Introduction It is interesting to explore the forces outside the psychology field that affected how and why psychology developed, because it will help to fully understand the history of psychology and what modern psychology is like today. The interest of psychologists in the history has led its formalization as an area of study for their specialty. The history of psychology is part of the requirement of most of the psychology courses offered in undergraduate colleges (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 3) and that makes psychology unique of all the other sciences.
Psychology is one of the oldest of the scholarly discipline as well as one of the newest (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 1). This contradiction increases eagerness of the psychologists today to understand the speculations of human nature and behaviour that can be traced to the fifth century B. C. Psychology has its roots in several disciplines ranging from antiquity to modernity. Before psychology became an individual science, various disciplines such as philosophy, physics and physiology contributed limitlessly to psychology.
These disciplines added more flavour to psychology because of their effects from dark ages and early demonology, somatogenesis, psychogenesis, and even the early psychiatry. At the early era of psychology, various schools of thoughts such as structuralism, functionalism and behaviourism became the main forces. After all, with the new theories of psychology (Gestalt psychology, Psychoanalytic psychology, Humanistic psychology and Existential psychology), it entered to the world of modern psychology.
As psychology was becoming more and more scientific, Cognitive psychology and the Neuroscience have become the resent trends in psychology. In order to fully understand what psychology is all about, the common attempt is to go to the history before psychology, and to explore how this discipline originated. But it is equally important to look at how the external contexts in psychology influenced its development. Therefore, the main aim of this assignment is to look at how the external forces such as economy, War, prejudice and discrimination, influenced the way psychology developed.
The idea is to stress on the ups and downs of these contextual factors and see how these outside forces contributed to the psychology and became part of the history of psychology. The Influence of External Contexts to Psychology It is a very exciting experience to explore the external forces in psychology that are mostly on the silent side of the history of psychology. These contextual forces help to understand how psychology evolved in order to use it in a more applied nature.
The intellectual climate of the times known as the zeitgeist as well as the existing social, economic and political forces and prejudice are taken into account (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 10). Application of psychology became a great economic opportunity for the psychologists, especially in the United States, to earn a living by solving real-world problems. These dramatic changes were visible in the 20th century. Establishing psychology laboratories became one of the means of increasing job opportunities. But the scarcity of lab-jobs increased when many people started earning doctoral degrees in psychology.
Even though the teaching jobs were increasing when the universities were established in Midwest and West, the income was not enough because psychology was a new science then. So the psychologists realized that they could use psychology in order to solve social, educational and industrial problems (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 11). As a result of their effort, psychologists got the opportunity to apply their skills in the social changes that took place in the American population (Trull, 2007). They applied their knowledge and research methods to education.
Therefore, application of psychology to issues of teaching and learning became the fundamental shift in American psychology, especially for its economic growth. World War I and World War II were the other external forces that influenced modern psychology by opening up job opportunities for psychologists. There was a great need for an assessment tool to identify the mental fitness of soldiers, when the United States entered World War I. Many intelligent and personality tests were administered during the World War I to the almost two million recruits of the American Expeditionary Force.
This effort had two unexpected effects on psychology – one is to become known that the average American man was as smart as a teenager and that lead the focus on mental-self-development. The other effect was the development of personality tests and found out that the personality can be measured (Gordon, 1995). Psychologists enlisted by the British government performed research, psychological testing and experimentation and used engineering psychology, to determine the selection, lacement, and training soldiers (Rathus, 2004, p. 8). Due to this exposure, the psychological community became aware of the use of psychology to the general public also. In addition to strengthening the war forces, the scientific application of psychology was used the first time to weaken the enemy forces. Relocating researchers and theorists from Europe to Unites States due to Nazi menace (1930s) in World War II, also altered the face and fate of the European psychology (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 12).
War had not only provided opportunities to apply psychology and earn from it, but also had a positive effect on several major theorists who came up with theories of psychology. For example, after World War I, Freud considered aggression as an important motivating force for the human personality (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 14). Cultural influences that may determine individual motivation was also recognized during the World War II, when the Jewish German psychologists fled to Britain and USA. They brought their ideas and ways of thinking about psychology to the universities in USA where psychology was expanding.
