History of Psychology
University of Phoenix
Interest in psychology is as old as the society, because man has always wanted to know people who surround him, to discover what do they think, how do they feel, and their intentions. In spite of that, psychology as an independent science is relatively young – it is old approximately 100 years. When discussing the origin and roots of psychology, it might be noted that they come from philosophy and natural sciences. Philosophic roots of psychology are associated with the philosophic thought of ancient Greeks and the word "psychology" is of Greek origin. In the translation, psychology is "a science about a soul." ...view middle of the document...
John Locke considered that every man with its birth is "tabula rasa" that over time becomes fulfilled with impressions. He opened a new chapter, later known as English empiricism. According to Lock the laws of associations have the fundamental role in the mental development, and this is similar with learning theories in the twentieth century. Edmund Burke appeared at a similar time as a counterweight to Locke. Burke advocated the opinion that the final reality can be understood only with the mind by ignoring senses and indirect social influence.
Starting from the criteria taken from natural sciences that one science can be called a science under condition that its foundlings are experimentally proved, founding of psychology as a science se considered establishing of The Institute for Experimental Psychology in Leipzig in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt. As Bergenhahn (2009) states, "Wundt's stated goal was to understand consciousness, and his pursuit for this goal was very much within the German rationalistic tradition" (p. 264). Wundt managed to lead psychology into the laboratory, to experiment and explain certain processes scientifically. Wundt's book Principles of Physiological Psychology (1874) also had a big impact on further development of psychology.
During the time when Wundt gained more and more popularity in the experimental psychology, another psychologist was active, as well. It was Herman Ebbinghaus. He gave a major contribution to the understanding of memory and forgetting, and his experiments are still used in psychology. Woodworth (1909) states "Ebbinghaus should indeed be counted among the pioneers of experimental psychology; he belongs to that second generation which followed close on Helmholtz and Fechner, and which included, in Germany, Muller and Stumpf, as well as the older and earlier Wundt (p. 254). His understanding of psychology and the method of psychology was closer to biology than to other natural sciences. However, even though Ebbinghaus was outside of the psychological...