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          Homepage]  PSY 101 Psychology in General

How well do you know psychology already?
Take 15-item True/False "Conceptions of Psychology" quiz which has questions taken from many different areas of psychology.

Score Quiz (Fr. Hevern will provide the right answers)

Discuss results and implications of quiz

Psychology's History

General Timeline of Psychology

Psychology's Early History (up to the 1950s)
(pp. 3-11)
1. The Birth of a New Science
  • Psychology grew out of the study of what was called "natural philosophy" and physiology (the study of the body) in the 19th century
  • Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) founded the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879. Psychology moves to be a separate science
  • Wundt's focus: the scientific study of conscious experience

2. The Battle of Differing Schools of Psychology: Structuralism vs. Functionalism

  • Structuralism (pioneered by Wundt's student, Edward Titchener): sought to analyze the basic elements of human consciousness and how they were related to each other. What was the structure of consciousness?
  • Functionalism (influenced by Harvard psychologist William James [1842-1910]) argued that psychology should study the function or purpose of consciousness. Why does consciousness work the way it does? What purposes does it fulfill?
    • William James noted that our consciousness is made up of a continuous flow of ideas and thoughts, that is, "the stream of consciousness"
    • He published his monumental book, Principles of Psychology, in 1890: in it James offers an important theory of emotions as well as an crucial analysis of the meaning of the human self (self as the material self, social self, spiritual self, and pure ego). Believer in free will.

3. Freud and the Unconscious

  • The Vienna neurologist, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) proposes that our behavior is primarily determined by our unconscious which contains ideas, memories, and desires that are below the level of consciousness but cause us to do many things.
  • Freud's theory came to be known as psychoanalysis and was enormously influential from the early 20th century through to the second half of the 20th century. Many of his ideas (e.g., ego, id, unconscious, talk therapy, defense mechanisms, slips of the tongue [Freudian slips] and other ideas have passed into Western culture).

4. Behaviorism Challenges Psychology

  • The psychologist, John B. Watson (1878-1958) challenged all the previous forms of psychology and argued that the science of psychology should only investigate observable behavior (that is, stop looking at consciousness or the unconscious which are too vague to be scientific). This form of psychology, influential even to this day, is known as behaviorism.
  • Behaviorism argues that we are products of how the environment around us (and NOT heredity) have shaped and made us.
  • Principles of behaviorism are often explored by studying animals like rats or pigeons.

5. Skinner's Behaviorism Questions Free Will

  • The Harvard psychologist, B. F. (Burrhus Frederick) Skinner (1904-1990) extended the principles of behaviorism by studying a simple claim: any living organism tends to do those things that led to positive outcomes and not to do those things that led to negative outcomes. While simple, Skinner's theory of positive reinforcement and punishment is a powerful explanation for many human behaviors.
  • Skinner rejected the notion of free will by claiming that our behavior is completely controlled by external stimuli.

6. Humanists Revolt: Get back to the human person

  • After the Second World War (late 1940s and into 1950s), in response to the claims of psychoanalysis (we are driven by unconscious forces) and behaviorism (we are controlled by external stimuli), a new group of psychologists called "humanists" argued that human beings are different from other animals, particularly in exercising freedom and showing a potential to develop or grow in new and more advanced and positive ways.

The 5 Most Important Concerns & Trends in Psychology
since the 1950s
(pp. 11-15 in text)

1. Psychology Comes of Age as a Profession

2. Psychology Returns to Its Roots: Interest in Cognition and Physiology

[Thinking Symposium

3. Ps[World Population 2002 proportionate to actual
          population]ychology Opens Up to the Whole World:
      The M
ove to Cultural Diversity in Research

dna molecule4. Th[E. O. Wilson]e Emergence of Evolutionary Psychology

Martin Seligman (2007 APA
                Convention)5. Psychology Moves in a Positive Direction

So, what does our textbook author propose is the current meaning or definition of psychology?
"Psychology is the science that studies behavior and the physical and cognitive processes that underlie behavior AND it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook: Psychologists

What do psychologists do?
"Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments."

Types of Psychologists
  • Clinical Psychologists "assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders"
    • Health Psychologists
    • Neuropsychologists
  • Counseling Psychologists  "help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, at the workplace, or in their community."
  • Developmental Psychologists "study the psychological progress and development that take place throughout life"
  • Forensic Psychologists "use psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice system to help judges, attorneys, and other legal specialists understand the psychological aspects of a particular case."
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologists "apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles, and employee morale"
  • School Psychologists "apply psychological principles and techniques to education and developmental disorders"
  • Social Psychologists "study how peopleís mindsets and behavior are shaped by social interactions."
  • Psychologists also become university, college, and high school teachers
Median Pay (2016)
  • $75,230 per year
  • $36.17 per hour

Number of Jobs in U.S. 2016 = 166,600

Job Outlook for 2016 to 2026 = 14% growth (faster than average) = 22,600 jobs

Work Environments

Some psychologists work independently, conducting research, consulting with clients, or working with patients. Others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and social workers or in school settings, working with students, teachers, parents, and other educators. Those in private practice often work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients.

Psychologists Activities      Psychologists Employment Settings

How to Become A Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a masterís degree is sufficient for some positions. Psychologists in independent practice also need a license.