* chpt. 1
Psychology is defined as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict, and control the behaviors and mental process of both humans and animals. The goals of psychology can be thought of in terms of what, why, when, and how behaviors and mental processes occur.
The field of psychology is relatively new (around 125 years old) but has its origins in the much older fields of physiology and philosophy. Wilhelm Wundt formed the first psychology laboratory in Germany in 1879. Wundt used the method of objective introspection in an attempt to objectively study human thought processes and mental activities. Because of his innovative efforts, Wundt is often referred to as the father of psychology. The reality, however, is that multiple people in multiple locations began studying psychology and promoting their particular perspective around the same time. Five historical perspectives are discussed in the text.
Edward Titchener, a student of Wundt’s, expanded on Wundt’s ideas and brought the method of introspection to the U.S. Titchener called his approach structuralism because his ultimate goal was to describe the precise structure of our mental processes. At the same time in the U.S., William James was focused on discovering how our mental processes help us to function in our daily lives and began to promote his viewpoint known as functionalism. The terms structuralism and functionalism are no longer used to describe specific viewpoints in the field of psychology. Meanwhile, back in Germany, the Gestalt psychologists were studying how sensation and perception create a whole pattern that is greater than the sum of the individual components. Max Wertheimer was a major proponent of Gestalt psychology. In neighboring Austria, Sigmund Freud developed his theory of psychoanalysis based on the concept of