History and Pioneers

6 important questions on History and Pioneers

What was the scientific climate at the birth of psychology?

Much more was known about the nervous system, the brain and the chemical and electrical processes in the body than could have been dreamed of by the earlier philosophers. The scientific method had continued to evolve and technology allowed for sophisticated instruments of measurement.

Thus when psychology burst on the scene in the late 1800s, its proponents were eager to prove this new field as worthy a science as any other discipline.

Why is Wilhelm Wundt considered the father of Psychology?

Wilhelm Wundt (1795-1878) was the first to establish a scientific laboratory devoted spefically to psychology. This was done in 1879 at the University of Leipzig.

Ernst Weber, Hermann Helmholtz and Gustav Fechner had all made important contributions to our understanding of sensation and perception prior to this, but none of them considered himself a psychologist per se.

Why is William James considered the father of American Psychology?

James (1842-1910) was among the first professors of psychology in the United States. Hired by Harvard in 1872 as a professor physiology, he took on the new title of professor of psychology in 1889.

His publication Principles of Psychology had a long and powerful influence of the development of the field.

How did James's functionalism differ from Wundt's structuralism?

James was particularly interested in how the mind affects behavior, how it helps us function in the world. He was less interested in simply identifying the components of the mind, which was more in keeping with Wundt's structuralism.

Who was Francis Galton (1822-1911)?

Francis Galton was an extremely innovative and creative man, he made enormous and long-lasting contributions to the methods of psychological research.

In mid-life, after a wide range of endeavours, which included explorations in Africa and new discoveries in meteorology, he became preoccupied with the question of the heritability of intelligence. That his own family tree was filled with gifted intellectuals is probably relevant to his choice of study.

What were the contributions of Francis Galton?

In his search to prove the heritability of intelligence, he made several astounding methodological innovations that are still in wide use today.

These included the:

  1. Statistical technique of correlation.
  2. Comparison of identical and fraternal twins.
  3. Use of self-report questionnaires and word association tests.
  4. Phrase "nature and nurture".
  5. Concept of "regression towards the mean". 

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