Introduction to Psychology
a) Describe how Psychology differs from philosophy and how it developed into a unique discipline. Also, evaluate the significance of differing perspectives in Psychology.
Psychology involves the study of human and animal behaviour, experiences and the mind. The study is carried out using many techniques and it is examined from many perspectives. Most of the techniques emphesize the importance of experimental evidence in support of explanatory theory.
Philosophy of science is involved with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science. The system is broad with ideas and beliefs about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in. The history of the modern sciences begins with philosophical inquiries, and the scientific method of experimentation and proof remains an instance of the general approach that a philosopher tries to bring to a question – one that is logical and rigorous.
The differences between Psychology and Philosophy are –
|Psychology |Philosophy |
|is the study of the mind / behaviour |is the study of knowledge in general |
| | |
Psychology is the science of behavior and the mind. The study of psychology provides an understanding of basic processes of sensation, ... to better prepare students for advanced training in psychology, medicine, cognitive science, neuroscience, and other related disciplines.The B. ... provides them with both a major in psychology and the background in science (biology, chemistry, mathematics) that is ...
|(comes from the Greek psychos = soul/spirit) |(comes from the Greek philos = love and sophia = wisdom) |
I believe that psychology limits philosophy because psychology sets the boundaries within which philosophy can range. The more a persons psychological understanding of life is limited, similerly the authentic range of his philosophy will also be narrow. With insufficient understanding of life, the thinker is reliant on his imagination and prejudice when trying to stretch his ideas to fit aspects of reality that he has never experienced.
Looking from an angle that highlights the qualitative features of life we will notice that philosophy provides most of the foundation and psychology provides much of the content. The essence of philosophy to determine a qualitative approach to life relies on its analysis of psychology thus this allows the individual to create himself within the context of his historical bearings.
Until 1879 psychology was a branch of philosophy, its first developers were Wilhelm Wundt, William James and Herman Ebignhams. It is the work of several philosphers and scientists that strongly influenced the development of psychology, who established the phylosophical and scientific assumptions that would make psychology an individual discipline. The main individuals who greatly influenced this, were philosophers – Descartes, Locke and scientist Charles Darwin.
René Descartes (1596 – 1650) put forward the idea known as Cartesian Dualism, meaning that the mind and body are seperate and do not depend on eachother. This formed the basis of the Wester medical thinking, however it is only recently that we have started to take this idea seriously, that the mind and body are actually probably more linked than Descartes thought.
John Locke (1963 – 1704) strongly argued his beliefs in the idea known as Emperisim, that all knowledge was received through our senses and that humans did not inherit knowledge or insticnts. This idea argued that internal processes such as thinking, were unobservalble and unimportant. There were only reactions to external stimulations and if they were significant they would demonstrate this by influencing the behaviour.
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Charles Darwins theory of evolution exerted a powerful influence on psychology and the rest of science in 1859. the theory favors that environmental demands appear in a continues process of development of species as animals gradually adapt to them.
Wilhelm Wundt, a German scientist founded the first laboratory which was to focus on the psychological research in Leipzig, Germany. It is from here that the different schools of thought emerged in psychology:
School of Structuralism, Funtionalism, Psychoanalytic School of Thought, Gestalt school of psychology, Behavioural school of psychology, Humanistic school of psychology.
|Different perpectives in psychology |
The different schools of thought determine human nature and behaviour patterns that have caused a rise to many theoretical perspectives of psychology. Each perspective tries to examine the complicated human mind in distinct methods. It applies a variety of different techniques of analysis to the human mind and brain in order to unvail appealing facts about the variety in human personalities.
Psychology mainly consists of three comprehensive categories – the cognitive, the conative and the affective.
A cognitive theory defines behavior in the flow of information. Cognitive science is used in order to analyze how the brain in able to processes information. It focuses on understanding the surroundings and making sense of it, this is cognition. Each individual human has their own specific way of handleing the information.
The other significant perspective is biological. It deals with examining the connection between physiology and psychology. The behavioral sequences have altered with the evolution of human brain. The complexity of the nervous system in animals show the close bond between the brain development and psychology. Similarly, the evolutionary perspective of psychology focuses on the link between evolution and psychology. According to this theoretical perspective, mental processes exist as they enable evolution and help the survival.
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Psychoanaltytic is yet another significant perspective of psychology. Sigmund Freud proposed the concept of psychoanalytic. He propossed that psychological processes are in fact the flows of psychological energy in the brain. This perspective particualry deals with the study of the bond between the personality and the mind, It concentrates on the conscious and the unconscious parts of the human mind. According to Freud, ego lies at the core of all the psychological processes and that the human behavior mirrors the emotional processes active in a person’s mind.
The learning perspective of psychology is also known as behaviorism. It suggests that all the things which organisms do are their behaviors. This perspective, regards thinking and feeling as behaviors – B.F. Skinner, a theorist in behaviorism is best known for his radical behaviorism. The theory of radical behaviorism claims that animal and human behaviors are comparable and that the science of behavior is a natural science. It believes that one’s environment highly influences the person’s behavior. Skinner said that human beings could generate linguistic stimuli, which would then guide their behavior. His theory focused on the instructional control over human behavior. Behaviorism dominated during the 19th century after which the cognitive perspective of psychology overtook it.
In response to psyanalytic and behaviorism, the Humanistic psychology evolved in the 1950s. Theorists who dealt with this perspective of psychology desired to comprehend the meanings of human behavior. They argued that the understanding of human behavior is personal and subjective. Human behavior is the result of the conncetion between humans ideas and experiences. In his speculation of humanistic psychology, James Bugental says that human beings have a human context and that they are conscious about their behavior in the context of others. He prposed that human beings have choices and responsibilities and that they are able to acquire a meaning from behaviors and apply creativity to their thoughts. The humanistic perspective of psychology includes counseling and therapy. Self-help is a vital component of this theoretical perspective of psychology.
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Understanding the different theoretical perspectives of psychology takes us nearer to the understanding of the complex human nature. It takes us closer to the comprehension of the development of the different types of personalities around us.