History of Psychology

Kurt Lewin`s Concept of Field Theory

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) was a renowned, psychologist full of charismaand zeal who is today regarded as the father of social psychology. Hewas well known for the terms &quotlife space&quot and &quotfieldtheory&quot. He viewed the social environment as a dynamic fieldthat impacted in an interactive way with human consciousness.

Lewin adapted practical use of the theories in studying groupmatters, dynamics, and even solving the social problems otherwiserelated to biases. In his plan of action, he not only wanted todescribe group life, but also wanted to research on the conditionsand forces within a group which bring about changes or make thegroups resistant to change. He believed that behaviour was determinedby the totality of an individual`s situation, because for any changeto take place, the whole situation in place at that time has to betaken into consideration. Also, individuals were seen to behavedifferently according to the way they perceive themselves and theenvironment they exist in (Hermann, 2015).

Kurt Lewin`s theory has been advanced in the modern psychology. Thefield theory has led to the development of an actual field researchon human behaviour. The way I walk, for instance, the environment Iexist in, the social peer pressure I am exposed to, are some of theframeworks used to understand the behaviour of a person. Terms suchas &quotlife space&quot and &quotfield theory&quot, form thebackbone of modern psychology. In this theory, the completeness ofcoexisting facts, which are considered as mutually interdependent,was emphasized. Therefore, in modern psychology, every factcontributing to behaviour, is normally taken into consideration.Nevertheless, the life space theory serves to give emphasis on theenvironment one exists. It is, therefore, evident that the Fieldtheory serves as a major framework of modern psychology.

Insightful Learning and Problem Solving

Insightful learning is a form of learning that occurs by a suddenunderstanding of the perception and relationship of the various partsof a problem. The theory describes a situation where one can use analready acquired or learned behaviour and transform it to a newbehaviour. This is called insight. Therefore, the process is broughtabout by an internal framework, which gives rise to a new behaviour.Insightful learning thus relates to the period when a solution to aproblem is suddenly realized after previous attempts to solve theproblem proved futile. The concept of insightful learning, therefore,differs from others such as the trial-and-error methods since itemploys cognitive processes and not interactions with the externalenvironment.

In insightful learning, higher mental processes such ascomprehension, perception and analysis are involved. This learning issudden in nature hence, insightful learning does not requirepractice. It requires critical and creative thinking to come up withthe right insight and then execute it. As noted by Wolfgang Kohler,when the solution to a difficult task has been found, this solutionwill be applied to several similar problems without having to use thetrial-and–error methods. Several psychologists have performednumerous experiments to validate the theory of insightful learning.The conclusion has been that insightful learning enables one toremember easily and retain knowledge on how to go about a particularproblem. The use of the cognitive processes involved in solving theproblem have been isolated as the reason behind the retention ofknowledge, which is one characteristic of learning. Archimedes’discovery of how to determine the density of an object is an example.Isaac Newton’s work on gravitational force that was inspired by anapple falling on his head is another prime example of how insightfullearning is vital to problem solving. These examples help tounderline the significance of insightful learning to solvingproblems.

Natural Law and Modern Psychology

Natural law is a philosophy that certain things or values arerightfully vested in someone as a privilege by human nature, andnormally clearly identifiable through human reason (d`Entrèves,2004). There are some different theories of natural law, which differfrom each other on the role played by morality in determining theauthority of legal norms. Natural psychology describes the meaning oflife as being given by one creating it. This school of thoughtinsists on making meaning as opposed to seeking it. This phenomenonis suitable for people suffering from depression, anxiety, or anyother emotional disturbance because it has a positive differenceemotionally.

Modern psychology is divided into specific areas of study ascompared to when the psychological concept was being defined. Thesefields include biopsychology, behavioural psychology, cognitivepsychology, humanistic, cross-cultural and many more. Numerousperspectives are developed in the study of human thought andbehaviour and have helped develop different ways into approachingproblems. A number of theories that try to explain various behaviourand mechanisms portrayed by individuals govern these areas of study.

Natural law theory has been argued on two bases: morality andlegality. Under morality, it has been suggested that the rationalbehaviour or conduct that humans exhibit encompasses morality.However, the many theories put forth under natural law all advocatefor a logical understanding of behaviour and not on human convention.Modern psychology can thus be seen to address the natural law theorysince the various branches that exist under it all explain humanbehaviour in a logical manner but limited to their various fields(O’Boyle, 2014). The theories that exist under modern psychologyall provide substantial explanations to help understand humanpsychology.

James` Stream of Consciousness

William James is considered as a pioneer in American psychology. Heis famous for his phrase, &quotstream of consciousness&quot whichrefers to the range of thoughts that one can be aware of the flow ofthoughts in one`s head. It attempts to give the written equivalent ofthe character`s thought processes. In his research &quotThePrinciples of Psychology&quot. He writes&quot… it is nothingconnected it flows (Northoff, 2014).

