What is psychology? From since Psychology was first recognized asa science in the public eye, the definition has varied immensely however theyall have the same concept. A basic definition of Psychology is; it is thesystematic and scientific study of behaviours and mental processes. Likeeverything that is done, the science of Psychology has four main goals, whichare to initially, describe the various ways an organism behaves, then, explainthe causes of that organism’s behaviour, followed by, predicting how organismswill behave in certain situations and lastly, controlling an organism’sbehaviour. For some reason, Psychology was not always recognized as a science;but more of as a branch of Philosophy and persons who practiced Psychology werenot referred to as Psychologists, but as Philosophers. An important person who was greatly involved in the recognition ofPsychology is Wilhelm Wundt, whom was a physician, physiologist, philosopherand professor, is now considered as the founding father of Psychology due toall of his contributions towards Psychology. Wilhelm Wundt dedicated the veryfirst science lab to Psychology.
Along with this, Wundt was also recognized forintroducing one of the first schools of thought of Psychology known as the Structuralismapproach which is also the first historical approach to Psychology, is thestudy of how even the simplest element, known as sensations and perceptions,make up our conscious mental capabilities. This theory was used for many yearsuntil its methods were found debatable. Following this was the Functionalistschool of thought which was introduced by philosopher William James. TheFunctionalist approach was the study of the function, rather than the structureof consciousness and it highlighted how our minds adapt to our changing environment.
Functionalism stresses on the role and purpose of behaviour in contrast to itsanalysis and description. The Functionalist approach only lasted a short while however,throughout this period it made great contributions to Psychology. Despite thesecontributions, this approach was eventually criticized since it lacked preciseand fixed theories and research mechanisms. Following these two was thePsychoanalysis school of thought which was introduced by Austrian Neurologist,Sigmund Freud who has made multiple contributions to Psychology with histheories and philosophies; so much so that these theories are still followedand used to this day. Since his psychoanalytic theory is still being used tothis day, it has continued to evolve and progress throughout the years and as aresult, has no constant definition. Additional to these is the Gestalt approachwhich focuses on how perception is more than the amount of its parts andstudied how sensations are accumulated into meaningful perceptual incidents.This approach was introduced by Psychologist Max Wertheimer whose aim was todevelop a theory to argue against the structuralism approach and identify itslimitations.
To this day, this approach is still used to depict how individualsperceive objects. Following the historical approaches, are the six modern approaches whichwas introduced by various theorists in later decades. The six approaches are: -the biological approach; this deals with examining the ways that our genes,hormones and nervous system cooperate with our external environments toinfluence our learning methods.
personalities, memory, motivation, emotions andother traits and abilities. Then there is the cognitive approach which focuseson how we develop, collect and utilize information and how the storedinformation stimulates what we attend to, perceive, learn, remember, believeand feel. Another approach is the behavioural approach which seeks to analysehow an organism adapts new behaviours or alters existing ones depending onwhether events in their external environment rewards or punishes thesebehaviours. Additionally, is the Psychoanalytic approach which is grounded onthe certainty that childhood experiences greatly influence the development oflater personality traits and psychological problems, emphasizing on consciousand unconscious fears and desires, motivations and thoughts and how itinfluences our behaviour.
Furthermore, is the humanistic approach whichhighlights that each individual has great liberty in guiding his or her future,a large capability of achieving personal growth, a substantial amount ofessential value, and vast potential for self-attainment. Lastly, is thecross-culture approach which gears it focus to studying the encouragement ofethnic similarities and differences on psychological and social functioning. To conclude, although Psychology was considered as a philosophicalunderstanding in the 1800’s, it is of my belief that the theories all holdcommon interest in Psychology, although they differ in various ways. As theyall target the same psychological issues of the mind’s manipulation; Be it interms of structure, function, or behaviour in order to acquire the knowledge ofhow we do the things we do, why we do the things we do and what is the reactionto the theories of learning and behaviour.