Foundations of Psychology

771 Words Oct 20th, 2008 4 Pages
Foundations of Psychology
Psychology is an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. There is some tension between scientific psychology (with its program of empirical research) and applied psychology (dealing with a number of areas). Psychologists attempt to explain the mind and brain in the context of real life. In contrast neurologists utilize a physiological approach. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity including issues related to daily life—e.g. family, education, and work—and the treatment of
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The school of thought known as structuralism was initiated by Edward Titchener, one of Wundt 's students. This school of thought was called structuralism because of Titchener 's interest in the structural make up of consciousness. It was Ticthener 's hope to devise a table of the levels, or elements of human consciousness using Wundt 's introspection idea. Ticthener viewed psychology scientifically. He believed that the only way to understand psychology was through experimentation. This eventually led to the idea that sensation and feelings were unscientific because it could not be measured by anyone but the person experiencing it. The second school of thought that was popular in psychology 's beginning was known as functionalism. This school of though focused on the role psychological processes have on helping people adapt to their surroundings. Functionalists believe that "consciousness exists because it serves a function" (Kowalski & Westen, 2005). William James, one of the founders of functionalism, set out to explain why we think the way that we do. These two schools of thought branch out even further to offer assumptions or perspectives on these theories. Psychodynamic, behaviorist, cognitive, and evolutionary perspectives help to expand psychological thinking and guide psychological studied. Psychodynamic and behaviorist perspectives will be covered since the last two are more recent perspectives. Sigmund Freud emphasis was on psychodynamics. His
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