The Question in the Origins of Psychology is What Drives Us and Why

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The understanding of ourselves and the humans around us has been studied by many great historical scholars such as Aristotle and Descartes. Scholars like these would ask psychological questions about what drives us and why. It was not until the late nineteenth century that psychological research was considered as its own scientific discipline. Psychology began in 1879 when a man named Wilhelm Wundt set up a psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. This laboratory would be considered the birth place of experimental psychology.
Within the laboratory, Wundt independently trained over 180 students. Over 100 of these students came from other countries, and then returned to their native countries with the knowledge of experimental psychology. Of the one-hundred, Edward Titchener returned to the United States and set up his own psychological laboratory at Cornell University. Titchener`s idea was to identify the basic building blocks of the mind. This was later to be known as Structuralism. (Feist and Rosenberg)
Structuralism was the first school of psychology, and it tried to break mental processes in to basic parts. Introspection was used to understand basic levels of consciousness. Structuralism is important because it strongly influenced experimental psychology. (Feist and Rosenberg) Structuralism itself did not last long as a school due to the fact that it was concerned with internal behavior that can`t be observed or measured
Functionalism was formed as a direct reaction from structuralism. Functionalism was greatly influenced by the works of William James and Charles Darwin`s evolutionary theory. Instead of focusing of the elements of consciousness, Functionalism focuses on the purpose of consciousness and its behavior in a mo...

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...y focuses on how the various parts of the brain and how genetic influence behavior and thought processes. (Feist and Rosenberg) The evolutionary perspective focuses on how behaviors and human tendencies are passed down through genes and because of survival instincts, behavioral tendencies evolve over time across generations. (Feist and Rosenberg) The sociocultural perspective recognizes that ethnicity, religion, occupation and socioeconomic class determine how behaviors develop over time. (Feist and Rosenberg)
There are many schools of thought as to how to figure out human nature and the responses we have to our surroundings. Most believe that a combination of these theories best help us understand human nature and behavioral tendencies. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of psychology, we must dive in to the origins of these different perspectives.

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