History of Psychology and Importance of Psychoanalysis


Psychology evolved from philosophy, science, medicine and theology. Psychology evolved out of a coalescence of natural science and the branch of philosophy known as epistemology or the theory of knowledge. In the starting, psychology was a 3-way synthesis of physics, physiology and mental philosophy. The roots of psychology go back to Egypt and Egyptian mystery system. Early psychology focused on understanding and measuring and the mind. Later psychology focused on measuring and understanding behavior. Observation interpretations of data were the business of the philosopher.

As philosophers increased their knowledge, they developed specialties within the field of philosophy. Psychology was housed under philosophy as Mental Philosophy which was concerned with psychological principles. The other specialties under philosophy were Natural Philosophy which dealt with the areas of physics, chemistry and the natural sciences; and Moral Philosophy which dealt with the social sciences and ethical considerations. Psychology did not become an independent discipline separate from philosophy until the late 19th century. The search for knowledge was the early philosopher scientists ” the desire to know.

Psychology was interwoven in early sciences and philosophy.The history of psychology is a development from a philosophical matter of life to a more scientific study using systematic modes. The globe’s first psychological laboratory was founded by Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig in 1897. There’s been various definition of psychology and epistemological philosophy of psychology from a pre-scientific to scientific era. Where researchers started to rely on experimentation and controlled observations to study the human mind psychology.

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They started to obtain their own identity and separate from philosophical roots. The development of psychology as a science can be seen in various factors of human behaviors development manifesting into various schools of thoughts. Scientific study was happen in several psychological laboratories. During this period, that is when the debate over to explain and describe the human mind and behavior.

Psychology from various perspectives

Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, according the American Psychological Association. It is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior. The term behavior refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe. The term mind refers to internal states and process such as thoughts and feelings that cannot be seen directly and that must be inferred from observable, measurable responses. The word psychology refers from the Greek words psyche its means the soul and logos and it is means to study or know about. Thus, psychology was defined as the study of the soul.Behavioral psychology is the study of the connection between behavior and mind. It is a theory of learning in accordance with the idea that all behaviors are received through conditioning. Conditioning happens through interplay with the environment.

  • Behaviorists believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shape our actions.
  • Cognitive Psychology is the scientific investigate of the mind, its function as an information processor. Namely, cognitive psychology is interested in what is occurring within our minds that links input (stimulus) and output (response). It is included the study of internal mental processes. The thing that go on inside the brain, including, language, perception, problem solving, thinking, memory, attention, and learning.
  • Psychoanalysis is described as a set of psychological therapeutic techniques and theories that have their theories origin in the work of Sigmund Freud. The beliefs of all people possess unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories, is the core idea at the center of psychoanalysis. People are able to experience catharsis and gain insight into their current state of mind, by bringing the content of the unconscious into conscious awareness. People are the able to relief from psychological disturbances and distress, through this type of process.
  • Epistemology refers to the theory of knowledge, assumptions about knowledge and ways to obtains knowledge. Belief often becomes knowledge while what was considered to be knowledge turns out to be belief. For example, it was hot outside while John was sitting inside and believing that he knew it was cold, then, on investigation, it would turn out that that which he had considered to be knowledge was in belief. Knowledge is belief plus something else’. In addition to some mental act, a criterion of truth is associated with knowledge: perhaps knowledge is true belief’. It has been said that to know something it is not sufficient that one should believe it and that it should be true; one must, in addition, have good reason to believe it: knowledge is justified true belief’.

Textbook definitions frequently include among the tasks of epistemology the identifications of sources of knowledge, that is, ways in which knowledge can be acquired. This strongly suggests that epistemology is concerned with the psychological processes on knowledge acquisition, or more generally with belief acquisition. Such an interpretation is confirmed by the historical literature, which is replete with.

