Deciding on the 7 most important events in the history of psychology is a challenge but it can be done. There are some events in the history of psychology that were so monumental that they are clearly the most important events of all. Here are those 7 most important events in the history of psychology.
The Establishment Of Psychology As Its Own Discipline
One of the most important events in the history of psychology was the establishment of psychology as a new field of study. This happened thanks to Wilhelm Wundt who created the first real psychology lab. For psychology to even have a distinct history it had to first be delineated as its own field.
The Discovery Of The Unconscious Mind
Sigmund Freud is perhaps the biggest name in the history of psychology and he earns this honor for a number of reasons. One of his greatest contributions was the idea of the subconscious mind. The idea that people have thoughts of which they are unaware that motivate their behavior was revolutionary.
Ivan Pavlov’s Research On Conditioning
Ivan Pavlov’s work went away from trying to measure pure thought to focusing on observable behavior and this was of great importance in his experiments on conditioning. He showed behavioral conditioning as a major factor in human behavior. He showed that this type of conditioning worked with dogs too. This was a move back to studying observable behavior.
Karl Lashley’s Work With Rats
Karl Lashley had rats learn mazes and then removed portions of their brains to see which part of the brain would inhibit their ability to complete known mazes. His discovery that it was the amount of the brain that was removed and not the specific part that mattered was thrilling. It led to countless other studies on both animals and humans that would come to show that the brain can in many cases reassign portions of itself to handle tasks once handled by portions that have been removed or damaged.
This is less a single event than the creation of a new point of view but it was a turning point in psychology. Historically a male dominated field, psychology now gained a new perspective that did not belittle or ignore women as many previous psychological studies had. The creation of feminine psychology both demonstrated a new viewpoint and showed that the understanding and study of psychology is heavily influenced by the personal point of view and bias of the psychologist.
The Viewpoint Of Rogerian Therapy
The creation of Rogerian therapy brought about a viewpoint that saw the patient not as a test subject to be studied but as a person with inherent value. This therapy is based on the belief that patients have the ability to heal themselves in most cases through self-acceptance and self respect.
The Invention Of Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology concerns itself with the receiving, interpretation, storage, and retention of information. This is a broad field that talks not only about the information a person receives but about how that person receives, understands, and holds on to that information. Many feel that this type of psychology allows for a more complete understanding of how the mind works and why people behave as they do.
These are the 7 most important events in the history of psychology. Each one contributed incalculable amounts of inspiration and information to those who followed these developments. Without them, psychology would not be what it is today.
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