Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: History of Psychology ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: History of Psychology
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: lgl1-ga
List Price: $125.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2003 12:11 PDT
Expires: 24 Nov 2003 11:11 PST
Question ID: 269649
Text: Hergenhahn, B.R. (2001), An Introduction to the History of
Psychology 4th edition.

Background: In the study of the evolution of psychological thought and
the development of the history of psychology, from the early Greeks to
the present, a theoretical model which conceptualizes this development
as having occurred in three separate or distinct "waves"
(cycles/phases) of expansion and contraction. In each of these "waves
of development", we see an expansion of the existing zeitgeist or
paradigm, and the establishment of a specific number of (usually five)
new perspectives or "schools of thought" on the essential nature of
human nature.

Question 1: The "third wave" of expansion resulted in the
establishment of six new contemporary perspectives, which developed in
response to the restrictions associated with "Structuralism". Discuss
any five of these six contemporary (i.e., Modern) schools of thought
concerning the essential nature of human nature. Be sure that you
include a discussion of the general attributes, which characterize
each school, and describe the general contributions of at least one
individual associated with each of the five schools of thought.

Question 2: Where do you think contemporary psychology is headed in
the next (i.e., 4th) wave of expansion?

Notes: Based on the research that I have conducted, I believe (but am
not certain) that the six schools of thought are as listed below. I
have also included the individual(s) associated with each school of
1. Functionalism - William James
2. Behaviorism - John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov
3. Neobehaviorism - B.F. Skinner, Edward Tolman, Clark Hull
4. Gestalt Psychology - Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Kohler,
Kurt Lewin, Karl Lashley
5. Psycholoanalysis - Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung
6. Humanistic (Third-Force) Psychology - Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers
Subject: Re: History of Psychology
Answered By: leader-ga on 26 Oct 2003 20:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello lgl1-ga:

It was a pleasure to answer this question. I have provided the
explanation of five theories according to your instructions. I also
provided an added profile of the founder. Please notice that both of
your questions have been answered and the reference of the data and
the books that I consulted is given at the end. I hope this will help.
Please clarify, if you are not satisfied.
Thank you for understanding. 


Following is the answer.



Functionalism is among the early theories of Psychology that developed
in the
late ninteenth century. It's founder is William James who was a
professor at
the Harvard University and taught the very first course at the
William James studied Darwin's theory of evolution extensively and was
fond of Darwin's explanation of the theory. Inspired, William James
his theorey,called Functionalism on the basis of Darwin's study. 

William James was impressed with Darwin's idea that physical
among human being developed because they served a certain puropose.
to William's Theory of Functionalism, human traits such as thinking,
learning and remembering evolved and developed overtimes because these
charracteristics served a certain puropse. According to William James,
were able to survive because of these characteristics. It is also a
well known
fact that these functions are related to conciousness and help
function human
mind, therefore the theory of William James was called, Functionalism.

The member of this group, Functionalism, beleive that it is important
to study
the functions of the brain rather than studying its structure.
According to
these Psychologists, it is important to pay study the brain as a
They compare the brain with a flowing stream. If we look at the stream
as a
whole it is easy to not only appreciate its beauty but also we can
the basic functions that the stream serve. On the other hand, if we
take the
individual particles (molecules) of the water and try to study them,
it will
not provide us any indication of the usefulness of the stream. We can
benefit from the stream by studying its practical uses i.e. how may we
use it
to irrigate land and how may we use it in a landscape architectre?
individual particles will provide us with little information and waste
natural asset that can be put to many practical uses.

Similarly, in his world reknown book, 'The Principles of Psychology',
James elaborated his idea of 'Pragmatism' which states the practical
usage of
the things in our world. Functionalism, according to his book is a
field that
reasons the usage of every human actions in the real world. Behind
every human
action there is an underlying reason and the role of the functionalism
is to
find out that reason and how did the brain function to come out with
underlying reason. In fact, parts of functionalism very much survive
to this day as scientist use the term 'cognitive process' to describe
functions of human conciousness.

About the Founder

William James not only graduated from the Harvard but taught there for
thirty five years. He came into the public limelight by writing his
book, 'The Principles of Psychology', in 1890. He mass produced other
works in the later stages of life which became the basis of
and were adopted by such great psychologists as Edmund Husserl,
Russell, John Dewey, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Despite ill health,
his lifetime James believed in resolving issues by pragmatism and look
the world through a practical approach to life. It is these principles
allowed William James to work tirelessly and at the same time posses a
and a playful personality. 


Behaviorism is one of those groups that was also influenced by the
theorey. According to this group of Psychologists, human reaction are
in large
part due to the learning that comes from experiencing different

The foundation of behaviorism is associated with the Russian
scientsist Ian
Pavlov, at the same time when William James was writing his famous
book in the
1890's. Behaviorism is a theory that was founded on the basis of an 
experimental incident. Ian Pavlov and his team was working on the
reaction of
Dog's sliva in the mouth during eating. This experiment was being
conducted to
study the digestive system of the human beings. During the
experiments, Ian
Pavlov noticed a pecularity that after some experiments, whenever the
food was
brought for the dogs, the dogs began to slivate even before the food
was put
in their mouth. This simple reaction fascinated the scientist so much
that he
devoted his whole life to guage its implications on human reations. In
case of the dog, he learned from many experiences that the food that
had been
brought into the room was for him. He could have learn this either by
timing of the food provided or by some other means.

