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Prologue: The Story of Psychology

I. Psychology’s Roots
Prescientific Psychology
Socrates viewed the mind as separate from the body but viewed knowledge as something within us
Aristotle disagreed with Socrates’ views and saw that the soul is not separate from the body and that
knowledge is not preexisting but instead grows from experiences and memories. Aristotle also
believed that events experienced under strong emotion are better recalled than unemotional
Rene Descartes (Frenchman) believed that the mind and the body communicate and that memories
are formed when pores of the brain are opened by experiences.
Francis Bacon realized that the human brain favors patterns and that it selectively remembers events
that confirm it’s beliefs.
John Locke argued that the mind is a blank slate at birth and that it is shaped by experiences. He
also said that the mind acts only on what comes through the senses.
Empiricism: the view that knowledge originates in experience and that science should rely on
observation and experimentation.

Psychological Science is Born

Edward Titchener introduced structuralism in 1892. This was the method of engaging people in
self-reflective introspection (looking inward) which trained them to report elements of their
experience while smelling/tasting something. “There is one thing, and only one in the whole
universe which we know more about that we could learn from external observation. That one
thing is ourselves. We have, so to speak, inside information.”
William James’ strategy of learning about the mind was more of considering the evolved functions
of our thoughts and feelings. “Believing in free will has practical value; it gives you reason to
plan, take initiative, and to discipline yourself to form new habits of action. James encouraged
exploration of down-to-earth emotions, memories, habits, etc.
Mary Whiton Calkins: psychology’s first female psychology Ph.D

Psychological Science Develops

Psychology before 1920 defined as “the science of mental life.” From 1920-1960 psychology was
defined as “the science of observable behavior.” After 1960’s it became defined as “the science
of behavior and mental processes.”

Contemporary Psychology
Psychology’s Big Issues
Issues included stability verses change and rationality versus irrationality.
Biggest issue in Psychology is relative contributions of biology and experience. Which
is the debate of whether human traits develop through experience or if we are equipped with
them at birth.
Charles Darwin proposed his natural selection theory and that seemed to satisfy most of the debates.
How are differences in intelligence, personality and psychological disorders influenced by
Is depression brain disorder or thought disorder?
Sexual behaviors from inner biology or external incentives?

Psychology’s Perspectives
Someone working from a neuroscience perspective studies the brain circuits that produce the
physical anger.
evolutionary perspective= anger from our ancestor’s genes
psychodynamic perspective= unconscious hostility
cognitive perspective= personal interpretation of situation and why it leads to anger
social-cultural perspective= which situations produce the most anger
Different perspectives can compliment one another

Psychology’s Subfields
Psychology can be applied to simplify everyday life. Examples include: having a happy marriage.
how to overcome depression and how to raise your children.

Preview, Read, Think, Review = PRTR
Space out your studying. Don’t do a chapter a day (As I have just done) but do it over a span of
several days
“No reception without reaction, no impression without expression”