." Is considered the greatest of the epic poets. Homer was a psycho-historian. Wrote two great epic masterpieces, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
-Sophocles- "Tis not my nature to join in hating, but in loving." A major tragic poet of the 5th century BC. The Athenian audiences responded enthusiastically to his emergence as his work was animated by serenity and was therefore most appropriate to meet the requirements of an audience enjoying the triumphs of Athens. He brought about many innovations in the art of dramaturgy.
The Greeks regarded the soul as the source of consciousness and life.
They developed a 2-aspect theory of the soul: 1) Thymos
- aspect involved in thought and emotion and perishes with the body; and 2) Psyche
- aspect considered immortal. Psychology was derived from this aspect.
Early scientific and philosophical thought was primarily qualitative. Quantitative analyses were scarce--Thales, Euclid and Pythagoras used quantification.
Reason and observation, unaided by instruments, were the methods by which the majority of the first scientific knowledge was derived.
Two branches of Greek thought then contributed to the development of modern science: Cosmology and rationalism.
a) Cosmology = the study of the universe or cosmos --- how it originated, its structure and evolution.
(Major contributor-- Democritus (460-370 BC) postulated the atomic theory of the universe).
b) Rationalism--used reason. Now known as the deductive method or the hypothetico-deductive
methods, by means of which scientists attempt to postulate a rational set of assumptions to be tested by experiment.
In summary, the Greeks recognized the significance of what has become four important stages in the scientific method:
a) Naturalistic observation;
b) Analysis and classification of natural phenomena into meaningful descriptive categories;
c) Formulation of hypotheses of cause and effect on the basis of such analyses; and,
d) Value of quantitative methods (Euclid and Pythagoras).
III. GRAECO-ROMAN PERIOD (100BC-500AD)
Wisdom for the conduct of life.
Knowledge derived from the Greeks.
Increased separation of science and philosophy.
IV. HELLENISTIC AND ROMAN PERIODS (300-100 BC & 100BC-500AD)
Progress made by men who stood in the shadow of Aristotle, e.g., Theophrastus (372 BC-) and Galen. Psychology was most advanced by Theophrastus.
The Hellenistic period is often referred to as the twilight of Greek thinking
It is also the period in which a decline in intellectualism began in the Mediterranean and Alexandria.
Psychology is still a branch of philosophy.
Greek science extended over a period of 800 years. It began with the earliest philosopher/scientists of the sixth century BC and continued to the 2nd or 3rd century of the Christian era.
Some of Aristotle's students begin to make significant contributions to psychology (e.g., Theophrastus
Greek scientific thought transmitted to the Arabs.
V. THE PATRISTIC PERIOD (200AD-500AD)
Known as the period of the church fathers--and devoted to the formation of Christian Orthodoxy.
Influentials included Origen, Plotinus, and St. Augustine.
The church and Christianity influenced psychology - especially the teachings of Jesus as taught to theologians by Origen.
[Origen was one of the intellectual theologians and leaders of the church. He believed that philosophy and science are compatible with the church.]
Period focused on dualism of mind and body and supernaturalism -- or that which was beyond nature. Supernaturalism led a preoccupation with the world to come rather than the world as it exists.
Important contributors include:
-Plotinus - an Egyptian, who moved to Rome. He talked about a mystical reunion with the world soul and development of the individual toward perfection.
-Augustine - Addressed unity and conflict. He was consulted on all psychological matters. He believed that a major source of knowledge of self was by means of reflection, a form of meditation by which we can come to know our soul. Augustine believed that miracles are simply unusual occurrences and require no more and no less explanation than any other event. If they were not rare, they would not cause surprise.
VI. THE MIDDLE AGES (500AD-900AD)
The early part of the period was referred to as the Dark Ages due to the halt of scientific advancement, misgovernment, civil wars, barbarian people, discord, and the dismantling of the monetary system. There was top heavy bureaucracies, civil wars, and barbarian peoples in some areas. The uniformity of Roman law gave way to a maze of discordant local customs. The universal monetary system of the Romans also disappeared.
There were chaotic systems of government and low standards of living. Also, there was widespread illiteracy. Science and culture suffered during this period. In some areas religious scholarship survived.
There were no psychological advance made during this period; and very little interest in Psychology. The works of Aristotle and Plato were even lost.
Islam was developed during this period. Islam means "surrender to God." The followers were known as Muslims. Sicily and Spain came under the domination of Islam. Hellenic civilization also merged into Muslim culture.
The birth of Islam and the Muslim faith occurred in the middle part of the Middle Ages. Muslims assumed positions of leadership in government, the military and religious affairs.
Universities did not come into real prominence until the 13th century. They came into being with the expansion of knowledge. For example, youth in the 11th century entered monasteries; youth in the 13th century attended universities.
