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The Foundations of Psychology
The science of behavior and mental functioning defines the term psychology. It is understood that by the 19th century, psychology origins derived from philosophy. Philosophers believed that to understand the mind, to answer questions about the makeup of thoughts and feelings, they would have to examine it in a scientific manner.
Wilhelm Wundt, known as the “father of psychology”, looked to use science as a method to discover the components of the human consciousness, in which he concluded were sensations and feelings. Shortly after, other theories emerged that have influenced the science of psychology. Four of these theories are structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, and psychoanalysis.
“Structuralism sought to analyze the adult mind in terms of the simplest definable components and then to find the way in which these components fit together in complex forms” (“Structuralism”, 2011). Edward Titchner, a student of Wilhelm Wundt was structuralism advocate. He used a technique called introspection to study the design of consciousness. Introspection is a method that trained subordinates to report everything that went through their minds verbally when introduced a stimulus or task. Experimentation was the only acceptable method in Titchner’s opinion.
On the other hand, functionalism focused more on how the consciousness of the mind affects what a person does. One of the founders on functionalism was William James, a Harvard psychologist. William James was more interested in explaining what was in the mind by using sources other than introspection and experimentation. “Consciousness exists because it serves a function, and the task of the psychologist is to understand that function” (Kowalski & Weston, 2009, p. 10).
John Watson introduced behaviorism. This theory focuses on how stimuli can control one’s behavior through learning. One experiment conducted by Ivan Pavlov, involved how his dogs reacted to certain...