Rene Descartes, Herman von Helmholtz, and Wilhelm Wundt all played important roles in creating psychology how it is today, by going beyond what the thought processes were at their time and expanding on knowledge. They didn’t look at the world as other’s did, and they didn’t take “no” for an answer. These great thinkers were centuries to decades apart, but their theories combined and collided into the new psychology.
One step, and great contributor to the birth of psychology was Rene Descartes. Descartes was a philosopher born in France in 1596. Descartes was able to live comfortably from money he inherited from his father. He had many interest and talents while studying at a Jesuit school. Descartes enjoyed mathematics, humanities, philosophy, physics, and physiology (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E, 2012, p.30), which would help him later in his future endeavors. While growing up he delicate health, so his mornings were spent in bed resting. This is a habit he continued through his life, and this is also where he did most of his creative thinking (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E, 2012).
Descartes preferred to practical matters, such as how to prevent grey hairs and to improve wheelchair functions. “He even anticipated the notion of conditioning in dogs, some 200 years before Pavlov refined the concept” (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E, 2012, p.30). Descartes largest contribution, which would help pave the way for future psychology, was the mind-body position.
Before Descartes, the thought was that the mind exclusively controlled the body. Descartes’s view was that the mind and body had a dualist control. “In Descartes’s theory of mind-body interaction, the mind influences the body but the body exerts a greater influence on the mind than previously supposed” (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E, 2012, p. 31). For example, in the case of a person needing to go to the bathroom as an adult. Your mind has control of when and where you go, as long as you don’t wait too long or have any medical conditions. If you wait too long, your body will eventually take over the mind, and you will wet or defecate your pants.
Descartes brought forth ideas that started to change the way people thought from our minds are machines and puppets, to that of can we can think. “While the mind has none of the properties of matter, it does have the capacity to think, and it is this characteristic that sets the mind apart from the material or physical world” (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E, 2012, p. 34). This is one of the changes of thought that slowly got the ball rolling towards the eventual birth of psychology.
Descartes also created the idea of derived and innate ideas. Derived ideas are those, which come from direct stimuli, such as a fire alarm or the sun. Innate ideas are those that come from inside the mind and not from outside stimuli. According to Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E (2012)
The concept of innate ideas has led to the nativistic theory of...