Universities began to emerge toward the latter part of the Middle Ages -- the University of Bologna, University of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
The curricula included art, natural ethics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, law and medicine.
During this period, Arabic scholars also had added valuable observations in medicine and had added a variety of new perspectives to philosophy.
Translations included religious, philosophical, medical, science -- such as optics, geology and math.
Introduction of these texts and translations divided the middle ages into what can be known as 2 distinct periods: a) the early middle ages, without the benefits and knowledge; and, b) the later middle ages, with ancient knowledge and science restored.
St. Thomas Aquinas
wrote the "Summa Contra Theologica"
, an introduction to Christian theology. (Click on the hyper link or go to lessons above to find an overview of the life and works of Aquinas)
. He was also author of commentaries on Aristotle and various books of the Bible.
A reawakening of knowledge occurred in the late middle ages.
VII. THE RENAISSANCE (1450-1800 AD)
A period of general and literary enrichment. Also called the Age of Reason. This period was a scientific and philosophical movement which started in France and took hold in Britain and Germany. Its new ideas about human progress through science and reason strongly influenced the revolutionary leaders in America and France.
Called the "Enlightenment,"
or Age of Reason. Was a scientific and philosophical movement which started in France and took hold in Britain and Germany. Its new ideas about human progress through science and reason strongly influenced the revolutionary leaders in America and France.
Scientists of the Enlightenment were very keen to find out about the world, nature, chemistry, and physics.
Renaissance men were discovering ancient geography through translations of ancient manuscripts.
There was development of a new education with a new curriculum.
The field of psychology was broadened.
Voyages and discoveries of the world took place (Columbus, Diaz, daGama
, and, the captains of Prince Henry the Navigator
). The world was enlarged.
This period included such scholars as: Leonardo da Vinci -
- an artist, engineer and geologist, painted the famous Mona Lisa
-founded modern botany and zoology and classified plants and animals into groups; Lavoisier
- proved that air consists of oxygen and nitrogen and also made the first table of chemical elements; Benjamin Franklin
was both a statesman and a man of science. He studied electricity and used a key on a kite string to act as a lightning conductor; he also invented a stove and bifocal glasses; Mozart
was a child genius and the most brilliant composer of his day. Scheele
discovered oxygen; Cavendish
discovered hydrogen; Rutherford
discovered nitrogen; Fahrenheit
invented a mercury thermometer, Celsius
invented a centigrade thermometer; Luigi Galvani
discovered contact electricity. Also the French Montgolfier
brothers made the first ascent in a hot-air balloon.
The Romantic movement followed the Enlightenment, and it affected revolutionary politics in Europe as well as its arts. Two leading figures in the movement were the composer Beethoven and Goethe, the poet.
made significant contributions bordering the Renaissance period and the modern period. He decided that the point of interchange between the mind and body is the pineal gland,
located at the base of the cerebrum. He also described in detail, the nervous system and was considered the father of modern philosophy by existentialists. Descartes also was considered a leader in the development of mathematics, and laid the foundation for analytic geometry and contributed to modern algebra. Was author of: The Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason; Searching Truth in the Sciences
; and the Meditations on First Philosophy.
VIII. MODERN PERIOD (16TH-17TH Century)
The emphasis was on methodology, science and mathematics. Also know as the "Scientific Revolution."
Influential scientists included Sir Francis Bacon, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, William Harvey, Napier.
Sir Francis Bacon
was one of the first men to study nature by using scientific observation. Developed an empirical methodology and inductive reasoning. It is reported that he translated the first King James version of the Bible and was the true writer of Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature. Was considered the first English essayist. It is also reported that he secretly laid the groundwork for the establishment of the United States of America.
-In his works Novum Organum, Advancement of Learning, and New Atlantis, Bacon outlined his views of
what science should become. He proposed drastic changes in scientific procedure.
-He died from a chill after stuffing a fowl with snow. He was studying refrigeration.
was the first to turn a telescope to the skies to map the galaxy. He provided evidence that the earth was not the fixed center of the universe, but that it and all the other planets revolved around the sun.
Galileo also observed the moon's "seas" and mountains, the planets and the stars of the Milky Way. His studies included the laws of "falling bodies" using experiments and mathematics. He studied the pendulum and designed a clock.
conducted experiments and microscopic observations that proved that the blood circulates around the body.
laid the foundations of modern science. He worked on mathematical calculus, light and gravity and invented his own reflecting telescope. He worked out laws on gravity and how things move, using observation and mathematics. He found out that white light was made up of a rainbow, or "spectrum," of colored light.
a Scottish mathematician invented logarithms. He invented a calculating system using rods of bone.
IX. BRITISH EMPIRICISM (17th & 18th Century)
Empiricism became a viable alternative to rationalism. Focused primarily on associationism - the ways in which mental events are connected.
