Introducing Psychology

Throughout history, philosophers and scientists have tried to gain a deeper understanding of human nature. The quest for understanding why we do the things that we do sparked the science that is psychology. In the past, abnormal behavior was thought to be caused by genetics and the malfunction of the brain and therefore was the rightful subject of psychiatrists and neurologists. But more and more people where exhibiting bizarre behavior but was able to function normally in other aspects of their lives.

It was also apparent that the biological causes of insanity could not fully account for the said phenomenon. The attention was focused to the human mind as the seat of all consciousness and thoughts. But since the mind was considered a realm of philosophy (Hothersall, 1995 p. 12), those who studied the mind were accused of conjecturing theories that was not observable and had no evidence to support it.

At this time, the key method in the study of the human mind was introspectionism and it was assumed that the mind held all the answers as to the how and why of human behavior. Psychology gained momentum when an experimental laboratory was set up in Leipzig, Germany by Wilhelm Wundt now considered as the father of modern psychology (Hothersall, 1995 p. 34). Through Wundt’s students, psychology as an academic discipline spread throughout the Western world. The main focus of psychology at this time was still the human mind and consciousness.

Several schools of thought then became popular, although they had different perspectives in which to understand human behavior, they all shared the same passion for examining human nature (Gleitman, Fridlund & Reisberg, 2004 p. 22). Functionalism considered the functions of the mind as the most important concern for psychologists, while psychoanalysis was more concerned about consciousness, unconsciousness and the instincts and drives. Then structuralism argued that life events and experiences were composed of different components stressing the influence of structure rather than function.

After a long time, behaviorism strongly opposed the early concept of psychology as the study of the mind, the proponents argued that human behavior was the rightful subject of psychology; they said that in order for psychology to become a scientific discipline, it needs to focus its attention to observable and measurable variables. Behaviorism became was a strong movement in psychology and it influenced a number of subfields like learning, experimental psychology, counseling, testing and others (Gleitman, Fridlund & Reisberg, 2004 p.

17). As a reaction to behaviorism, cognitivism or the study of the brain and its mental processes developed to challenge the claims made by behaviorism. At present, a new perspective called social cognitivism integrates behaviorism and cognitivism in the effort to recognize that psychology as a scientific discipline is concerned with the study of human behavior and mental processes. Psychology had a colorful and short history but it has now become one of the most diverse and applied field.

Psychology exists because of man, and in every aspect of man’s life, psychology is present, from physiological processes to birth and lifespan development. Psychology is also involved in learning, motivation, emotions and personality to intelligence, ability and aptitude, from sports to industries, from clinical settings to counseling among others. This paper presents a brief but concise discussion of some key topics in introductory psychology designed to help the reader understand and know the different concepts in the study of the human mind and behavior.

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This week I have been given the outline for this paper. So some of the topic that will be covered in this paper will include information about what is abnormal psychology. The early years of the people that have made …

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