Ian Pavlvov called this reaction, conditioning and went to conduct a
of experimetns each proving that even the inherited reflex can be
changes with
experiencing a certain stimuli. Ian Pavlov and his team thus founded
the new
field of Psychology called behaviorism that stated that human behavior
generally not inborn but it is learned from the experience of its

Although, Ian Pavlov is said to be the founder of Behaviorism but it
was one
of his admirers, John B. Watson who in writing explained that human
beings are
effected by their experiences. He also popularised the term,
'Behaviorism' by
publishing many research papers. According to John B. Watson,
need only to study the reactions of human beings to better understand
personalities, they do not need to ponder over the conciousness and
working becasue human mind is very complex and it just cannot be

About the Founder

Ian Pavlvo was born in a strict christian family in 1849. His initial
plan was
to follow his father as a priest in Russian Orthodox church but he 
relinquished his plan to study medicine. He got his medical degree in
1882 at
the age of thirty three and extensively studied the human digestive
system for
twenty years. He recieved the Nobel prize for his contribution to this
in 1904. But, what really made Ian Pavlov famous around the world was
study of classical conditioning which later became the basis of
He published more than 500 research papers on classical conditioning
his lifetime to lay the groundwork of Psychology's new theory.


Many German scientists are known to help Gestalt Theory evolve. Among
are Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler. The most
prominent of
these was Max Wertheimer whose studies helped bring the theorey to the

The Gestalt Psychologists believe that the human psychology can only
understood as a 'Whole' not by dividing the human actions and than
them part by part. Gestalt is a German word that means,
The theorey was developed by the psychologists who did not beleive in
early theory of structurilsm where the idea was that the human
can be studied by examining individual reactions of the human mind.
proponent of this theory dictates that the human mind can only be
as a whole. 

Gestalt Psychologists conducted many experiments to prove their point.
of the most famous experiment was the 'Phi Phenomenon'. In the
the scientists exposed their subjects to two lights that were
presented in
a rapid succession (On and Off). Both of the lights were stationary
and at a
distance from each other. The subjects, thaught that there was only
light that moved from place to place where In fact there were two
The psychologist proved that the perception of movement was caused by
lights rather than one. According to them, movement was a part of the
whole perception of the human conciousness and it can only be studied
examining the interaction of both lights on the human mind. In this
the lightening phenomenon tricked the human mind and it could only be
understood by telling the subjects the 'whole' process.

About the Founder

Max Wertheimer taught Psychology at the University of Frankfurt. He
born in Czech Republic but travelled througout Europe in the persuit
intellectual studies. Eventually, he settled in Germany and after 
recieving his doctorate degree in 1904, started conducting research in
field of Psychology. Never impressed by the early theories of
Psychology, he
strived to prove the contamporary theorist wrong and came out with the
of the Phi Phenomenon in 1912, to elaborate his viewpoints. Dr.
was involved im many experiments on the evolution of 'Gestalt' where
co-workers and famous psychologists Koffka and Kohler helped him.
Later in
his life, he moved to the United States to get rid of the Nazi Regime
Germany and did research on the theory of learning. 


Sigmond Freud is considered to be the founder of this vastly different
the earlier theories. According to the baiscs of this theorey, it is
not the
human conciousness that play a part in forming a personality but
rather the
hidden unconcious part of the mind. Unlike, other psychologists,
Freud worked with hundreds of patients who were being diagnosed with
illness and stress. 

Sigmond Freud theorized that humans, as a child, face many problems
difficult situations that remain imbeded in their mind and play a 
significant role later in their lifetime. During the lifetime, if
problem persist,they continue to haunt the human mind. The actions of
are mostly dependent on two motives, sexual and aggressive ones. If
motives are not fulfilled the humans can not live a balanced life.
later psychologist in this field believed that other factors such as
acceptance play as much a role as these two.

The basis of the Psychoanalysis is the concept of unconcious mind. The
researchers believe that we should study the innate and hidden motives
the human mind rather than studying outward bahavior such as the
process of
learning and thinking. To these psychologists, problems can be
resolved by
diagnosing the repressive feelings of the human subjects. For example,
it is
important to learn what is the cause of the problems associated with a
patient. Once the problem is identified, psychoogists than can work
with the
patient to try to resolve the negative feelings of the patient.

It is noteable that the modern followers of the Psychanalysis have
different views from its founder but they all agree on one point that
unconcious or hidden part of the brain is responsible for the behavior
of a
certain individual. Psychic therapies are famous in Western Countries
patients are asked to reveal their feeling in multiple sessions with
psychologists. The high cost associated with these therapies resulted
in it
being popular only in the developed countries. Even in these developed
nations, the theory is far from being very popular.