They accepted the Baconian proposition that science must start from observations that are collected carefully and from which cautious generalizations are made.
Empiricism places the origin of mind in sensation and explains the higher mental processes such as memory, thinking and imagination as complexes of persistent impressions held together by associations. Associations exist due to certain conditions that were present at the time of the impression such as repetition and contiguity.
They believed that mind is built from sensory experiences (sense); these experiences provide elemental ideas or memories which come together to form complex ideas by virtue of association.
Thus, the field of psychology was becoming more empirical and moving away from rationalism during the British empirical system.
Some noted scientists included:
-- Thomas Hobbes- 1588-1679- first British empiricist. He explained memory and imagination as decaying
sense impressions held together by association;
-- John Locke- 1632-1704 - extended Hobbes principles, developed the first completely worked out empirical
theory of knowledge and Tabula Rasa - the mind is blank at birth;
-- George Berkeley-1685-1753- talked about mentalism--that mental aspects of life are paramount and that
only reality is mind. He developed a theory of vision and depth and space perception;
-- David Hume (1711-1776) - the mind is only a name given to the flow of ideas, memories, imagination and
feelings. Published Treatise on Human Nature and An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding;
-- David Hartley- 1705-1757 - Considered physiology and psychology to be associational. Published
Observations of Man in 1749 and believed in tabula rasa-the mind is blank at birth;
--James and John Stuart Mills - sensation and ideas are primary material of the mind.
--James Mills (1773-1836)- considered the greatest associationist; believed that sensations and ideas are
primary material of the mind. He wrote Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind.
--John Stuart Mills (1806-1873) - wrote Logic; believed that the "whole is more than the sum of its parts."
Elements may generate complex ideas, but the ideas generated are not merely the sum of the individual
X. EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (1800s TO 1870s)
Advanced initially by German psychologists (Wundt and others).
They believed that an experiment was a way of testing a theory. Instead of passively observing nature, experimenters actively interfere in natural phenomena. The goal of an experiment is to put nature to question.
During this period great strides were being made in the understanding of the nervous system.
Physiologists were moving closer to psychology. This was the beginning of the development of physiological psychology.
Physiology became an experimental discipline in the 1830s. Physiology emerging in the 19th century influenced psychologists to turn their attention to searching for neural mechanisms underlying behavior.
This was the beginning of the development of neurology and brain functioning.
This was the beginning of the development of psychophysics.
Many of the Americans interested in psychology studied in Germany with the German psychologists; among them William James and Edward Titchener.
XI. FRENCH PSYCHOLOGY (Late 18th to Early 19th Century)
Advanced the study of Psychopathology and Intelligence. Just before the beginning of the 19th century, France became the first country to begin to develop adequate care for the insane and the feeble-minded. French psychologists focused on psychopathological behavior. Contributed to the development of pathological psychology.
Included scientists such as:
--Jean Itard - 1775-1838- began work with the feebleminded. Was the pioneer in the systematic study of
--Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) - began work on "mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"-now known as
--Jean Charcot (1825-1893) - often referred to as the father of neurology; Sigmund Freud was a pupil of
Charcot and lived and studied with him in France for a while;
--Alfred Binet - studied intelligence and constructed the first intelligence test.
XII. FUNCTIONALISM IN AMERICA (19th Century)
Considered the first truly American system of psychology.
called the founder of modern psychology. Developed a functional psychology which included the study of consciousness. Was considered the leading American forerunner of functionalism, with his 2-volume work, The Principles of Psychology,
(1890). His functional psychology included the study of consciousness as an ongoing process or stream.
The focus was on the study of mind
and the function of thought.
Functionalism's primary interest was the study of mind as it functions in adapting the organism to its environment.
Today's psychology is said to be functionalistic because of its emphasis on learning, intelligence, testing, perception and other functional processes.
Other Psychologists Contributions to Psychology Worldwide
Please download here:
Overview of Great Psychologists Worldwide-A Historical Chronology.
This handout includes other psychologists from other parts of the world that have also made a contribution to the discipline of psychology.
Bernal, Martin (1987). Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (The Fabrication of Ancient Greece-1785-1985, Volume 1).
New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
James, George G. M. (1954). Stolen Legacy. San Francisco: Julian Richardson Associates.
Olela, Henry (1981). From Ancient Africa to Ancient Greece: An Introduction to the History of Philosophy. Atlanta, GA:
The Select Publishing Corporation.
Sahakian, William S. History and Systems of Psychology. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1975.
Watson, Robert I. and Rand B. Evans. (1991). The Great Psychologists: A History of Psychological Thought. Harper Collins Publishers.
Written by Rosalyn M. King, Ed.D.-All Rights Reserved-King's Psychology Network
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