When put face to face with a psychology book, one can find themselves with a lot more questions the answers towards the beginning. Psychology is an incredibly valuable science that is necessary in almost every professional field, along with day to day life. In order to fully understand its significance one must first have a brief understanding of its history and along with what this science actually is.
What is Psychology?
Psychology is best defined by its greek roots, psych, which means breath, spirit, and soul. Along with logos, meaning the study of. However, when faced with this definition we are meant with the broad words of breath, spirit, and soul. This broad definition is there purposely however, this allows multiple train of thoughts, whether a person’s mindset is developed through religion or just from the environment. Breath, spirit, and soul, encompasses most of these mindsets. But from a scientific point of view, the definition of psychology is the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity (merrian webster definition)
Why is Psychology Important?
Psychology is still an early and fast developing science that has yielded results in many different fields. For example; through training a human being will be able to realize the mental barriers they have set for themselves, be able to identify and abolish negative biases they have set in their mind, have the capability of premonition when it comes to depression and suicide of those around them. On a more broad level, we can analyze and identify emerging problems within a society and be able to counteract them accordingly. Lastly, the more that we understand the minds and behaviors of the human race, the closer we will find each other as a civilization. Brief history Psychology began to appear in the educated world during the era of the great Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. These two men would start an argument that still persists to today Aristotle developed a type of thinking that would later be known as Philosophical Empiricism. He believed that as babies, we are born as clean slates, not a thought goes through our minds. We learn and turn into the people we are through our experiences. The entirety of our knowledge and personality is gained through our experiences. As kids we find ourselves experimenting with various things such as, biting, licking, throwing, hitting. With this train of thought we needed to do these things to gain a better knowledge of the world. We had to fall to learn what it felt like, we had to be told or shown, snakes are dangerous, in order to avoid them. Everything we are mentally, from our phobias to our strengths. Is because of our experiences and observations we have had throughout life Plato however developed a school named Nativism. He believed that all animals came into this world with pre-existing knowledge. From the day we were born we had a working of existence. A good of example of this is, when we are born, we are placed near our mother’s neck. Our mother’s let out a pheromone that is unique to them. As babies, once we experience this smell, we imprint on them in a way. This is also common in animals, already knowing what must be done from the second they are born. Such as a sea turtle immediately heading for the ocean once they are born. There are certain things that animals and human beings know from the second they are born, or begin their existence, we then build up from that.
Where do thoughts come from? The brain, but how does this organ work. From 1758 – 1828, a man by the name of Franz Joseph Gall became entranced by the brain and began to develop a science called Phrenology, which is the science of mapping the brain and figuring out what functions certain parts of the brain are responsible for.
However, it wasn’t until 1879 in Leipzig, Germany, that Psychology became a legitimate science. Thanks to the work of a man named Wilhelm Wundt. He would create a laboratory in which the student body would consist of students from around the globe. It was here that they were taught about how the brain was structured. Wundt believed that everything we experienced, and how we dealt with those experiences, both mentally and physically, would define who we are, or in other words, our state of consciousness. But, how do you inspect something as impossible to observe as thoughts? Wundt would develop a process called objective introspection which consists of the subject, in this case students, must undergo the process of objectively examining and measuring one’s own thoughts and mental activities (White, Psychology 5). It is because of this process that he would become known as the father of psychology. This process was the first to introduce being objective towards the human psych.
Wundt’s school would produce many immediate psychologist due to his teachings. Perhaps one of his most prominent students was a man by the name of Edward Titchener. From 1867 to 1927, he would develop a new train of thought by the name of structuralism. This was the process of giving emotions and thoughts certain categories. He believed everything we thought would eventually be broken down into basic categories. He tested this by having student or subject describe certain things. Then have them break down their descriptions. For example, he would have a subject drink some lemon juice, then have them describe what they were tasting or feeling. So in the lemon example, the subject would describe it as sour. He would follow up with a question such as.
What is sour?
