Tagged: Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt: The Problem of Psychology. 1897

This short excerpt from the beginning of Wundt’s Outlines of Psychology, 1897, discusses the starting point of the discipline of psychology as an empirical discipline. Wilhelm Wundt opened the Institute for Experimental Psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879.  This was the first laboratory dedicated to psychological research, and its opening marks the beginning of modern psychology as a scientific discipline. Wundt is therefore seen as the father of experimental psychology. He separated psychology from philosophy by analyzing the workings of the mind in a more structured way, with the emphasis on objective measurement. He came from...

Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person who acts, thinks, or experiences the world. They believe that an individual’s behavior cannot be separated from her feelings, her intentions, her self-image, or her history.  Overview Unlike the behaviorists, humanistic psychologists believe that humans are not just the product of their environment or their learning history. Humanistic psychologists study a person’s understanding of the meaning of life, and the experiences of growing, teaching, and...

Abraham Maslow: Toward a Psychology of Being. (1955-1957)

Abraham Maslow has become famous as a psychologist for his “hierarchy of needs.” He focuses more on the healthy personality, rather than on forms of psychopathology. He belongs to the tradition of existential-humanistic thinking in America. These extracts from texts written in the middle of the 20th century have not lost any of their insight and freshness. Deficiency motivation and growth motivation (1955) So far as motivational status is concerned, healthy people have sufficiently gratified their basic needs for safety, belongingness, love, respect and self-esteem so that they are motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization (defined as ongoing actualization of...

Stanley Milgram: Obedience to Authority (1974)

During the years 1960-1963 Stanley Milgram carried out some experiments on obedience while working in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Years later, in 1972-1973, he was granted a Fellowship and, while living in Paris, he wrote a book about the results and reflections on those experiments that had already been presented in a shorter form in various scientific journals. The following text is an excerpt from chapter one and chapter 15, where he applies his experimental findings to a massacre in Vietnam (My Lai.) It was published in 1974 as “[easyazon_link identifier=”B01LWV0NY3″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Obedience to Authority[/easyazon_link].” Milgram unmasks in...

Carl Rogers: Freedom to Learn (1969)

What happens when a creative and original psychologist like Carl Rogers writes down his ideas about learning? The following two excerpts are from his book: [easyazon_link identifier=”0024031216″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Freedom to Learn[/easyazon_link], published in 1969. The contains basic ideas on learning from a humanistic perspective, taking the whole person into account. Personal Thoughts on Teaching and Learning (1952) I wish to present some very brief remarks, in the hope that if they bring forth any reaction from you, I may get some new light on my own ideas. My experience is that I cannot teach another person how to teach. To...

Erich Neumann: Depth Psychology and a New Ethic.

Erich Neumann (1905-1960) was born in Berlin. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1927 and then continued to study medicine at the University of Berlin. He met C.G. Jung first in 1933, at a seminar Jung was conducting in Berlin. Jung was fifty-seven years old and already famous for his own brand of psychotherapy. The two men started a correspondence that would continue until Neumann’s death in 1960. A lifelong Zionist, Neumann fled Nazi Germany with his family and settled in Tel Aviv in 1934, where he would become the founding father of analytical psychology...

Rosenhan: On Being Sane In Insane Places

How do we know what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the ability to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. In the research described below, however, David Rosenhan provides evidence to challenge this assumption. What is — or is not –“normal” may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings. in 1973, Rosenhan conducted an experiment by sending eight pseudo-patients into psychiatric hospitals. Once admitted, they acted normal, but they were still treated as insane. He concludes that one cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals. The experiment got...

Psychology: 19th Century Timeline

  1801  Pinel writes text on Moral Therapy 1804  Immanuel Kant dies 1804  Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of France 1807  Hegel completes The Phenomenology of Spirit 1808  Reil coins term “psychiatry” 1810  Gall publishes the first volume of Anatomie et Physiologie du Systèm Nerveux 1811  Sir Charles Bell reports to associates at a dinner party the anatomical separation of sensory and motor function of spinal cord 1815  Napoleon surrenders at Waterloo; the Peace of Paris ends the Napoleonic Wars; the Congress of Vienna firms up the old European monarchies 1816  Johann Friedrich Herbart publishes Lehrbuch zur Psychologie. Herbart’s text introduces the concept of repression. 1819  Schopenhauer writes “The World as Will and Idea.” 1822  Francis Magendie publishes an article which postulates the separation...

Erik Erikson

The following summary is based on: McLeod, S. A. (2008). Erik Erikson. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html Introduction Erikson’s ideas were greatly influenced by Freud, going along with Freud’s ideas about the structure and topography of personality. Different from Freud, who focused on the unconscious, Erikson addressed the development of the ego in psycho-social stages. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that take place within the ego itself, whereas Freud emphasizes more the internal conflicts between unconscious and superego. According to Erikson, the ego develops as it successfully resolves crises that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense...

Jean Piaget: Genetic Epistemology. 1968

Source: “Genetic Epistemology” is the title of a series of lectures delivered by Piaget at Columbia University in 1968. I am quoting the first lecture below. 1 GENETIC EPISTEMOLOGY attempts to explain knowledge, and in particular scientific knowledge, on the basis of its history, its sociogenesis, and especially the psychological origins of the notions and operations upon which it is based. These notions and operations are drawn in large part from common sense, so that their origins can shed light on their significance as knowledge of a somewhat higher level. But genetic epistemology also takes into account, wherever possible, formalisation...

Thomas Szasz: The Myth of Mental Illness. 1960

This essay from 1960 was first published in American Psychologist, 15, 113-118. It questions the fundamental assumptions that are implicit in the idea of “mental health”, or “mental illness.” What do these constructs really mean, and why do we have them? Introduction My aim in this essay is to raise the question “Is there such a thing as mental illness?” and to argue that there is not. Since the notion of mental illness is extremely widely used nowadays, inquiry into the ways in which this term is employed would seem to be especially indicated.  Mental illness, of course, is not...

Wilfred Bion: Notes on memory and desire. 1967

Bion’s “Notes on memory and desire” is a short text that challenges many assumptions about how to do psychoanalysis. It systematically applies the idea that we are always in the unconscious to the practice of psychoanalysis.