Modern Psychology : The Scientific Study Of Mind And Behaviour

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The following essay will focus on the emergence of modern psychology, presently understood to be the “scientific study of mind and behaviour”. Philosophy and experimental physiology have been influential in creating a favourable zeitgeist that ultimately allowed for the transformation of an ancient discipline into the scientific study of the mind.

It was 1879 before psychology officially became a science. Previously philosophers endeavoured to understand human nature and the links between the body and the mind - formerly referred to as the soul. In fact, the main concerns of today 's psychology, reflect themes that intrigued humanity for thousands of years. “Psychology has a long past but a short history” (Ebbinghaus, 1908). Therefore
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His contribution has seen him labelled by some as the founder of modern psychology (Prado, 2009).

During the 17TH century under the encouragement of Descartes, one of the most influential rationalists of this period, interactions of the body and mind provoked multitudinous debates. Descartes accepted dualism, the metaphysical stance that mind and body are essentially separate entities, two distinct substances with different natures that interact, mutually influencing one another. The body being mortal, a machine that followed mechanical laws whereas, the mind was immortal, a spiritual being.

Descartes theory, the pineal gland is a unique organ situated in the centre of the brain, where all thoughts are processed (Berhouma, 2013). Thought to be mechanical like in their interaction, the mind would accept impressions from the eyes and ears; they would unite in the pineal gland to be considered by the soul, here they would influence the body, for instance, generating the body to move. Whereas the body would create impressions on the pineal gland through nerves, for example, touch, shaping the mind to produce sensations (Mehta, 2001). Descartes believed the mind created two types of ideas, derived and innate, those resulting from external stimuli (sensory experience) and those from consciousness.

The acceptance of
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