History & Systems of Psychology: Course Description

The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with the various methods of inquiry, terminologies, and theoretical systems that comprise the history of psychology. A broader view is used to introduce the modern era of psychology and its use. These include: structuralism, functionalism, Gestalt, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, and phenomenological/existential approaches.

Psychology in Historical Perspective: Early Developments

  • Examine the roots in early philosophy that lead to modern psychology.
  • Identify major philosophers in the western tradition that were primary contributors to the formation of psychology as a discipline.
  • Explore the development of the science of psychology during the 19th century.

The Mind/Body Relationships of Psychology

  • Examine the historical elements of the study of the physical body and brain in antiquity.
  • Describe major developments in medicine and biological studies that contributed to the early field of psychology.
  • Identify major historical steps toward the mapping of brain structures that are associated with behavioral processes.

Mental Illness, Mental Health, and Mental Function in the 18th and 19th Centuries

  • Identify historical explanations for abnormal behavior and mental illness.
  • Identify links between early theories of mental functioning in philosophy and early concepts of mental illness.
  • Define the links between the physical body and mental illness from antiquity to the 20th century.

The Formation of Psychology as a Discipline 1850-1950

  • Examine the role of evolution theory and naturalist science in the development of psychology in the 19th century.
  • Explore the relationship between the practice of medicine and the development of clinical applications of psychology.
  • Identify the role of individual differences in the development of psychology and the contributions of Francis Galton.
  • Describe the development of psychology experimental laboratories in Europe and the United States.

Psychoanalytic Schools of Psychology

  • Examine the development and growth of the psychoanalytic tradition in psychology.
  • Identify the major theoretical contributors to psychoanalytic schools of psychology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Define what is meant by psychoanalytic models for psychology and how these are used to explain human behavior.

The Development of Psychology in America

  • Identify major contributors to American psychology in the late 19th century.
  • Examine the differences in American and European psychology at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Explore the influences that impacted the development of American Behaviorism in the early 20th century.
  • Identify early theorists of the structuralist and functionalist schools of psychology. 

Logical Positivism and American Behaviorism in Psychology

  • Identify the major contributors to Behaviorism in American psychology.
  • Distinguish between Classical Conditioning and Instrumental Learning in the early American Schools of Psychology.
  • Examine the development of Operant Behaviorism during the 20th century.

Early Developments in the Cognitive Psychology Paradigm

  • Identify major points of change from the behavioral to the cognitive paradigm in academic psychology.
  • Explore early research on memory and the development of this line of research into modern cognitive-based models.
  • Examine major tenets of the Cognitive Psychology Model in relationship to modern psychology research.

The Developing BioPsychoSocial Model of Psychology

  • Identify the central issues of biological psychology pertaining to human development and psychological function.
  • Examine the role of social psychology in the BioPsychoSocial Model.
  • Explain the interrelationship between biological foundations, individual psychological characteristics, and social psychological phenomena.

Effects of Developing Technology on Psychology Research and Practice

  • Examine the changes in technology over the 20th century that impacted psychology as it has developed to the present.
  • Identify major technologies that have contributed to advancements in the understanding of brain and behavior relationships.
  • Examine the role of computers in advancing psychology research.
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