History and Systems of Psychology

Historyand Systems of Psychology



FranzJosef Gall was a German national who lived between the years of 1758– 1828. He was an early neuroanatomist and physiologist. He is alsoregarded as the founder of the study relating to the localization ofthe mental functions in the brain and phrenology. His contributionsto the field neuropsychology were regarded as controversial duringhis time but are today referred to as pseudoscience. His maininvention was phrenology, a discipline that looked at the brain as anorgan of the mind while deeming the skull shape to be representativeof one’s intelligence and personality.

Allother scientists of the time used the physical features like theshape f the face, size of the head, structure of one’s anatomy, thebody shape to determine a person’s intelligence and personality.Gall happened to be the only scientist of the time to focus primarilyon the brain and this drew a lot of criticisms as he was occasionallyfound to be wrong in majority of his predictions. Therefore the focusto shift concentration of neuroscience from physical features of thebody to the brain was his first major contribution to the field ofneuropsychology. This contribution led to the improvements in theunderstanding of the cortical nature and localization of the brain’sactivities with regard to personality and behavior. His findings areactually the basis on which neuropsychology later laid foundation andthrived upon with massive advancements. In his researches, Galldiscovered that both humans and animals understand the language ofgestures, commonly referred to as pantomime. In his study of thelocalization function of the brain, he believed that there were 27fundamental main faculties some of which are mechanical ability,love for property, murder instinct, recollection of people and thelove for poetry.


Vaihingerwas one of the earliest proponents of psychology. He argued thathuman beings may not really have the ability to know the underlyingreality of the world. Human beings construct systems of thought andassumed them to be matching circumstances of reality by behaving, ‘asif’the world matches their models. Vaihinger’s reasoning wasbased on physical science like the belief and conviction of theexistence of things like electrons, protons and electromagneticwaves. He further cited a common conviction and belief that humanbeings believe that there is always tomorrow though just anassumption.

Vaihinger’spropositions formed a strong basis for other psychologists to advancetheir scope of psychology which resulted in the emergency of variouspsychological theories. Vaihingers works were widely spread acrossGermany and Europe at large. Vaihingers’s works developed thephilosophical theory of as if and greatly sparked a reason and basisupon which other upcoming psychologists based their arguments anddeveloped other theories.

Themost notable psychologists that emerged as a result of focus onvaihiner’s school of thought were Alfred Adler and James Hillmanwho derived emergent theories from Vaihinger’s line of thought andheld critical analysis of his works. Vaihingers is widely consideredas one of the finest philosophers in Germany and Europe at large.Alfred Adler later made contributions to the modern day psychologythrough his writings on psychopathology through the method of minddevelopment and personal growth. He expresses the fact that allindividuals are representative of a unity of personality and it isthe persons that fashions such unity. This model of thought therebydepicts an individual as both the picture as wl as the artist of thatpicture. This means that if one is able to change his concept ofself, they he is equally able to alter the picture being painted. Hisreasoning was a large borrowing from Vaihinger’s works.


WurzburgSchool was established at the Psychological Institute of Germany as acenter of experimental investigation of thought. The schools basicthesis was a statement of existence of special states ofconsciousness which in ideal sense was a reference to the thoughtsthat are difficult to reduce to the sensory content. Towards the endof the 19thcentury, the associationist theory was the most dominant, which was astrong reduction of thinking to the combination of materials as perthe set laws of association. However, the Wurzburg’s school’spsychologists developed a philosophical approach in which they formeda basis on idealistic principles of phenomenology and had to subjectassociationsm to very critical experimental scrutiny. Theintroduction of the imageless thought thesis was a great contributionto modern psychology.

Thepropagators of the Wurzburg School established the absence of imagesin a subject’s consciousness which got to be referred to as thenegative theory of imageless thought a rule that depicted that imagesare not necessarily experienced and reported by the subjects but therelationships, activities of combining and grouping and various tasksand attitudes are. Theses got to be referred to as the entities ofthe mind. These entities had a characteristic trait of intentionalityand directionality that was directed beyond the boundaries of thoughtsuch as ideal and real objects and ideas. Another contribution bythis school to modern psychology was the principle determiningtendency that was commonly referred to as the principle of set whichwas later modified into the set theory in modern psychology.

