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Contribution ancient great thinkers to the growth and development of psychology
Introduction Psychology evolved from ancient civilization of Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Arabs, among other ancient great thinkers who made significant contribution to the development of psychology over the centuries. Psychology developed from various fields of knowledge such as philosophy, sociology, biology, physiology, anthropology, and other related disciplines because it interfaces widely with diverse disciplines.Advertising We will write a custom essay sample on Contribution ancient great thinkers to the growth and development of psychology specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Until 1879, psychology was a dependent discipline, which formed part of ancient philosophy and it evolved to due to emergence of empirical scientific skills that enhanced research and validation of psychological theories. Since psychology is the study of mental processes and human behaviors, it was challenging and complex for the ancient psych ologists to design experiments that would empirically demonstrate psychology of human beings. Hunt admits that Ã¢â¬Å"studying the behaviors of humans is more complicated because of the influence of extraneous variables that are difficult to control. Oftentimes it requires researchers to make inferences or interpretation because the data is comparatively less clear-cutÃ¢â¬ (2006, p.12). The emergence of scientific skills and their application in various fields of knowledge led to the development of psychology as an independent field from philosophy. To explore history of psychology, this essay examines personalistic and naturalistic contributions of different theorists who represent various phases of psychological history such as philosophical antecedent, early physiological experiment, applied behaviorism, psychoanalytic movement, and contemporary movement, and ultimately evaluate personalistic and naturalistic views of psychological history. Philosophical Antecedents to Psychol ogy Before the development of empirical scientific skills in the late 19th century, psychology was an integral part of philosophy since great philosophers used rational introspective of human behaviors to understand the nature of human beings. Since philosophical ideologies questioned human mind and behavior, it provided a basis for the psychologists and physiologists to elucidate human mind and behavior according to their respective perceptions. Ancient great thinkers employed philosophy and physiology in the study of human mind and behaviors.Advertising Looking for essay on psychology? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More According to Griffiths, philosophy entails introspection of mental processes because Ã¢â¬Å"through a process of self-questioning and asking others questions; philosophers have attempted to unravel how we think, how we learn, how we gain knowledge and how we use our experiencesÃ¢â¬ (2007, p.5). On the other h and, physiology involved the study of human body to unravel complex processes of the body relative to health. Then, the relationship between the mind and the body perplexed ancient philosophers and this led to the development of psychology as an independent field of knowledge that considers both philosophy of the mind and physiology of the body. Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.), an ancient philosopher, examined human life and argued that the mind and the body have intricate connection because the mind has the ability to control the body. Plato (427-347B.C.) argued that the mind and the body are two distinct components of a person that interact effectively in bringing about human behavior. Plato believed that human beings gain knowledge through introspection rather than through observation; hence, he formed the foundation for rationalism. Aristotle (348-322 B.C.), a student of Plato contested that the mind and the body are not different entities of a human being, as he believed that physio logical study of the body through observation is critical in understanding how the mind functions, thus his argument formed foundation for empiricism. Based on philosophical work of Plato and Aristotle, rationalism and empiricism are respective two approaches of psychology that emerged. Nadel (2008) argues that Ã¢â¬Å"a rationalist believes that the route to knowledge is through logical analysis while an empiricist believes that we acquire knowledge via empirical evidence, that is, we obtain evidence through experience and observationÃ¢â¬ (p.54). Thus, rationalism and empiricism are significant approaches of modern psychology that originated from philosophical ideologies of human nature.Advertising We will write a custom essay sample on Contribution ancient great thinkers to the growth and development of psychology specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More During 16th and 17th, rationalism and empiricism became prominent when more phil osophers formulated psychological theories that explain human mind and behavior. Rene Descartes (1596-1550), a great thinker of this period supported rationalism arguing that the mind and the body are distinct components of a human being that mutually interact and determine the behavior of a person. He believed that human beings have cognitive abilities that differentiate them from animals. On the other hand, John Locke believed that the mind and the body are one and that they interact equally. He perceived that mutual coexistence of the body and mind is imperative for the development of human behavior because the body can sense various stimuli from the environment and the mind too process sensed information for the body to respond appropriately to diverse environmental conditions. