The History Of Psychology

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All page numbers and figure references are from: Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Woolf, N. J., Cramer, K. M. & Schmaltz, R. (2013). Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (2nd Ed). Toronto: Pearson Canada.

* This lecture guide is a textual outline. It is meant to help you with your own note taking. They are not meant as a replacement for course attendance and active participation! The exact order and depth of coverage of the topics outlined in each guide is subject to change, without notice, in order to best meet students' needs. Check the course outline and Blackboard regularly for announcements and information on upcoming exams, assignments, and deadlines!

Syllabus and expectations
What is psychology?
The history of psychology
Evaluating psychological claims


Your Instructor: Dr. Kosha Bramesfeld (Dr. B)
Office: JOR 932
Phone: 416-979-5000 ext. 2632
Office hours: See Blackboard

Contacting Me:
Look on Blackboard first – the answer is probably there.
Email is the best mode of communication.
Use only your Ryerson email account for correspondence.
Best way to email is via the Blackboard email function!

Lecture Guides
Each week’s lecture guides provide an outline of lectures – available on Blackboard.
Use as study guides, NOT a replacement for class attendance!
Exact order and/or depth of coverage is subject to change.
After each class, supplemental material for that chapter will be posted.
If you are in need of accommodations beyond the lecture outlines, please contact me as soon as possible.

See Blackboard ( for the course syllabus.

Course Overview
This course introduces students to psychology, the scientific study of behaviour and cognition, including: scientific thinking and research methods (Chs. 1 & 2) biological bases of behaviour (Ch. 3) sensation and perception (Ch. 4) consciousness (Ch. 5) learning (Ch. 6) memory (Ch. 7) language, thinking, and reasoning (Ch. 8)

Course Objectives
Introduce you to psychology and its sub-specialities
Make you aware of the scientific nature of the study of behaviour
Acquaint you with the multiplicity and interplay of factors involved in the explanation of any behaviour
Demonstrate to you the relevance of psychology to professional life
Prepare you for more in-depth study of psychology’s sub-specialities in subsequent courses
Enhance your ability to evaluate critically psychological research findings reported in popular media and in academic sources


What is psychology, anyway?
See Blackboard for the document “Planning a Career as a Psychologist”
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior… at multiple levels of analysis.

Levels of analysis
Biological (or molecular/neurochemical level) – molecules and brain structure
Psychological (or mental/neurological level) – thoughts, feelings, and emotions
Social Cultural (or social/behavioral level) – relating to others, personal relationships

Psychology is complex
Multiply determined
Interacting factors
Individual differences
Cultural influences
Social influences

Psychology has a rich past…
Psychology’s philosophical roots: What is thought? Are the mind, body, and soul separate?
1875 – Psychology is born
Late 1800s, psychology broke away from philosophy & began to use the tools of science to explore the mind.
In 1875, William James created a small psychology laboratory at Harvard University.
In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt conducted the first psychology experiment in Leipzig, Germany.
1880s – Mental Processes: Psychology’s first scientific questions centered around the structures and functions of the mind (mental processes).
Structuralism focused on basic elements, or “structures” of psychological characteristics.
Functionalism focused on the adaptive purposes of psychological characteristics.
1890s – Psychology as a practice: In 1896, Lightner