During the late 1870’s a professor by the name of William James emerged from Harvard University where he taught. He developed a school of thought called functionalism. He viewed the mind and it’s thought processes much like how people view the ocean. Some people see the ocean everyday, but when they stop to observe it. They are no longer observing the exact same view that originally took their breath away. Because, just like the ocean is constantly changing and evolving, so is the mind. This thought process was heavily influenced by Charles Darwin, due to the fact that he believed species were constantly evolving to function in their environment. Professor William James also believed the same of the mind.
Among notable early psychologist is a man by the name of Sigmund Freud. He was the first to theorize about the unconscious. He believed that most of the consciousness was repressed to that point that most people were not aware of it in their day to day lives. He developed process a called free association in which the subject would vocalize all of their thoughts in a setting in which no other human beings were in sight. He believed that in doing this the unconscious would sort itself out. Another theory he had was that our dreams were the keys to our unconscious, and that dreams were our minds sorting the mess out. Unfortunately these theories are not testable because it is dangerous.
There is a reason why we keep thoughts repressedA man by the name of Ivan Pavlov figured out a process deemed conditioning, he did this by testing animals, this is used everyday when a person begins training their pet. A duo with the names of John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner developed a school called behaviorism, in which the question, how can the human thought process vary so significantly, is the center of it, for example, how can a man like Adolf Hitler, and a man like Ghandi, exist in the same world. Along with behaviorism, they developed Cognitive Psychology, which states that your thought process affect your behavior, what you are thinking creates an emotion, and that emotion triggers a certain type of behavior. For example, if a person thinks everyone in this world is out to hurt them, that will create fear of people, and they will slowly become an introvert. From these starting school, others would begin to surface throughout the years such as; humanistic school, which believes that if human beings are put in a scenario where only basic needs are required, that we are all naturally good and altruistic. Evolutionary Psychology, which displays that actions learned from parents will be displayed in the offspring, such as the ability of a baby to use technology. Also Social Psychology was developed, which the study of how people interact with each otherConclusionPsychology is a science that needs to be pursued and taken further in order for humanity to develop a better understanding of exactly who we are, and who others are around us. This will allow us to be closer together as a race.
Part BThe Interaction of Spirits Social Psychology is defined as the study of mental processes and behavior in a social setting, this is perhaps one of the most applicable sciences in day to day life. It is, and will be necessary for the prosperity of humanity as we continue forward 5 Reasons
As human beings we are constantly in social situation, it is human nature to use each other get ahead. A good example of this is a simple pencil, when one is asked, where did this pen come from? Many people respond with the name of the company or the manufacturer, when in reality that is just the final destination. The process of making a simple pencil can be a nation wide, or even worldwide phenomenon, One manufacturer does not create every simple product in a pen. But rather just takes all of the components and fits them together to make their particular product. The wood from a pen will be harvested from a forest where many people work using chainsaws and equipment they themselves did not make, the lead has the same process also.
The manufacturing of a pencil take thousands, maybe even millions of people. If psychologist were able to better understand how exactly the human race is capable of such a feat, we would be able to make the manufacturing of goods even more efficient than it already is. Millions of people every four years choose one of two people to be a major decision maker over their entire country, what leads them to choose who they choose? If this question is answered, politicians will be able to further their following base and bring about a change they see fit. If we can identify what allows to people to leaders or followers in social situation we might find ourselves with better results. The ability to carry out conversations despite not speaking the same language through body language or translator apps will allow for a broader and deeper understanding of all people. Developing a way for people with beautiful minds to communicate their thought processes in a way that the majority of the populous will understand would have an amazing effect on education. The understanding of how riots start and continue would allow for law enforcement agencies to be proactive and prevent property and life loss
All of these scenarios have been tackled by social psychologist and the benefits mentioned are starting to be reaped throughout the world. Although, these situations and many others are still being studied in order to push humanity forward. Social Psychology has proven to be a necessary science in the development of humanity.