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), agreed with both rationalism and empiricism views arguing that they are essential in psychological study of mind and human behaviors. The philosophical issue of the mind and the body complicated philosophical studies of the nature of human beings that resulted in formulation of diverse theories. Hunt argues that Ã¢â¬Å"the issues confronted by philosophers, physicians, and psychologists are so intertwined that when psychology was starting out as a field of study in the late 1800s, it was viewed by some as a branch of philosophyÃ¢â¬ (2006, p.18). Ultimately, psychology emerged and became independent from philosophy as the science of mind and human behavior. During the earliest period of psychological evolution, philosophers differed in defining the relationship between the mind and the body. Rationalists believed that the mind and the body are separate and distinct components of a human being and thus, psychological study should have its basis through introspection of the mind by rational analysis. However, Rene Desecrates resolved the philosophical problem of the mind and body by arguing that they are distinct components of a person, hence rationalism f ormed the basis of ancient psychology and is equally central to modern psychology (Watson, 2008, p.9).Advertising Looking for essay on psychology? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More DescartesÃ¢â¬â¢ beliefs did set the stage for the development of empirical psychology. Since the problem of mind and body dominated the minds of many great philosophers, naturalistic approach best explains contribution of Rene Desecrates in the ancient period. Philosophers like Hippocrates, Aristotle, Plato, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant contributed to the emergence and evolution of psychology during the ancient times. The philosophers discovered that the mind and the body are entities that interact in the body, which resulted into rationalism and empiricism study of psychology. Early Physiological and Experimental psychology Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), a German philosopher and psychologist, came up with early physiological and experimental psychology that has become the basis of modern empirical study of psychology. He dedicated his studies to carrying out physiological experiments for he intended to unravel the mystery behind structure of the mind. Wundt believed in the structura l perception of human mind. Hence his studies focused on structuralism theory in contrast with functionalism theory that elucidates human mind from functional point of view. According to Marr, Ã¢â¬Å"Structuralism seeks to understand the structure and configuration of elements of the mind and its perceptions by analyzing those perceptions into their constituent componentsÃ¢â¬ (2008, p.56). Wundt assumed that physiological and psychological processes of a person interact in the body resulting into development of behavior. He became the father of experimental psychology since he established scientific laboratory where he conducted psychological experiments. He further designed various models of experiments so that he would detect how human senses coordinate with mental structures bringing out certain responses. Wilhelm Wundt revolutionized psychology because he was the first to apply empirical scientific skills in the study of psychology. Due to his experiments, psychology gained e nough footing and became independent field of knowledge with significant empirical evidences to support its theories that were earlier incredible. Wilhelm Wundt believed that behavior of a person depends on the interaction of physiological and psychological elements. Ã¢â¬Å"Physiological psychology was concerned with the process of excitations from stimulation of the sense organs, through sensory neurons to the lower and higher brain centers, and from these centers to the musclesÃ¢â¬ (Nadel, 2008, p.58). The physiological psychology provided an empirical perspective of studying psychology since earlier studies viewed psychology from philosophical point of view and applied philosophical ideologies and theories in the understanding of human mind and behaviors. According to the physiological and experimental psychology, Wilhelm Wundt assumed that physiological processes of senses could give significant information concerning the functioning of the brain. He designed novel experiment s in the laboratory, which focused in establishing the relationship between the mind and the body through physiological actions of nerves. The experiment gave robust findings that led to the development of structural theory of psychology that posits that mental and physiological structures interact effectively in the body and are responsible for the development of human behavior. Wilhelm Wundt employed introspection as one of the method of analyzing the relationship between the mind and the body through physiological mechanism of the body. Ã¢â¬Å"Although WundtÃ¢â¬â¢s method of introspection did not remain a fundamental tool of psychological experimentation past the early 1920s, his greatest contribution was to show that psychology could be a valid experimental science,Ã¢â¬ (Wilson Keil, 2007, p.60). Thus, Wilhelm Wundt did not only prove that psychology is an experimental science but also did contribute to the independence of psychology in the 20th century. Based on the empir ical ideology of philosophy, Wilhelm Wundt formulated the first scientific experiment in a laboratory for he assumed that the relationship between the mind and the body lies in their interaction through physiological mechanism. He conducted experiments where he determined effects of varied stimuli on the mind and responses (Marr, 2008, p.72). His work led to the independence of psychology as science of the mind and behavior for empirical studies enhanced validation of many psychological theories that relied on philosophical ideologies. Personalistic approach concerning the history of psychology best accounts for his contribution to the evolution of psychology. He was the first psychologist to conduct laboratory experiment to test the relationship between the body and the mind by using varied environmental stimuli. His experimental efforts and findings revolutionized the study of psychology from rational perspective to empirical perspective. Physiological and experimental psychology of Wilhelm Wundt did prove that psychology is an experiential science that needs scientific skills to validate its theories. Due to great work of Wilhelm Wundt, psychology has become the science of mind and behavior in the modern society. Applied psychology and Behaviorism John Broadus Watson (1878-1958) was a great proponent of behavioral