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The root of the word psychology psyche means " soul " in Greek, and psychology was sometimes considered a study of the soul in a religious sense of this term. Edit The study of psychology in philosophical context dates back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt , Greece , China and India.
Psychology began adopting a more clinical  and experimental  approach under medieval Muslim psychologists and physicians , who built psychiatric hospitals for such purposes. Cabanis interpreted the mind in light of his previous studies of biology ,arguing that sensibility and soul are properties of the nervous system. The American philosopher William James published his seminal book, Principles of Psychology  in , laying the foundations for many of the questions that psychologists would focus on for years to come.
Other important early contributors to the field include Hermann Ebbinghaus — , a pioneer in the experimental study of memory at the University of Berlin ; and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov who investigated the learning process now referred to as classical conditioning. Psychoanalysis Main article: Psychoanalysis From the s until his death in , the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud developed a method of psychotherapy known as psychoanalysis.
These were largely considered taboo subjects at the time, and Freud provided a catalyst for them to be openly discussed in polite society. While Freud is perhaps best known for his tripartite model of the mind, consisting of the id , ego , and superego , and his theories about the Oedipus complex , his most lasting legacy may be not the content of his theories but his clinical innovations, such as the method of free association and a clinical interest in dreams.
Freud had a significant influence on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung , whose analytical psychology became an alternative form of depth psychology. Contemporary psychoanalysis comprises diverse schools of thought, including ego psychology , object relations , interpersonal , Lacanian , and relational psychoanalysis.
Moreover, in contrast with early psychologists Wilhelm Wundt and William James, who studied the mind via introspection , the behaviorists argued that the contents of the mind were not open to scientific scrutiny and that scientific psychology should only be concerned with the study of observable behavior. There was no consideration of internal representation or the mind. Founded in the early 20th century by American psychologist John B.
Hull , Edward C. Tolman , and later B. Behaviorism differs from other perspectives in a number of ways. Behaviorists focus on behavior-environment relations and analyze overt and covert i. Concepts such as "mind" or "consciousness" are not used by behaviorists because such terms do not describe actual psychological events such as imagining but are used as explanatory entities hidden somewhere in the organism. By contrast, behaviorism treats private events as behavior, and analyzes them in the same way as overt behavior.
Behavior refers to the concrete events of the organism, overt or private. By using phenomenology , intersubjectivity and first-person categories, the humanistic approach seeks to glimpse the whole person--not just the fragmented parts of the personality or cognitive functioning. There are several factors which distinguish the humanistic approach from other approaches within psychology. These include the emphasis on subjective meaning, a rejection of determinism, and a concern for positive growth rather than pathology.
Some of the founding theorists behind this school of thought were American psychologists Abraham Maslow , who formulated a hierarchy of human needs , and Carl Rogers , who created and developed client-centered therapy ; and German-American psychiatrist Fritz Perls , who helped create and develop Gestalt therapy. It became so influential as to be called the "third force" within psychology, along with behaviorism and psychoanalysis.
Existential psychologists argued that people must come to terms with their mortality and that, in so doing, people will be obligated to accept that they are free—that they possess free will and are at liberty to defy expectations and conventions in order to forge their own, meaningful paths through life.
May believed that an important element of the meaning-making process is the search for myths , or narrative patterns into which the individual may fit. As Austrian existential psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl observed,  "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. In addition to May and Frankl, Swiss psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger and American psychologist George Kelly may be said to belong to the existential school.
For existential psychologists, the striving only follows an anxiety-producing contemplation of mortality, freedom, and responsibility. However, the modern field of psychology largely came to be dominated by cognitive psychology. Chomsky emphasized that research and analysis must not ignore the contribution of the child in the acquisition of language and proposed that humans are born with a natural ability to acquire language.
This, combined with the assumptions that mental representations exist and that mental states and operations could be inferred through scientific experimentation in the laboratory, led to the rise of cognitivism as a popular model of the mind. Research in cognition was also backed by the aim to gain a better understanding of weapons operation since World War II.
First, it accepts the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a method of investigation, unlike symbol-driven approaches such as Freudian psychodynamics.
Second, it explicitly acknowledges the existence of internal mental states—such as belief, desire and motivation—whereas behaviorism does not. In fact, like Freud and depth psychologists, cognitive psychologists are even interested in unconscious phenomena, including repression ; but cognitive psychologists prefer to explore these phenomena in terms of operationally-defined components, such as subliminal processing and implicit memory , that are amenable to experimental investigation.
Moreover, cognitive psychologists have questioned the very existence of some of these components. For example, American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has used empirical methods to demonstrate ways in which apparent memories can be brought to light via fabrication rather than through the elimination of repression. Preceding the cognitive revolution by several decades, Hermann Ebbinghaus had pioneered the experimental study of memory, arguing that higher mental processes are not hidden from view, but instead could be studied using experimentation.
These mind-body links are explored at length by cognitive neuropsychologists. With the development of technologies for measuring brain function, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience have become increasingly active areas of contemporary psychology.
Cognitive psychology has been subsumed along with other disciplines, such as philosophy of mind , computer science , and neuroscience , under the umbrella discipline of cognitive science.
Principles of psychology This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it. Mind and brain Edit Psychology literally, the study of the human mind describes and attempts to explain consciousness, behaviour and social interaction.
Empirical psychology is primarily devoted to describing human experience and behaviour as it actually occurs. In the past 20 years or so psychology has begun to examine the relationship between consciousness and the brain or nervous system. An understanding of brain function is increasingly being included in psychological theory and practice, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence , neuropsychology , and cognitive neuroscience.
Schools of thought Edit Various schools of thought have argued for a particular model to be used as a guiding theory by which all, or the majority, of human behavior can be explained. The popularity of these has waxed and waned over time. Some psychologists may think of themselves as adherents to a particular school of thought and reject the others, although most consider each as an approach to understanding the mind, and not necessarily as mutually exclusive theories.
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