Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The four founders of Psychology

"In 1877, Charles Darwin, the biologist who later put forward the theory of evolution, was doing the first scientific infant-observation study, observing and writing about his son's behaviours and emotions in descriptive psychological terms."  (Open U.)

Darwin was objectively describing and writing down what he was observing about the behaviour of his son; he was annotating all he could observe about one specific behavior, duration, hour, what had happened before, what happened later, all possible information relating one specific event, that`s a scientific infant-observation study.

"Wilhelm Wundt  methods included use of the scientific experimental method, introspection (asking people to think about and report on their inner feelings and experiences), and ethnography (observations of human culture)."  (Open U.)

Introspection proved not to be a very reliable method for making researchs, so today is just part of the history in the evolution of the Psychological science.  But at least Wundt was objectively writing down everything that was reported to him, it meant an effort.

"William James, an American professor trained in philosophy, medicine and physiology, who published the influential Principles of Psychology in 1890, also advocated a multi-method approach that included introspection and observation."    (Open U.)

"Sigmund Freud, the first psychoanalyst, was a medical doctor and research physiologist who opened his psychology consulting room in Vienna in 1886. Freud, working at the same time as Wundt and James, pioneered a method that involved listening closely to people's personal accounts of their symptoms, emotions, and their lives more generally, asking insightful questions and attending to the particulars of language use and unconscious phenomena."  (Open U.)

Sigmund Freud wrote many interesting books, created Psychoanalysis, a kind of therapy still used nowadays by trained therapists, and had a great deal of new ideas; some of them have evolved with further researchs, others have lost credibility.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dr. Wilhelm Wundt

Psychology is as much a social science as a natural science; humans are most intelligent animals of the planet Earth, that s why they command the others.  This is our clasification within the Animal Kingdom:

Species:H. sapiens
Subspecies:H. s. sapiens
Trinomial name
Homo sapiens sapiens

Since birth humans begin to learn and to relate to other persons, creating bonds through social interaccion; then Psychology is, too, a social science, as well as a natural science.

The content of Psychology are not opinions or common-sense explanations but research-based knowledge.  Everybody is entitled to have opinions about humankind, but they are not scientific and, hence, can not be in a Psychology book.  This is the cicle of enquiry for any science, including Psychology:

"There are four elements in the cycle of enquiry:

  1. Psychological research starts with the framing of appropriate, answerable questions.
  2. The answers to these questions are claims. These claims have to be clearly identified so that they can be thoroughly assessed.
  3. Assessing claims requires the amassing of information called data. The word ‘data’ is a plural word for the building blocks that make up the evidence that is presented in support of a claim.
  4. The evidence then has to be interpreted and evaluated. The process of evaluation often generates new questions to be addressed as well as providing support for, or disconfirmation of, the original claims."    (Open University)

    The origins of Psychology are Philosopy, Biology, Physiology, and the date that has been accepted for its own beginning as a separate science is 1879, when german doctor Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany:

    So, Dr. Wundt is considered one of the founders of the new science; the other three are Dr. William James, American; Charles Darwin, British naturalist researcher; and Dr. Sigmund Freud, Austrian.    (Open University)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus demonstrated mathematically that Earth was not static at the center of the universe, but rather revolved around the Sun, which was called the Heliocentric Model; years later Galileo Galilei built the first telescope and provided the empirical evidence to Copernicus theory, which was not politically correct for the time being.  Catholic Church forced him to recant his theory, and it is said he whispered very low "Eppur si muove", "And yet it moves".

Stephen Hawking says, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

"Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology, which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe.[2]

Copernicus' epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published just before his death in 1543, is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution. His heliocentric model, with the Sun at the center of the universe, demonstrated that the observed motions of celestial objects can be explained without putting Earth at rest in the center of the universe. His work stimulated further scientific investigations, becoming a landmark in the history of science that is often referred to as theCopernican Revolution."

So, these two Renaissance men, Polish Copernicus and Italian Galilei, carried out the beginning of modern science and scientific revolution.

¿Why Copernika?

Because I am so interested in science; I am in Psychology and the main goal of this blog is to share with you everything I will be learning in an online course on XXIth Century Psychology.  This course is important for me because I stopped working on Psychology many years ago, even I always became interested on Psychology news; now this interest will be focused through a formal online course.  I will share it with you, explaining it with everyday words and will answer your questions relating it.