theory of psychology that explains human mind and behavior. Watson did study physiological and experimental psychology of Wilhelm Wundt and found that physiology alone could not explain the nature of human mind. He extended experimental physiology to include animal models in his experiments because he could easily manipulate their behavior as compared to human beings. Watson assumed that behavior of a person reflects psychological status in that studying human behaviors could tell a lot about their minds. Behavioral theory assumes that human behaviors are a reflection of the mental conditions and thus should form central basis of studying psycholo gy. In his experiments, Watson used animal models because he assumed that he could effectively extrapolate the results and apply them to human behaviors. Ã¢â¬Å"Using the conclusions drawn from animal research, Watson did much to enlighten educators about the complexities of learning, motivation, response generation, and problem-solving,Ã¢â¬ (Hart Kritsonis, 2006, p.8). Although his view of psychology differed with the introspection ideology of Wilhelm Wundt, he employed physiological experiment in determining stimuli-based behaviors of animals. The behavioral theory of psychology made significant contribution to the empirical study of psychology and led to the evolution of other fields of psychology such as behavioral psychology and social psychology, which are essential in explaining human behavior in the society. Watson disputed psychological views of structuralism and functionalism for he perceived that they lacked sufficient empirical applications and extrapolation to diver se human behaviors in the society. Many psychologists Ã¢â¬Å"credits Watson for having brought credence to some of the psychoanalytic concepts such as the role of early childhood experiences, trauma and relationships with significant social agents, primarily maternal figures, in the formation a childÃ¢â¬â¢s personality, capabilities and propensitiesÃ¢â¬ (Hart Kritsonis, 2006, p.9). Therefore, behaviorism has become an essential aspect of modern psychology for it has expanded empirical application and study of human mind and behaviors. After analyzing the work of physiological and experimental psychology of Wilhelm Wundt, John Watson formulated behavioral theory of psychology. He assumed that there is correlation between the mind and behaviors of individuals and thus, studying human behaviors could unravel the mystery behind the functioning of the mind. Since John Watson based his behavioral studies on earlier work of experimental psychology, naturalistic approach appropriately accounts for his contribution to the history of psychology. Behavioral theory has become very important in modern psychology, as it is applicable in the diagnosis of varied mental disorders. Psychoanalytic Movement Sigmund Freud was a great psychologist of the 20th century who came up with psychoanalytic theory to elucidate how human mind functions and how it influences human behavior. He was a neurologist and thus his knowledge concerning the functioning of the brain-inspired him to formulate psychoanalytic theory. Examining mental disorders of the children, Sigmund Freud discovered that some disorders such as necrosis and hysteria affect mental functions while organic matter in the mind remains intact. Through neurological examination, he singled the cause of hysterical disorders as repressed memories of traumatic experiences since organic matter remained intact. Sigmund Freud formulated psychotherapy procedure that helped the patients to recall traumatic experiences so that he c ould guide them in resolving psychological crises arising from repressed memories. Sigmund Freud explains that Ã¢â¬Å"we guided the patientÃ¢â¬â¢s attention directly to the traumatic scene during which the symptom had arisen, tried to find therein the psychic conflict and to free the repressed affect Ã¢â¬ ¦ discovered the procedure characteristic of the psychic processes of the neurosesÃ¢â¬ (Strachey, 2007, p.7). From the experience as a neurologist, Sigmund Freud discovered that mental disorders do not require physiotherapy but psychotherapy and thus, he applied regression analysis of life experiences to awaken and resolve repressed memories of patients. Realizing that necroses relate with the sexual drives of children, Sigmund Freud formulated psychosexual theory after exploring sexual development from a psychological point of view. He argued that sexual development intricately links with the mind and determines the behavior of an individual. Freud changed the perception of sex when he proposed that sexuality forms an integral part of childhood development because sexual drives mediate between the body and the mind. He noted that sexual instincts are major driving forces in personality development. Sigmund Freud redefined the ordinary physical perspective of sexual development by incorporating the psychological aspects of psyche. In his psychoanalysis theory, Freud proposed that the psyche has three components, namely, the ego, the super-ego, and the I.D. (Strachey, 2007, p.84). Super-ego is the conscious component of the psyche that imposes and regulates cultural sexual constraints while the I.D. is the unconscious component that determines the sexual instincts of pleasure and is important in socialization. The ego is the component of the psyche that interfaces and coordinates the super-ego and the I.D. in the harmonization of the conflicting sexual instincts and cultural sexual constraints in the process of psychosexual development. Thus, Sigmund Fre ud modeled psychosexual development into five stages: Ã¢â¬Å"oral phase, anal phase, phallic phase, latency phase and genital phaseÃ¢â¬ (Strachey, 2007, p.83) depending on the source of the sexual instinct. Contrary to the behavioral theory, Sigmund Freud came up with psychoanalytic theory, which postulates that mental disorders such as necroses and hysteria are due to repressed memories of past traumatic experiences. In addition, he formulated psychosexual theory where he explained how the three elements of psyche viz. superego, ego, and I.D. interact effectively in resolution of psychosexual crises (Wilson Keil, 2007, p.44). Since Sigmund Freud came up with the psychoanalytic theory together