The History Of Psychology Essay

2154 words - 9 pages

For centuries it has been a common curiosity to fully understand the workings of the mind and many attempts at comprehension have been made by many great thinkers. But due to the many complex aspects of the brain, it has proven a difficult challenge to understand the mind as a whole and the interconnectedness of the myriad of components at play. The work of many notable psychologists, physiologists, and philosophers has helped us establish our modern-day definition of psychology through extensive research on subjects and multiple theories that some of which are employed in use today. But some of the methods used to acquire previous inquiries in psychology have not always been the most considerate means of collecting scientific data and have cast a shadow over part of the history of psychology. In contemporary times though the American Psychological Association has banned some of the preceding methods and has given psychology a more ethical reputation in the eyes of the public. None the less though, by analyzing the history of psychology we can appreciate the established knowledge we have today and the means by which we achieved progress.
Although the definition of psychology has changed throughout the many years of its evolution, our course formally defines psychology as the “scientific study of behavior and mental processes,” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury 3). Psychology’s beginnings can be traced back to a little more than over 2,000 years ago to the famous philosophers, one of such was the Greek, Aristotle. Whom wrote about “sleep, dreams, the senses, and memory,” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury 3) in his book De Anima and many of his formative notions established a foundation for other psychologists to build from. These ideas became central and influential to many of the theories of psychology even centuries after the lifetime of Aristotle. The next break-through in early psychology would not occur until almost one thousand years later with the addition of René Descartes and his doctrine of interactive dualism which states that the “mind and body were separate entities,” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury 3) and they interact to produce “sensations, emotions and other conscious experiences,” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury 3). This idea is still a fascination for psychologists as they continue to further understand the relationship between the body and the mind and how they continuously interact with one another. With modern knowledge and years of research since René Descartes’ time period, the relationship between the mind and body is continuously explained through biological, social, and psychological factors that are shown to be mutually dependent to some degree.
In addition one of the main issues that has spurred much debate throughout the history of psychology and still continues today is the nature versus nurture contention and has become a significant disputation between the opposing viewpoints. Nature refers to the inherent essence of a person such as their...

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