Psychological Perspective Essay

1418 words - 6 pages

Psychological perspectives assignment

The word psychology comes from the Greek word ‘psyche’ meaning mind, body and spirit. The earliest known ideas in psychology also came from ancient Greece. Thales of Miletus (624-546BC) says the brain plays a vital role. This wasn’t always said, as for a long time the brain was thought to be a big snot gland. Pluto (427-347BC) was said to have debated and believed we are all born knowing everything we know, all our behaviours and knowledge we have when we are born. Unlike Aristotle(384-322BC) who believed we are all born with a ‘tabula rasa’ which is the Greek saying for blank slate, and all our knowledge and behaviours are learnt through are experiences and the environment around us. Aristotle also produced the first psychology text book in 350BC (De anima). This theory was still believed in the 1600’s, john Locke (1632-1704) also believed in the ‘tabula rasa’ theory. In the middle ages (400-1500AD) intellectual life was mostly dominated by Christian theologises who believed the explanation for everything in life and the mind was either an act of god or an act of the devil.
The first psychology laboratory was opened at the University of Leipeg, Germany by William Wundt in 1879. Wundt and his co-worker attempted to carry out investigations through introspection. Introspection is analysing one person’s conscious thoughts and feelings, this is also the way we all self-reflect on a situation. This was done in controlled conditions but had very little ecological validity. They put theories to the test that dated back thousands of years.
…Wundt believed that conscious mental states could be scientifically studied through the systematic manipulation of antecedent variables and analysed by carefully controlled techniques of introspection….(Gross, R 2005)
By the early twentieth century there was some serious issues with what they were saying.
Behaviourist approach
The behaviourist approach is an observable approach to studying the human mind. Early experiments were on animals such as rats and pigeons. The animal would be put in a controlled environment and set tasks to do for a reward. This type of experiment was called classic conditioning. One of the first psychologists to describe this way of behaviour was Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. He conducted an experiment on a dog. He realised by putting food in front of a dog made the dog salivate. This was an unconditioned response to an unconditioned stimulus, in other words it happened naturally. After realising this, he rang a bell and the dog didn’t respond at all. He then presented the bell and the food together, which gave an unconditional response but it was because of the food at this point. After several attempts of giving the food with the bell, he took the food away and just rang the bell. This time the bell alone made the dog salivate, which means he was giving a conditioned response to a conditioned stimulus. In effect he had been taught this behaviour. So this...

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