Some psychologists directed their research, to issues such as authoritarianism, conformity, prejudice, leadership, small-group dynamics and attitudes after experiencing the horror at what had happened in Nazi Germany. As a result the philosophical aspects of the social psychology prior to war became most responsible for the emergence of social and cultural psychology as legitimate areas of science during WW-II. The British used psychological techniques in war campaigns but kept it as a secret and relied on United States to perform much of the psychological researches necessary for their “psywar” campaigns (Smith, 2003).
Important developments were brought to the areas of assessment and intervention after the World War II, by revising psychological tests and publishing a diagnostic system. New psychotherapies such as humanistic and behavioral therapies began to develop after the World Wars as many soldiers and war veterans suffered from the traumatic experiences they had during the war (Shepard, 2000). Initiation of managed health care organizations and insurance regulations in the 1980s became a major change in the field of psychology (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 12).
Long-term psychotherapies and lengthy assessment procedures had a limited reimbursement service. As a result short-term treatments and empirically tested psychological interventions were developed. This was the base of clinical psychology. Like economy and war, prejudice and discrimination were the other major forces that influenced psychology that could not be left aside, if one is to understand the history of psychology. Prejudice and discrimination go hand in hand. Discrimination against women and ethnic origin, as well as race, gender and religion influenced to psychology.
The prejudice was based on who could become a psychologist and where they should get the jobs from (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 12). Throughout the psychology’s history, prejudice against women such as denying admission to graduate schools, not appointing for faculty positions and not accepting doctorate theses existed. Women were also not allowed to use the cafeteria or the graduate students’ library. If women were appointed for a position, they were paid lower salaries and they faced problems of glass-ceiling.
Some important male figures like Hugo Munsterberg had controversial views about women. He supported women getting graduate education, but thought that graduate work was too demanding for females, because they were poor models for boys, if they teach in public schools and they should not serve as juries due to lack of rational thinking (Bradley, 2002). Some of the very important women psychologists who faced the problems of prejudice include, Eleanor Gibson, Mary Whiton Calkins, Mamie Clark, Sandra Scarr, Dorothy Cantor, and Christine Ladd-Franklin.
For example, Eleanor Gibson, who received awards from the APA and several honorary doctorates, was rejected to enter Yale University in 1930s, for her graduate studies and she was barred from seminars in Freudian psychology. Thirty years later, in 1960, the personality psychologist Gordon Allport told Sandra Scarr, (a developmental psychologist), that Harvard loathed accepting women, at her admission interview for graduate schooling at Harvard. Even though, Mary. W.
Calkins was refused to offer a degree from Harvard University, later she made significant lasting contributions to psychology by developing the paired-associate technique used in the study of memory (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 188). Her effort helped to overcome the barriers of prejudice and discrimination in the field of psychology. Many other such examples could be provided regarding the obvious discrimination against women, even though they are not included here from each respective person. Discrimination based on ethnic origin also existed in the late 1800s.
Jewish professors from faculty positions were excluded, some of their Jewish names were asked to change for the purpose of obtaining an academic job, and admission quotas were a barrier for the Jewish to enter college and graduate school. Among those who suffered from being a Jew, with regard to academic jobs include Julian B. Rotter and Abraham Maslow. The experience of discrimination and other similar incidents led these psychologists to direct themselves to the clinical psychology, which offered them grater job opportunities than the academic career (Schultz & Schultz, 2004, p. 5). Racial segregation was visible as a few Black people were awarded their doctoral degrees; most of the African Americans received their doctoral degrees from Columbia University. A very few got the chance to get their degree from the Cornell University. Psychologist Kenneth Clark and his wife Mamie Clark were among those who received their doctoral degrees from Columbia University. Their effort to provide psychological service including testing to children flourished and prospered with the Northside Center for Child development.
Their research programs on racial identity and self-concept issues for Black children became the significant end of the racial segregation in public schools and this decision was taken by the U. S. Supreme Courts in 1954 (Harris, 2005). This was the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th century. Since only four colleges in the United States offered undergraduate degree programs in psychology in 1940, students joined White universities if they were permitted, but they suffered the barriers of achievement in those universities.
