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The History of Psychology
This article discusses the evolution and history of psychology.
In the modern view of the history of science, psychology has been for the most part a 'continuous process of evolution with few sudden mutations, where almost every great discovery in science turns out to have been anticipated by others.' Following the early period of the philosopher-scientists of ancient Greece and the psychobiological thinking of Aristotle, the history of modern psychology is divided into three periods: the philosophical period from Descartes (1650) to Fechner 1860; the institutional period from Wundt 918740 to McDougall (1923; and the specific and factual period from Tolman (1932) on.
Early questions centered on the philosophical question, "What is the nature of mind?" After this philosophical period, psychology became institutionalized and a new generation of experimental psychologists developed the first laboratory was established at the University of Leipzig in Germany by Wundt in 1879. The third period of modern psychology began in the 1930s as problems became more specific. This period is typified by textbooks in child, educational, industrial and other specialized areas.
The roots of psychology are philosophical, physiological, and methodological, and it has been influenced by the theory of evolution. Questions were asked about heredity and environment, about individual differences, about animal behavior. Genetic psychology grew rapidly as experiments dealt with comparative studies of animal and man. By the early twentieth century, psychology was related to psychiatry, with emphasis on neuroses and psychoses. The first American laboratory of experimental psychology was founded at Johns Hopkins University in 1883.
Modern psychology has a rich heritage in countries other than Germany and the United States. From Great Britain came strong influences in cognitive functions, statistical measures and experimental and industrial psychology; and from France came psychopathology, psychometrics and experimental psychology. Italy early recognized scientific psychology and has a world-renowned reputation for the application of psychology to the education of both normal and defective children. From Russia have come psychophysiology and the early discoveries of the conditioned reflex. Industrial psychology grew in Japan rapidly and South Africa contributed to personnel psychology.