About the Founder

Sigmong Freud was born in 1856 in Austria where he spent most of his
He started his medical career as an assistant to a famous
Psychologist, Dr.
Joseph Breuer. His theory of Psychoanalysis has deep roots in the
of Dr. Breuer and one of his patients Anna O. Sigmond saw Ana O's step
by step
treatment by Dr. Breuer and was a witness to their love affair. This
affair very much formed the basis of Sigmond's theory that the sexual
aggressive motives play the foremost role in the unconcious mind. He
to work in the same hospital for years where he drew many sympathisers
helped him gain popularity by dictating his point of view. In 1933,
Freud moved to London due to the unrest against Jews in Austria where
continued to preach his theory unitl his death, six years later.


Humanistic psychology is a modern concept that is similar to
The main difference between the Humanistic approach and Psychoanalysis
is that
the followers of Humanistic Approach beleive that unconcous as well as
concious min, both play an equal role in shaping up the human
behavior. The
founders of this new theory is said to be Abraham Maslow and Carl

The humanistic psychologist agree that there are repressive feelings
in the
unconcious part of the brain that have to be overcome in order to
enjoy a
healthy lifestyle but they also beleive in the fact that humans create
own fortune by their reactions. Therefore, it is vital to study human
that evolve from a mix of unconcious and concious part of the brain.

Abraham Maslow was the first one who brought this idea into the public
He was a firm proponent of the self-fulfilment of the human being.
stated in his studies that every human being tries to fulfil his
needs. The
need for acceptance, love and relationship, among others. When these
needs are
not met, they feel stress and harsh emotions. He also beleived that
society doesn't provide enough chances to everyone for total
fulfilment, as a
result we push such troubling information into our subconciousness
where it
resides until someone comes to fulfil the need.

About the Founder

Abraham Maslow is credited to be the first psychologist who wrote
about the
need of 'fulfilment' in the human beings. His theory of Human
Motivation was
published in 1943 which attracted attention of masses. In 1954, his
'Motivation and Personality' confirmed him as the leader in Humanistic
approach. Abraham Maslow died in 1970 but his work has inspired many
in the
modern league of Psychology.




Psychology has seen many changes over the years. From the earliest
theory of
structuralism to the modern psychology, scientists have presented
point of views. Although, different but most modern psychologists
agree that
the focus of attantion is the human mind and if somehow we can control
actions by understanding even a part of the complex pattern of
we may be headed towards a much better world.

The twenty first century experts beleive that it is the concept of 
self-actualization that one need to understand. If a patient can
his behavior and is motivated to produce a change, it will work.They
beleive that the human mind is a complex machine and its functions
such as
dreams, supernormal experiences, creativity play vital role in the

Whatever, the field of Psychology they belong to, the advancement in 
science and technology has provided these scientists new tools that
enhance their understanding of the functions of the brain. Not only,
technology but new data gathering techniques are helping psychologists
gather more accurte data of the subject.New methods of dealing with
patients have gained acceptance, which include physical and mental
excercise and mediation. It is the first time in the history of
that medicines have been approved to control the behavior of the human
beings. These advanced medicines not only subdue the patient but help
fight the negative feelings originating in the brain cells. 

With the advent new tools and computer technology, psychologist are 
reluctant to believe in the complete accuracy of the earlier theories.
are of the  view that there is much more in the human mind that is
Most of them now believe that there are mainly three main reasons for
behavior change in humans. These are Physical, Social and

The physical structure of the body influence the behavior to a greter
Thus a person with a physically fit body is likely to experience a
normal or a
healthy lifestyle. Another reason is the self-concept that a person
has of his
personality. If a person thinks that he is socially accepted in the
society, he
is better able to face the problem with the help of social
third being the Psychological factor that constitute concious and
mind and is relatively complex to understand.

Modern Psychologists are using such techniques as Yoga, Dance, Music
Breathing Excercises to subdue the negative energies. They also think
social techniques such as manipulating social factors and altering 
relationships can help the person achieve satisfaction.

We are seeing the future of Psychology change. With the advent of
new research methods and advance medicine, psychologists are persuing
limits of human anatomy. Equiped with new technology we might see a
wave of expansion which might be very different from the early
approaches to
understand the human mind. 


Myers G David (2003), Psychology 7th edition.

Lahey B. Benjamin (2001), Psychology - An Introduction 7th edition.

Hergenhahn, B.R. (2001), An Introduction to the History of
Psychology 4th edition.


William James


Gestalt Psycology

Sigmond Freud

Abraham Maslow

Humanistic Approach

Modern Psychology and its future

Clarification of Answer by leader-ga on 26 Oct 2003 20:41 PST
Please ignore the error in the format that occurred due to the word
pad application. If you need, I will repost it.


lgl1-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
I am very impressed with this answer. Just as I have been impressed
with all of the answers that I have received through Google.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy