Essay about William James’ and the Legacy He Left Behind

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Many people attribute modern psychology to psychologist such as Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner. Though, they were a part of developing modern psychology, many forget to recognize important founders such as William James. According to King, Viney and Woody, James came from a family with a strict father, raised in tolerance. James and his father had many encounters because of their different views. They were a wealthy and cultured family. James attended Harvard, studying a broad spectrum of just about everything. He finally received his medical degree in 1869, but then became depressed and anxious about life. He was not fond of medicine and was then offered to teach a course in the Relations between Psychology and Physiology.…show more content…
“James defined psychology as the study of mental processes but such processes take the psychologist into behavioral, physiological and cultural dimensions” (King, Viney &Woody 2013, p.288). James explored many topics in psychology such as habit, consciousness, the self, emotion and memory. The first part of James psychology was habit, he believed behavior is susceptible to the act of habit. James advised to teachers that habit was the most useful way, education was a behavior and behaviors fall into habits. He merely suggested rules for habit; to move towards a new and better habit, breaking bad habits, consistency and training, and activities, (Brewer 2003, p.36). This area of Jamesian psychology influenced teachers and education. William James speaks about consciousness, in his article The Stream of Thought, that there are five characteristics of thought. First thoughts are part of personal consciousness. Secondly thoughts are always changing, and in process. A third characteristic of thought is that they are continuous rather than divisions or separations. A fourth characteristic James mentions that thoughts are not chosen by the individual but by the mind. Finally thoughts deal with objects independent of itself (p. 245). The topic of thought would later influence Sigmund Freud who explored the unconsciousness. According to Comello in his article Social psychology can thank James for the topic and research in the

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