He describes it as the temporal continuity and flow of the contentsof consciousness in our ‘inner time consciousness. ‘Continuouschange` remain unclear. Thinking is an activity, a process, which weare widely aware of in our conscious life. The theory involvesthinking about the different things at a time regardless of theprocedure of the thoughts. The main issue here is the stream ofthoughts in one`s mind, being mindful. The practice of mindfulnessinvolves being aware moment-to-moment of one`s subjective consciousexperience from a first-person perspective. Therefore, forms thestream of consciousness.

In literature, lack of punctuations and sudden upward shifts ofthoughts is connected with a stream of consciousness style. Its aimis expressing in words the flow of thoughts and feelings in acharacter`s minds. William James` stream of consciousness has facedcriticism in the past and also formed a base for modern psychology.21st century psychology has used the stream ofconsciousness to base their theories and arguments on and thereforeJames made a great impact by forming a framework for the generalexplanation of one`s consciousness.

Munsterberg’s Contribution to Applied Psychology

Applied psychology is the use of cognitive methodsand verdicts of scientific psychology to answer realistic problems ofanimal and human behavior and knowledge.

One creator of applied psychology was HugoMunsterberg. Munsterberg desired to put into use psychologicalprinciples to practical matters thereby extending his theories andresearch of applied psychology to industrial/organizational (I/O),business, legal, forensic, clinical, medical, and educationalsettings. Munsterberg asserted that behavior was elicited by thefeeling of voluntary actions.

Munsterberg publication, On the Witness Stand, wasinfluential in the application of psychology in legal scenarios.Munsterberg’s writings on forensic psychology included originalinvestigations and laboratory experiments. The objective was toexamine the viability of eyewitness testimony. He is believed to beamong the first to regard jury examination. Changes inferred on theconventional courtroom procedures saw the psychiatrist andpsychologist appear in criminal trials as skilled witnesses,polygraph and psychological evaluation applied as approved approachesin criminal probing. Training in psychology became part of programsin justice administration and optional in schools of law and prelawcurriculums.

In Psychotherapy,(1909) Munsterbergemphasized on hypnosis and use ofpsychotherapy in treating a variety ofdifferent ailments based on his behavioristic scrutiny’s of thesubject`s responses to questions and evaluation.

His book, Psychology andthe Teacher, suggesteduse of psychology in comprehending different aspects played in theclassroom setting by the pupil, teacher,and school to improve performance.

His paper Psychology and the Market (1909)suggested that psychology be employed in different industrial-organizational applications including management, occupationaldecisions, advertising, and job achievement and inspiring ofemployees. In Psychologyand Industrial Efficiency(1913) andBusiness Psychology,Munsterbergemphasized onthe selective hiring of workers based on preferred vocations, improvement of employee productivity, and the acceleration of theeconomy through enhanced advertising and marketing procedures.

American Psychology and the Concept of Culturefrom a Historical Perspective to the Present

Behavioral and psychological inclinations areimplanted and represented in culture. Social psychologists, arguethat shared values of social units define an individual’sfunctioning. Social groups are acclaimed on values of individualismand collectivism. In 1995, Markus &amp Kitayama recommended a modelof independence-interdependence. They argue that cultural ideasexhibited at the composite level promote shaping of psychologicalexistence thereby affecting norms, customs and practices.

The developmental psychologist, UrieBronfenbrenner, suggested an ecological systems model” ofpsychological growth. In this model, culture is viewed as societalvalues in different systems. In recent advances, researchers seeculture in the meanings people derive from their experiences acrosscontexts of how they perceive their surroundings.

Ogbu proposed his cultural-ecological theory, inwhich individual competence is defined within the cultural andhistorical contexts in which children develop. Recent advances incultural-ecological theory involve tracing variation and similaritywithin ethnic minority groups, in stress and in contending witheducational flexibility, and investigating under what conditionsyoung people develop school or oppositional identities.

In 1993, Tajfel, a social identity theorist,stated that social identity is constructed in the context ofattitudes toward one’s group, and is related to prejudice, andintergroup conflict

The eco-cultural theory bases on the universalpresumption that families attempt to make essential accommodations totheir environmental slots through tenable habitual activities ofnormal living.

Both Bourdieu and John Coleman, saw social capitalas ingrained in the family, with networks among rich familiesbenefiting their young ones through links to jobs and college.

In 1991, the educational anthropologists Phelan,Ann Locke, and Cao Yu, proposed that most young people in disparatesocieties are tested as they try to shift across their multipleworlds, which are spelt out in terms of the cultural understandingand behavior portrayed within the confines of students particularpeer groups, families and schools.



O`Boyle,C. G. (2014). History of psychology: A cultural perspective.Psychology Press.

Northoff, G. (2014). Do cortical midline variability and lowfrequency fluctuations mediate William James’“Stream ofConsciousness”? “Neurophenomenal Balance Hypothesis” of “InnerTime Consciousness”. Consciousness and cognition, 30,184-200.

d`Entrèves,A. P. (2004). Natural law: An introduction to legal philosophy.