Wilhelm Wundt, Father of Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt, Father of Psychology Page 5

It was through using introspection that Wundt and his students concluded that the sensations and feelings are what constitute the activity in our minds. They believed that the combination of or the relationship between sensations and feelings are what creates constantly shifting psychological processing.

It is through this activity that we are to understand the functioning of the mind, as opposed to simply identifying its structures. (Hothersall, 1984). Introspection is then a process that allows us to know our inner functioning through what we can gather about the functioning of the external world. (O’Neill, 1968).

Introspective experimentation is subjective and therefore does not guarantee agreement between different people’s introspective accounts. It was however thought that the more it was practiced this method could be enhanced. Wundt’s use of introspection is justified considering the means available to him at the time and the personal subject that he was trying to study. Both introspection and Wundt’s theories are not used in modern psychology today. (Schultz, 1975).

Germany perhaps had certain characteristics that influenced the evolution of Wundt’s experimental psychology. Experimental physiology had been practiced for decades in Germany but not to the same extent in other parts of Europe. A tradition of methodical and systematic observations and record keeping could therefore easily be transferred to the study of psychology.

While other countries were more prudent in there definitions of science, looking mainly at what could be defined quantitatively, Germans were willing to analyze everything from physics to phonetics. Germany in the nineteenth century could be argued to have been an ideal setting for the founding of psychology and Wundt chose to be the one to do it. (Schultz, 1975).

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