Differences between pre-scientific and scientific era

The differences between pre-scientific and scientific era of psychology is pre-science emphasis on theory of philosophy and Science era psychology refer to biology and medicine. In pre-scientific era, primitive peoples assumed that psychological problems were caused by the presence of evil spirits. The famous Greek physician Hippocrates thought that personality was made up of four temperaments: sanguine (cheerful and active), melancholic (sad), choleric (angry and aggressive), and phlegmatic (calm and passive). These temperaments were influenced by the presence of humors, or fluids, in the body. For instance, a sanguine person was thought to have more blood than other people. In that era, no paradigm has evolved and there are several schools of thought.

In India, Buddha wondered how sensations and perception combined to form ideas. In china, Confucius (551-479 B.C.) stressed the power of ideas and the importance of an educated mind. Hebrew Scriptures linked mind and emotion to the body. Socrates (469-399B.C.) and his student Plato (428-348B.C.) believed the mind was separate from the body, the mind continued to exist after death, and ideas were innate. Knowledge is born within us for examining one’s thoughts and feelings. Aristotle (384-322B.C.) suggested that the soul is not separable from the body and that knowledge (ideas) grow from experience and stored in our memories.

In science era, psychology has led an active life, developing gradually into a true science. The formal beginning of psychology is generally set at 1879. In that year, the first laboratory devoted to the experimental study of psychological phenomena was established in Germany by Wilhelm Wundt; at about the same time, the American William James set up his laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kline, 1988, sees psychology as having several paradigms. In this era, it has produced a number of conceptual models ” systems of interrelated ideas and concepts used to explain phenomena. Some of these models have been discarded.

Each of the models provides a distinct perspective, emphasizing different factors. Psychologists also find that more approaches may useful in understanding behavior.When psychological science was born, Wundt and Tichener studied the elements (atoms) of the mind by conduction experiments at Leipzig, Germany, in1879. He establishes the first psychology experimental lab to introspection and lab observations. With Edward Titchener developed structuralism conscious experience is broke into objective sensations and subjective feelings and the mind functions by combining the two. Influenced by Darwin, William James established the school of functionalism, which opposed structuralism. Consciousness works to help people adapt to their environments. He wrote the first modern book of Psychology in 1890 ” The Principles of Psychology. Sigmund Freud and his followers emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind and its effects on human behavior. Watson (1913) and later Skinner emphasized the study of overt behavior as the subject matter of scientific psychology. Maslow and Rogers emphasized current environmental influences on our growth potential and our need for love and acceptance. We define psychology today as the scientific study of behavior (what we do) and mental processed (inner thoughts and feelings).

Beneficial Psychology as science

Psychology is usually defined as the scientific study of human behavior and mental process. It takes the scientific approach to understanding human behavior. The major feature of science in psychology is changed from human thought to behavior to cognitive processes. Watson account for human behavior in terms of classical conditioning. Hypothesis testing making and testing specific predictions deduced from the theory. They use of empirical methods to collect data relevant to the theory. Scientific discovery begins with unbiased observations. From the resulting data and sense data generalized statements of fact will emerge. The essential feature of scientific activity is the use of empirical methods. Science discovers the objective truth about the world. Science involves the steady accumulation of knowledge.The study of child development involves educators and pediatrician, research into deviant behavior involves sociologists and criminologists. The central location of academic psychology among the life sciences, medical sciences, social and human sciences is underlined by the fact that psychology is perhaps the only discipline whose members apply routinely to all three Canadian granting agencies ” NSERC, SSHRC, and MRC.

Being a discipline that spans the cognitive sciences, neurosciences, health sciences, social sciences, and human sciences, psychology is thus uniquely positioned to examine the full continuum of human behavior and to generate systematic knowledge and information bearing on the health and well-being of Canadians and on Canada’s ability to create sustainable employment and economic growth.Psychology is extremely broad, merging into sociology anthropology at one end of its spectrum and into neuropharmacology and neuroanatomy at the other. Neuronal regeneration after stroke or areas of the brain involved in memory processed. Some universities have been organized psychology as a life science and psychology as a social science into separate departments. Such a separation is counterproductive in our view; individual differences in genetic inheritance and brain structure are obviously important for cognitive, development, and personality psychologists. These are samples of psychology science projects: Health and well-being. Many major health problems facing Canadians are ultimately attributable to problems with behavior. For example, substance abuse disorders, compulsive gambling, and obesity have behavioral components that must be understood in order to develop better treatment and prevention strategies.

