The History of Psychology

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Introduction: The History of Psychology
Philosophical Background Psychology has no definite, absolute beginning, but there is speculation that early humans were curious about human nature. Serious study of the human psyche began in ancient times, with ancient philosophers began to record their findings and thoughts about behavior and the nature of the human mind. The name ‘psychology ' is from the two Greek roots, psyche and logos, which mean "mind" and "study," respectively. Psychological thought was most influenced by three very well known ancient philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates ' maxim was "know thyself," which was an idea that accentuated the importance of personal reflection and self-examination. "He
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(Nevid 6)
Another great contributor to the field of psychology, and also to the field of philosophy, was a man by the name of William James. He used the method of introspection, but shifted his focus to the functions of behavior. Unlike Wundt and Titchener, James believed that the mind could not be divided up into parts, but should be looked at as a whole. He focused on how behavior helps individuals adapt to the demands placed upon them in the environment. This idea came to be known as functionalism. Typically, structuralists concerned themselves with the mental structures of the mind, whereas functionalists focused on the functions of mental processes. "[They] examined the roles or functions that underlie our mental processes—why we do what we do" (Nevid 7).
James, as aforementioned, was intrigued by Darwin 's theory of evolution. James believed that adaptive behaviors were most likely the ones to survive, and less useful behaviors were the ones that would die out and disappear. Another idea that James was concerned with was the stream of consciousness. He wanted to study the ever-flowing ‘stream ' of thoughts that flow endlessly through our conscious mind.
Max Wertheimer was a young psychologist who created a new movement in psychology known as Gestalt psychology. The study of Gestalt psychology revolves around the ways in which the brain organizes and structures our

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