Psychology has been an ever growing and changing practice. Though the term psychology mostly refers to a science; the concept has been around for many centuries. The human mind, understanding it, changing it, and controlling it has been an interest to many. From those who are just interested in personal growth to governments who are intent on control. It is part of our everyday life, and yet something that we still don’t fully understand.
Greek Philosophy 470 BC to 320 BC
Psychology only became a recognized science in the late 19th century; however, the concept and want for understanding was around many centuries before that. All the way back to Socrates, who lived from 470-399 BC, there has been documented interest in how the human mind works. Socrates himself believed, and taught, that we are born with innate knowledge, and that we are able to gain access to if we desire it. He also spoke out about the soul, and mind, not dying with the physical body; providing the theory of Dualism: separating the minds thoughts from material and physical properties of the world and body. Years later, Plato added to this theory stating that “reason is responsible for balancing our desires (appetites)” and “our (spirit)” “is in pursuit of reason’s goal.”(Morris & Maisto, 2010/13/14 pg. 12) Then later, Aristotle countered these claims and said that we learn and gain all of our knowledge by perception. We do not have any knowledge when we are born. These theories helped spawn the growth of psychology and are still relevant, and studied, in the science today.
1809-1882 Start of Darwinism
Though Darwin was interested in all of evolution, not just the human mind and brain; he did research in this area. He believed that the mind is unobservable, and therefore not relevant to scientific study. However, he believed that behavior was able to be studied and could be beneficial to understanding. Along with all of his other views of evolution, he hypothesized that the brain only carries on knowledge that is key to survival. In this case only the knowledge that was helpful in his ideas of “survival of the fittest” was considered, by Charles Darwin, to be relevant. There was a focus on origins of evolving certain behaviors, and how these were passed down; such as sex, parenting, and violence.
Beginning of Psychology 1879
At this time there has been some minimal study of the human mind and how it process, what causes behavior and what we have innately, and what we gain through perception. This was when psychology became an accepted science, and no longer linked to philosophy, with many people interested in research. It started mostly with Wilhelm Wundt and William James. Wundt founded the first psychology lab which would later be home to the first scientific psychological studies and experiments. He focused mainly on memory, selective attention, and helping his students to spread psychology around the world. James, however focused more on the way experiences affect the brain and human perspective. These two men’s theories are what made psychology take off as a true science.
1886 Sigmund Freud
Freud was a doctor of physiology when he took interest in psychology. He started a private practice, of psychology, in Vienna in 1886. This is where he put his beliefs in humans being solely driven by instincts into attempts at recovery for his patients. He did this by what he called “free association.” He would have his patients lay down and talk about their dreams and let their minds wander to whatever they wanted. Holding no set structure he hoped to find how the mind processed. He believed that everything was linked to the subconscious which is what holds all thoughts of trauma, sex, aggression, etc. This was the starting point of Psychodynamic Psychology, or the study of personality.
1892 Founding of APA
The American Psychological Association was founded. G.