with his friends, personalistic and naturalistic approaches best account for his contribution to the history of psychology His psychoanalytic principles are central to modern psychotherapy Contemporary Movement Social constructivism is a contemporary school of thought in psychology whose p roponents argue that scientific and psychological ideologies are all constructs of humanity and that they did not exist in their own. The social construction theory shifted from self-psychology and incorporated the influence of social environment to the mind and subsequent development of behaviors. Kenneth Gergen is a modern proponent of construction theory who argues that science and philosophy are human constructs that cannot fully explain psychological and behavioral development in the society with many social factors that confound inquiry in psychology. Ã¢â¬Å"What we take to be experience of the world does not in itself dictate the terms by which the world is understood. What we take to be knowledge of the world is not a product of induction, or of the building and testing of general hypothesesÃ¢â¬ (Gergen, 2009, p.266). He criticizes empiricists for over-reliance on observation as basis of scientific knowledge for he holds that observers have bias when making their empirica l observations. Since some aspects of psychology such as emotions are very abstract for empirical analyses, empirical studies of human thoughts and behavioral are not sufficient in validation and elucidation of psychological theories. According to the social construction theory, interaction of human beings in the universe has played significant role in shaping their thoughts and behaviors. Human beings have made diverse social constructs in the society that have shaped human behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Constructionists believe that understanding of the world, human behavior and thoughts lies in mutual interaction of people, and their systems in the society. Boghossian argues that the study of culture, personality, emotions and memories Ã¢â¬Å"direct our attention to the social, moral, political and economic institutions that sustain and are supported by current assumptions about human activityÃ¢â¬ (2010, p.32). In modern society, social psychology is applicable in politica l spheres, in management levels, and in various interactions of people where mobilization is necessary. Kenneth Gergen is a contemporary proponent of social construction theory that critics empirical psychology as insufficient in elucidating human behavior and mental functions. He added social aspect as a determinant of human behavior and mental functions for he believed that social forces are integral part of the psychology because they influence interaction of human beings in the society. Given that many of his contemporaries contributed to the formulation of the social construction theory, naturalistic approach appropriately explains his contribution to the history of psychology Summary Naturalistic and personalistic perspectives are two approaches that help in understanding the history and evolution of psychology. While naturalistic perspective of psychological history emphasizes collective intellectual contribution by the great thinkers, personalistic perspective of psychologic al history emphasizes on individual contribution to the growth and evolution of psychology. According to naturalistic perception, history of psychology is collection of great ideologies from many thinkers who contributed to the development and evolution of psychology during various intellectual and historical periods into the modern psychology. Personalistic approach to the study of psychological history emphasizes individual contributions and regards them as heroic intellectuals. Watson argues that Ã¢â¬Å"the history of what man has accomplished in this world is at bottom the history of the great men who have worked hereÃ¢â¬ (2009, p.12). Personalistic theory assumes that the history of psychology is just but a history of great persons who made significant contributions, which changed the course of psychology throughout the history. Conclusion Ancient great thinkers made significant contribution to the growth and development of psychology. During the ancient times, psychology wa s part of philosophy because it lacked empirical validation of its theories. Psychology was dependent on philosophical ideologies of rationalism in the study of human thoughts and behaviors. In the late 19th century, Wilhelm Wundt came up with empirical view of psychology for he conducted first laboratory experiment to find out the relationship between the mind and the body via physiological actions of nerves. His experiments revolutionized psychology to become an independent field of knowledge, which could validate its theories using scientific principles of research. Thus, empirical psychology formed the foundation for the emergence of behavioral theory, psychoanalytic theory and contemporary social construction theory, which are integral part of modern psychology. References Boghossian, P. (2010). Contemporary Construction Theory. The Institute ofÃ Psychological studies, 1-45. Gergen, K. (2009). The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology.Ã American Psychologist, 40(3), 266-281. Griffiths, P. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology: History, and Current Status.Ã The Philosophy of Science, 1-14. Hart, K., Kritsonis, W. (2006). A Critical Analysis of John B. WatsonÃ¢â¬â¢s Original Writing: Behaviorisms as a Behaviorist Views It. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 20(3), 1-21. Hunt, M. (2006). The History of Psychology. London: Prentice Hall. Marr, D. (2008). Origin and History of Psychology. New York: Cambridge Press. Nadel, L. (2008). Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. London: Nature Publishing Group. Strachey, J. (2007). The History of Psychoanalytic Movement: Sigmund Freud.Ã Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 24(7), 1-134. Watson, R. (2008). Introduction to PsychologyÃ¢â¬â¢s History. The American PsychologicalÃ Association, 1-44. Wilson, R., Keil, F. (2007). Evolution of Psychology: Ancient and Modern Perception.Ã The Journal of Psychology, 45(9), 23-67. 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