Earning the first doctoral degree by the black student, Francis Sumner, in 1917 became a very positive recommendation to graduate school. Apart from earning a degree, another concern for Blacks was finding a suitable job. Black colleges were the primary job opportunity, but the work-time and affordability did not allow researchers to do a scholarly research in order to become noticeable and recognizable. Recent prejudice and discrimination shows that few female psychologists were listed in the history of psychology as great psychologists.
Although, there was prejudice and discrimination in the field of psychology itself, these external forces influenced psychology very effectively by bringing about many positive changes. Compared to other scholarly disciplines and professions, psychology has treated equitably to men and women more than the other sciences had ever done. Twenty women entered the psychology degree by the beginning of the twentieth century and Mamie Clark was the first black woman who earned a degree at Columbia University.
Ranked twelfth among fifty most important psychologists in the Unites States, Mary Whiton Calkins became the first president of the APA in 1905 (Cherry, 2013). APA was the first scientific society to admit women. Therefore, without looking into these contextual forces, the real history and the developments that were brought to psychology would not be understood. After all, the past is always relevant to the present of any science; hence, a brief history about the influence of classical and medieval periods for the development of psychology is included in order to make more sense.
The Influence of the History on Psychology As professionals in the field of psychology are very familiar with how the ancient philosophy, physiology and physics as well as other schools of thoughts influenced psychology, it would be favourable to include a summary of these and the other relevant contributions. Looking back at the history of 2500 years, one could see the possible starting point of the history of psychology where ancient philosophical writings about questions that later included in the psychology today.
During the antiquity, the Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, raised provocative questions about human thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They tried to answer these questions about personality types and the association between the mind and the body (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004, p. 10). Apart from those philosophers, French philosopher, Rene Descartes and the British philosopher, John Locke also contributed to this notion. The philosophical foundation also can be seen in new psychology where positivism, materialism and empiricism come to the picture.
In this regard, philosophy has a positive effect on the development of psychology (Blunden, 2005). During Dark Ages, Christian churches became increasingly powerful and Europe was dominated by mysticism, superstition and anti-intellectualism, and abnormal behaviour and thinking were regarded as the product of supernatural forces, religious domination and witchcraft. As a result, science and experimentation began to replace the influence of religion and scripture. Greek physician Hippocrates developed somatogenesis – an organic theory about abnormal behaviour, and attempted humane methods to treat the mentally disturbed.
He believed that psychopathology is the result of body humors (Edirisinghe, 2013) because abnormal behaviour results from some psychological cause known as psychogenesis. In the Middle Ages, thinking and behaviour were believed to be dominated by demonic possessions and cures ranged from prayer to flogging, apart from the natural treatments such as rest. In the Renaissance, mentally ill were executed as witches or imprisoned for life. This was common in the eighteenth and nineteenth century but the leaders of the reform movement advocated moral therapy or improving the moral of the mentally ill.
The Renaissance period lasted for many centuries and remarkable changes came to the scientific disciplines including this new discipline with the influence of the notable discoveries. During the period of early psychiatry, Philippe Pinel encouraged humane treatment for mentally ill and confinement and isolation were replaced (McLeod, 2008). As a result, these eras of history contributed abnormal psychology by explaining abnormal behaviour in a better way with more humane and natural treatment methods.
Physiology – the systematic study of bodily processes also played an important part to shape up psychology by providing important new insights into how the brain and the rest of the nervous system influence behaviour and used scientific methods to study human beings. The scientific method evolved first in physics and led to psychophysics in the 19th century. With an immense struggle in history, creating a code of ethics and establishing a classification system brought a more scientific, educational and professional impression to psychology. Conclusion Of course psychology is not about only mental health.
It is a very diverse discipline that encompasses many areas of study. The influences to psychology range from the so-called “hard” sciences – chemistry, physics and biology to the “soft” sciences – sociology, anthropology and political sciences. After all, the external contexts played a major part to shape up the development of psychology as we experience it today. Although theoretical and empirical arguments inside psychology about the nature of mind and behavior are not included here, the history of psychology shows how psychology’s development has been shaped by social, economic, and political forces external to psychology.
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