Further, disorders traditionally considered purely physical in nature are increasingly understood as bio-behavioral in nature. For example, poor exercise and diet, both with large behavioral components, are now recognized as significant factors in developing coronary heart disease. As understanding of complex relationships between behavior and health increases, psychology will be recognized as having a large role to play in conceptualizing physical health and illness. Studies of animal learning. Research on animal learning is of interest in its own right and also for clues to human learning.

Bennett Galef has shown that rats learn from others in their colony to prefer certain foods and avoid poisoned bait, and Sara Shettleworth has investigated memory for cached food in birds. Some species of birds can hide hundreds of seeds and recover them months later ” an interesting example of a highly evolved adaptive ability. Bird brains are demonstrably superior to human brains, in some respects at least.Scientific research is often classified as being either basic or applied. Basic research in psychology is conducted primarily for the sake of achieving a more detailed and accurate understanding of human behavior, without necessarily trying to address any particular practical problem. Applied research is conducted primarily to address some practical problem. Research on the effects of cell phone use on driving, for example, applied research on the effect of cell phone use on driving could produce new insights into basic processes of perception, attention, and action.

Impressive psychology school of thoughts

There are many schools of thought that developed during the early years of the twentieth century. Psychoanalysis developed from the study and treatment of mental patients suffering from psychological disorders. The methods used were free association, dream analysis, and projective techniques. This movement started in Vienna under the leadership of Sigmund Freud, and Austrian physician specializing in diseases of the nervous system. Through his clinical practice, Freud developed a very different approach to psychology.

After graduating from medical school, Freud treated patients who appeared to suffer from certain ailments but had nothing physically wrong with them. These patients were not consciously faking their symptoms, and often the symptoms would disappear through hypnosis, or even just by talking. On the basis of these observations, Freud formulated a theory of personality and form of psychotherapy known as psychoanalysis. It became one of the influential school of Western thought of the 20th century. Psychoanalysis is responsible for the attention given to unconscious motivation and child development.The most interesting fact about Freud is how his theory on psychoanalysis helps treat so many people with problems like stress, anxiety, and personality disorders. There is also the fact that his system differed greatly in content and methodology from the traditional experimental psychology at the time (Schultz & Schultz, 2011). A lot of times people are scared of change or they do not like change but that is what believe makes Freud’s work stand out the most.

Even though he did not collect data from controlled experiments or use, statistics to analyze his results his work was still scientific. Through are acceptance and popularity of psychoanalysis, it is apparent that psychoanalysis.Freud’s influence on the field has been deep and lasting, particularly his ideas about the unconscious. He opened up whole new frontiers in psychology and proposed one of the most comprehensive theories of personality ever written, complete with explanations of how the unconscious mind works and how personality develops in the early years of life. Freud’s work led to the development of the first form psychotherapy ” one which has been modified and used by countless therapists throughout the history of psychology. Today, most psychologists agree that people can be profoundly influence by unconscious forces, and that people often have a limited awareness of why they think, feel, and behave as they do.


All the discussed schools of thought in psychology have disappeared today but they have greatly influenced psychology. Psychology of modern times has taken a turn towards eclecticism by selecting the best from each school and working in collaboration with other scientists.


1) Christian Nordqvist (2018) What is psychology and what does it involve?2) Zak Van Straaten (1981) Basic Concepts In Philosophy3) David J.Cole (1985) Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry4) Kendra Cherry (2018) An Overview of Behavioral Psychology5) Saul McLeod (2005) Cognitive Psychology6) Kendra Cherry (2018) What is Psychoanalysis?7) Robert S.Feldman (1992) Elements of Psychology8) Nick Shackleton-Jones (1999) Psychology a New Introduction9) Quebec (1997) Psychology as a Science10) Major Schools of Thought in Psychology. (2016, Aug 05). Retrieved from moose.com/major-schools-of-thought-in-psychology-essay

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History of Psychology and Importance of Psychoanalysis. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/history-of-psychology-and-importance-of-psychoanalysis-essay

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