Day 1: Birth Of Psychology
July 10, 2008 by Dr. Ken Tangen
Psychology is the child of philosophy and experimental physiology. It has acquired traits from each parent. Psychology tries to answer the questions of philosophy by using the techniques of experimental design.
- Do we share the same reality?
- What is reality?
- Are the mind and body separate?
Philosophy includes ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and logic. In general, it is greatly concerned about the consistency of ideas. It analyzes the meaning of words, parses arguments, and applies logic. The methodology of philosophy includes using synthesis, diagrams and syllogisms.
Experimental physiology uses the scientific method to figure out how the body works. It likes ablation, dissection, observation, and experiments. In general, experimental physiology prefers to slice, dice, scan and stimulate. It’s more about doing than talking.
Psychology combines talking and doing. It employs both philosophy and experimentation. Although some area of psychology are closely related or indistinguishable from physiology, psychology in general a dual-minded child.
Roughly half of psychology is devoted to research. It uses naturalistic observation, experiments, correlational studies, and complex mathematical modeling. This half of psychology likes rats in mazes, randomly-assigned treatment groups, and lots of brain-scanning equipment.
The other half of psychology tends to focus on helping people feel less miserable. This group likes talk therapy, case studies, and one-way mirrors. This clinical orientation uses more personal stories, insights, and philosophical arguments.