Who is considered the father of psychology? This question does not necessarily have a cut-and-dry answer as many people have contributed to the beginning, growth and development of modern day psychology. We will take a look at one person who is often cited as well as others who are regarded as the fathers of various branches of psychology .
father of modern psychology
Wilhelm Wundt is the man who is commonly recognized as the father of psychology. Why Wandt? Others such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Gustav Fechner and Ernst Weber were involved in early scientific psychology research, so why is he credited as the father of psychology?
Wundt is given this distinction because of the formation of the world’s first experimental psychology laboratory, generally regarded as the official beginning of psychology as a separate and distinct science. By establishing a laboratory that used scientific methods to study human experimentation and behavior, Wundt took psychology from a mixture of philosophy and biology and made it a unique field of study.
In addition to making psychology a separate science, Wundt also had many students who became influential psychologists themselves. Edward b. Tincher was responsible for founding the school of thought known as structuralism, with James McKeon Cattell becoming the first professor of psychology in the United States, and G. Stanley Hall Founds the First Experimental Psychology Laboratory in America
Who was Wilhelm Wundt? a brief biography of his life
Wilhelm Wundt was a German psychologist who founded the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. This program is widely recognized as the formal establishment of psychology as a science separate from biology and philosophy.
Among his many distinctions, Wundt was the first to refer to himself as a psychologist .
He is most often associated with the school of thought known as structuralism , although it was founded by his student Edward B. Tincture was the one who was really responsible for the creation of that school of psychology. Wundt also developed a research technique called introspection , in which highly trained observers would study and report on the content of their thoughts.
Wilhelm Wundt’s Career in Psychology
Wilhelm Wundt graduated from Heidelberg University with a degree in medicine. He went on to study briefly with Johannes Müller and later the physicist Hermann von Helmholtz. Wundt’s work with these two individuals is believed to have greatly influenced his later work in experimental psychology.
Wundt later wrote Principles of Physiological Psychology (1874) , which helped establish experimental procedures in psychological research. After taking a position at the University of Leipzig, Wundt founded the only two experimental psychology laboratories in existence at the time. Although a third laboratory already existed— William James established a laboratory at Harvard, which focused on offering teaching demonstration rather than experimentation. Yes. Stanley Hall founded the first American experimental psychology laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.
Wundt is often referred to as structuralism from a theoretical perspective, which involves describing the structures that compose the mind. Structuralism is regarded as the first school of thought in psychology . He believed that psychology was the science of conscious experience and that trained observers could accurately describe thoughts, feelings, and emotions through a process known as introspection .
However, Wundt made a clear distinction between introspection , which he believed to be wrong, and internal belief. According to Wundt, intrinsic perception involved a properly trained observer, who was aware at the time of the stimulus of interest.
Wundt’s process required the observer to be aware and attentive to their thoughts and reactions to the stimulus and involved multiple presentations of the stimulus. Of course, because this process depends on personal interpretation, it is highly subjective. Wundt believed that systematically varying the conditions of the experiment would increase the generalizability of the observations.
Wundt is most commonly associated with structuralism , but he was actually associated with his student Edward B. Tichner who influenced the structural school in America. Many historians believe that Tincture actually misrepresented most of Wundt’s original ideas. Instead, Wundt referred to his approach as volunteerism. While Tichner’s structuralism involved breaking down elements to study the structure of the mind, Blumenthal (1979) has noted that Wundt’s approach was actually more holistic.
Wundt also founded the psychology journal Philosophical Studies . In a 2002 ranking of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century , Wundt was ranked 93rd.
Wilhelm Wundt’s influence
The creation of the psychology laboratory established psychology as a distinct field of study with its own methods and questions. Wilhelm Wundt’s support of experimental psychology also set the stage for behaviorism and many of his experimental methods are still used today.
Wundt also had many students who would later be Edward Tincher, James McKeen Cattell , Charles Spearman, G. Stanley Hall , Charles Judd and Hugo Münsterberg became prominent psychologists.
Other thinkers are also considered “fathers of psychology”.
Many other influential thinkers may also claim to be the “father of psychology” in one way or another. The following are just a few of the individuals who are notable in specific areas of psychology:
- William James : Father of American Psychology; He helped establish psychology in America and his book, Principles of Psychology , became an instant classic.
- Sigmund Freud: Father of Psychoanalysis; His theories and work established psychoanalysis as a major school of thought in psychology.
- Hugo Münsterberg : Father of Applied Psychology; He was an early pioneer of many applied fields, including clinical, forensic and industrial organizational psychology .
- John Bowlby : Father of Attachment Theory; He developed the theory of attachment.
- Kurt Levine : Father of Social Psychology; His work pioneered the use of scientific methods to study social behavior.
- Edward Thorndike : Father of Modern Educational Psychology; His research on the learning process helped establish the foundations of educational psychology.