Thus,the works of the Wurzburg School were very crucial to the developmentof psychology though to some extent they introspectively lost theirsignificance at the advent of the objective methods of study inpsyche and behavior.


SirFrancis Galton is widely accredited as super intelligent and madevarious contributions across different areas of study. In psychology,his most important contribution to modern psychology was his attemptsto quantify behavior and natural and physical phenomena which was aninclusion of the uniqueness of human fingerprints. In his works ofresearch, Galton established that intelligence was hereditary and themost intelligent people ought to be the most influential despitetheir environment. He further regarded the most intelligent people asthe most evolved and added that if very intelligent people were to bemated with other very intelligent people then their off-springs couldbe quite a class. To prove heredity of intelligence, he discoveredthat there was a large probability for the relatives of mostprominent people to equally be imminent.

Onfurther research and study, Galton discovered that for the case oftwins, heredity is real as even if they are left to stay and operatein different environments, they had very similar propensities. Galton happens to have been the first scientist to have brought forthand injected the idea of human evolution to the study of humanbehaviors and attributes. Majority of the current day methodologiesof testing intelligence trace back their roots to the works and ideasof Galton, with regard to his focus on individual differences andheritability.

Inhis works, Galton founded the science of eugenics in which he wasdiscouraging the productivity of the unfit and encouraging that ofthe fit by arguing that similar to livestock, human strain can beartificially improved through artificial selection. This was to be ifpeople with considerable talents were to be mated to produce ageneration of highly gifted race of people as the eventual result.Thus, Galton’s works were very crucial to the development andadvancement of modern psychology.


Darwin’stheory of evolutions had massive influence on modern psychology. Hisevolutionary theory provided a thinking framework on human behaviorand this was a great gift psychology in addition to his works onhuman evolution and empirical test expressions of emotions. Theseempirical tests were performed by use of data from a variety ofspecies to help learn of how behavior evolves. This comparativemethod became very crucial in the study of evolutionary psychology.This revolutionary approach provides allowance for scientists toraise questions about a given trait in individuals, the function itserves, as well as what triggers such a behavior.

Byasking these questions, evolutionary psychologists find it easier tounderstand how a given trait contributes to an organism’sreproductive and survival success in addition to how it has beenshaped through either natural selection or otherwise. This has thusfar helped psychologists in the modern world shed more light on humanpsychology. Therefore, Darwin’s contribution to psychology hasgreatly helped comprehend human behavior from evolutionaryperspective.

Skinner’scontribution to psychology on the other hand was in the line ofbehavior commonly referred to as radical behaviorism. In hisapproach, he recognizes private events such as perceptions, thinkingand unobservable emotions such as causes of various organisms’behaviors as responses subject to similar rule as overt behavior.


Streamof consciousness is a term used to depict the flow of thoughts in theconscious mind. William James is widely regarded as the father ofAmerican psychology and is the one who first coined the phrase of,‘stream of consciousness’ which is the range of thoughts that onecan be aware of. When one is mindful, then he becomes aware ofanother’s stream of consciousness. According to Buddhists, mentalevents can be generated by the senses of touch, sensations, smelling,testing, hearing and seeing. These mental events result inperceptions, feelings and behavior. The stream of consciousnesschanges like a stream of water in many lives and concerns anindividual being.

Inhis perspectives, James further derived psychological genericcharacteristics in the doctrine of stream of consciousness and theself. The characteristics he framed were, all thought is owned bysome personal self, all thought is constantly in flux and neverstatic, two minds can experience common objects in addition toconsciousness takes interest in particular objects choosing in themrather than others. Thus, the stream of consciousness as advocated byWilliam James was crucial in the early times of psychology as ithelps derive one’s line of thought and procedure of activity. Theseprocesses in addition help one to derive peoples behaviors and howthey change, thereby forming a strong basis for psychology andpsychological research and studies.