Major psychological theories

Saul McLeodupdated There are various approaches in contemporary psychology.

Major psychological theories

This definition enjoyed widespread currency for decades. However, this meaning was contested, notably by radical behaviorists such as John B. Watsonwho in his manifesto defined the discipline of psychology as the acquisition of information useful to the control of behavior.

Also since James defined it, the term more strongly connotes techniques of scientific experimentation. History of psychology The ancient civilizations of EgyptGreeceChinaIndiaand Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology.

Historians note that Greek philosophers, including ThalesPlatoand Aristotle especially in his De Anima treatise[14] addressed the workings of the mind. This body of knowledge involves insights drawn from introspection and observation, as well as techniques for focused thinking and acting.

It frames the universe as a division of, and interaction between, physical reality and mental reality, with an emphasis on purifying the mind in order to increase virtue and power.

Chinese scholarship focused on the brain advanced in the Qing Dynasty with the work of Western-educated Fang Yizhi —Liu Zhi —and Wang Qingren — Wang Qingren emphasized the importance of the brain as the center of the nervous system, linked mental disorder with brain diseases, investigated the causes of dreams and insomnia, and advanced a theory of hemispheric lateralization in brain function.

Divergent Hindu doctrines, and Buddhismhave challenged this hierarchy of selves, but have all emphasized the importance of reaching higher awareness. Yoga is a range of techniques used in pursuit of this goal.

However, Indian doctrines influenced Western thinking via the Theosophical Societya New Age group which became popular among Euro-American intellectuals.

Evolutionary Psychology

In Germany, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz — applied his principles of calculus to the mind, arguing that mental activity took place on an indivisible continuum—most notably, that among an infinity of human perceptions and desires, the difference between conscious Major psychological theories unconscious awareness is only a matter of Major psychological theories.

Christian Wolff identified psychology as its own science, writing Psychologia empirica in and Psychologia rationalis in This notion advanced further under Immanuel Kantwho established the idea of anthropologywith psychology as an important subdivision.

Major psychological theories

However, Kant explicitly and notoriously rejected the idea of experimental psychology, writing that "the empirical doctrine of the soul can also never approach chemistry even as a systematic art of analysis or experimental doctrine, for in it the manifold of inner observation can be separated only by mere division in thought, and cannot then be held separate and recombined at will but still less does another thinking subject suffer himself to be experimented upon to suit our purposeand even observation by itself already changes and displaces the state of the observed object.

However, this discipline did not yet embrace experimentation. Gustav Fechner began conducting psychophysics research in Leipzig in the s, articulating the principle that human perception of a stimulus varies logarithmically according to its intensity.

Wundt, in turn, came to Leipzig University, establishing the psychological laboratory which brought experimental psychology to the world.

Wundt focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components, motivated in part by an analogy to recent advances in chemistry, and its successful investigation of the elements and structure of material.

Stanley Hall who studied with Wundt, formed a psychology lab at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, which became internationally influential. Hall, in turn, trained Yujiro Motora, who brought experimental psychology, emphasizing psychophysics, to the Imperial University of Tokyo.

Catell, who also studied with eugenicist Francis Galtonwent on to found the Psychological Corporation.


Wittmer focused on mental testing of children; Scott, on selection of employees. Structuralism sought to analyze and classify different aspects of the mind, primarily through the method of introspection.

InJames wrote an influential book, The Principles of Psychologywhich expanded on the realm of structuralism, memorably described the human " stream of consciousness ", and interested many American students in the emerging discipline.

This approach is based upon the idea that individuals experience things as unified wholes. Rather than breaking down thoughts and behavior into smaller elements, as in structuralism, the Gestaltists maintained that whole of experience is important, and differs from the sum of its parts.

Other 19th-century contributors to the field include the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghausa pioneer in the experimental study of memorywho developed quantitative models of learning and forgetting at the University of Berlin[32] and the Russian-Soviet physiologist Ivan Pavlovwho discovered in dogs a learning process that was later termed " classical conditioning " and applied to human beings.

William James was one of three Americans among the four hundred attendees. The American Psychological Association was founded soon after, in The International Congress continued to be held, at different locations in Europe, with wider international participation.

Inthe Congress took place at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, attended by hundreds of members of the American Psychological Association [23] Tokyo Imperial University led the way in bringing the new psychology to the East, and from Japan these ideas diffused into China.

University of Michigan psychologist Dorwin Cartwright reported that university researchers began large-scale propaganda research in —, and "the last few months of the war saw a social psychologist become chiefly responsible for determining the week-by-week-propaganda policy for the United States Government.

In the s, the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency to fund research on psychological warfare. Freudian psychoanalysts were expelled and persecuted under the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi Party, and all psychologists had to distance themselves from Freud and Adler.


This psychotherapy aimed to align suitable Germans with the overall goals of the Reich; as described by one physician: Alexander Mitscherlich founded a prominent applied psychoanalysis journal called Psyche and with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation established the first clinical psychosomatic medicine division at Heidelberg University.

Inpsychology was integrated into the required studies of medical students. Thus, university psychology departments trained large numbers of students, for whom positions were made available at schools, workplaces, cultural institutions, and in the military.The theory is not scientific, and can't be proved as it is circular.

Nevertheless, psychoanalysis has been greatly contributory to psychology in that it has encouraged many modern theorists to modify it for the better, using its basic principles, but eliminating its major flaws. 5 Major Perspectives in Psychology Psychology is the scientific study of how we think, feel and behave.

In this lesson, you'll get an overview of the five major perspectives that have guided modern psychological research. Psychology is the scientific study of how we think, feel and behave. In this lesson, you'll get an overview of the five major perspectives that have guided modern psychological research.

In this lesson, you'll get an overview of the five major perspectives that have guided modern psychological research. Psych is a general psychology text adapted to an online guided format, which summarizes the major theories, concepts, and treatment .

When examining psychological theories of crime, one must be cognizant of the three major first is psychodynamic theory, which is centered on the notion that an individual’s early childhood experience influences his or her likelihood for committing future second is behavioral theory.

Rather than seeking global theories of human behavior, as are frequently found in personality theory, social psychology utilizes a wide range of specific theories for .

Major psychological theories
Five Counseling Theories and Approaches - Blog