- Jean Piaget : Father of Developmental Psychology; His theory of cognitive development revolutionized how research was conducted about the intellectual development of children.
- Ulric Neisser: Father of Modern Cognitive Psychology; The cognitive movement in psychology received a major boost with the publication of his 1967 book, Cognitive Psychology .
- Lightner Withers: Father of Modern Clinical Psychology; He founded the world’s first journal devoted to clinical psychology, The Psychological Clinic , in 1907 .
- Gordon Allport : The Father of Personality Psychology; He was one of the first psychologists to study personality.
A word from
Wundt was not only the first to refer to it as a psychologist, he also established psychology as a formal discipline separate from philosophy and biology. While his self-contained method does not meet the empirical rigor of research today, his emphasis on experimental methods has paved the way for the future of experimental psychology. Thanks to his work and contributions, a whole new field was established and other researchers were inspired to explore and study the human mind and behavior.
Obviously, not everyone will agree with these generalized titles. Some might suggest that Freud is the father of psychology because he is perhaps one of its most “known” figures. Others may suggest that Aristotle is the true father of psychology, as he is responsible for the theoretical and philosophical framework that contributed to the early beginnings of psychology. Still others may argue that early researchers such as Helmholtz and Fechner deserve credit as the founders of psychology.
No matter which side of the argument you are on, one thing that is easy to agree on is that all of these individuals had a significant impact on the growth and development of psychology. While not every individual’s theories are as influential as they are today, all of these psychologists were important in their time and had a major impact on how psychology developed today.
Frequently Asked Question
Who is the father of psychology in India?
Modern Experimental Psychology was started at the University of Calcutta by the Indian psychologist Dr. N. N. Sengupta, who was trained in America in the experimental tradition of Wundt, was greatly influenced.
Who is the father of educational psychology?
Edward Thorndike is known as the father of educational psychology.
Who coined the term psychology?
philosopher Rudolf Göckel
The first use of the term “psychology” is often attributed to the German scholar philosopher Rudolf Göckel, who published Psychologia hoc est de hominis perfection, Anima, ortu, in 1590.
What is meant by educational psychology?
Educational psychology is the study of how people learn, including teaching methods, instructional processes, and individual differences in learning. The goal is to understand how people learn and retain information.
When did psychology originate?
When did the word psychology originate? The word psychology originated in the 17th century from two Latin words, PSYCHE + LOGOS in English, where psycho means – soul meaning mind and logos – to study.
What is psychology?
In this context, psychology has been called the science of the study of behavior and mental processes. ‘Behavior’ includes both human behavior and animal behavior. Mental processes include sensation, attention, perception, learning, memory, thinking etc.
Who were the scholars who considered psychology as the science of the mind?
In the 17th century, Italian psychologist Pomponozzi considered psychology to be “the science of the mind”. Later this definition also became invalid. In the 19th century, psychology was considered the “science of consciousness” by William Wundt, William James, Wives and James Sully etc.
What are the types of educational psychology?
Although the discipline of educational psychology includes many theories, many experts identify five main schools of thought: behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, empiricism, and social contextual learning theory.
When did psychology start in India?
Answer – The modern period of psychology in India started in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Calcutta in 1915, where India’s first psychology course was started.
How did psychology develop as a science?
Whereas early philosophers relied on methods such as observation and reasoning, today’s psychologists use the scientific method to study and draw conclusions about human thought and behavior. Physiology also contributed to the emergence of psychology as a scientific discipline.
How does educational psychology contribute to the education of students?
Psychologists working in education study how people learn and retain knowledge. They apply psychological science to improve the learning process and promote educational success for all students.
What is the goal of psychology?
It is clear from the ‘nature’ of psychology and its definition that the main goal of psychology is to properly understand and control human feelings and behaviors by studying them properly.
What is the nature of psychology?
Psychology is the science of human behavior. Psychology not only studies human behavior, but studies the various factors that stimulate human behavior, because different factors influence human behavior to do so.
What is the difference between psychology and education psychology?
The main difference between psychology and educational psychology is that psychology refers to the holistic study of the human condition and behavior whereas educational psychology specifically studies psychological issues related to human education and learning. Therefore, educational psychology is a part of psychology.
Who is the founder of social psychology?
William McDougall, (1919:2) Otto Klineberg (1957:3) says that, “Social psychology can be defined as the scientific study of the actions of a person influenced by other persons”.
What is the use of psychology?
The knowledge of psychology helps a person to understand all this and adjusts himself to the circumstances inherent in the environment and tries to keep himself free from unnecessary worries, frustrations and stress etc. Saves from being a victim of mental illness.
what are the goals of social psychology
The goal of social psychology is to understand cognition and behavior as they naturally occur in a social context, but the act of observing people can influence and change their behavior. For this reason, many social psychology experiments use deception to hide or distort certain aspects of the study.