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Module coordinator Dr Gonzalo Urcelay
This is course about the development of modern day psychology

You will discover that it is quite a messy and complex history

How different psychological ideas and research methodologies have

developed over history.

All degrees accredited by The British Psychological Society (BPS) are

required to teach conceptual and historical aspects of psychology

To present historical and conceptual background underlying

psychology as a science and its development
The typical definition of Psychology is:
The science of mind and behaviour

Its etymology comes from the Greek word -

/Psych/ soul/mind
/loya/ - the study of

( lowercase) = psi (thats why the psy is in the name)

( lower) = chi (hence the ch in the name)

Behaviour being actions which are external onto the world

Mind being internal, and processes information
-- Later you will find that this is very simplistic and quite controversial
Psychology (as with quite a lot of subjects) did not grow in a

It has had many influences from many different disciplines

Computer science
...... It is quite a lot.
This module will consider the major strands of theoretical and
methodological development over the history of psychology.

By the end of the module, students should have reasonable

appreciation of the origins from which contemporary domains of
psychological thought have sprung.

Additionally, the module will consider the different philosophical

principles underlying these and the methods we use to conduct

Finally, the students should be able better to understand the

contribution key individuals have made to the discipline.
At the end of this module you should be able to:
Chronicle key points in the development of psychological science;

Recognise and understand basic principles in the philosophy of science

as applied to psychology;

Recognise, and place in their historical context, the contribution made

by significant individuals within psychology;

Understand how significant intellectual and technical developments in

other disciplines have had their influence upon the development of

Recognise and apply the theoretical tenets of the principal schools of

thought in psychology
1. You have to study it to get BPS accreditation

2. Knowledge of the past will help provide context for the present

3. Psychology is a living subject which grows and changes

4. Develop an appreciation of scientific modesty

5. Understand that humans are fallible as are their means of

explaining things
The course is based largely on Western Psychology and scientific
That is not to say that science hasnt been influenced by other traditions
(especially Islamic in the Golden Age of Islam was a big influence).
However, British Psychological Society (who regulates and accredits our
degrees) stipulates that we should focus on Western Psychology.
We dont have much time to expand out in this course unfortunately.

Especially in the early parts of this course, we will be making references

to religious faith and institutions in the historical context of science and
Religion was very important in the development of Western thought.
We are drawing attention to these ideas.
So please do not associate our references to religion (as well as
historical views on women) as our attitudes!
Week Lecturer Lecture Title
Early foundations of scientific and
2 Robin Green 1 and 2 psychological thought: From Ancient times to
the Renaissance
Early foundations of scientific and
3 Robin Green 3 and 4 psychological thought: From the Enlightenment
to Darwin
Philosophical and historical Issues in psychology
4 Robin Green 5 and 6 as a science and the scientific method

The German and American Traditions of

Gonzalo Urcelay Psychology
5 7 and 8

The German and American Traditions of

6 Gonzalo Urcelay 9 and 10
Freud and Psychodynamic Tradition
Week Lecturer Lecture Title

Susie Ebrey 11 Applied Psychology: Clinical Psychology

Susie Ebrey 12 Behaviourism
Susie Ebrey 13 Radical Behaviourism
Susie Ebrey 14 Gestalt Psychology
Susie Ebrey 15 Cognitive Psychology 1
Susie Ebrey 16 Cognitive Psychology 2
Daniel Hornyik 17 History of Social Psychology 1
Daniel Hornyik 18 History of Social Psychology 2
Applied Psychology: Intelligence and
Diana Pinto 19
12 Personality
Gonzalo Urcelay 20 Revision lecture and summary
History of Modern Psychology
C James Goodwin
Very good historical account of the movers and shakers in Psychology. Very useful
especially in the latter half of this course.
Historical and Conceptual Issues in Psychology
Marc Brysbaert & Kathy Rastle
An excellent book which describes the history and philosophical problems which
underlay science and psychology eloquently. Very good for the beginning and
middle parts of this module.

What is this thing called Science?

Alan Chalmers
Fantastic book about the development and philosophical basis of science.

There is an online reading available for the module. See Blackboard also
see this link:
This part of the module consists of 2 lectures
Mondays, Rattray Lecture Theatre 1 (RAT LT1) at 9 11 a.m.

All students in Psychology take this module

Only Psychology with Sociology degree are taking the PS1012

exam (hence registered on this course).
For students studying the following courses take this module:
Single subject Psychology
Applied Psychology
Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience

Psychology with Sociology do NOT take PS1014

For PS1014 you take the same 2 Monday lectures (as in

PS1012) AND One additional lecture per week Wednesdays
Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1 (KE LT1) at 11:00 - 12:00.
Principally the difference is three-fold
10 more lectures in PS1014
Exam is longer (3 hours in PS1014).
Only the Psychology with Sociology do NOT take PS1014

PS1012 covers the basic development of the history of

psychological ideas up to the present

PS1014 adds specialist lectures on particular topics of interest

wider range of topics and lectures.
Reading list for PS1014 is on a lecture by lecture basis.
Week Lecturer Lecture Title
2 Carlo De Lillo 1 Evolutionary Psychology
3 David Souto 2 Mental Chronometry I
4 David Souto 3 Mental Chronometry II
5 Claire Hutchinson 4 Consciousness
6 Jos Prados 5 Developmental Psychology
Robin Green The Humanistic Approach to Psychology
8 6

9 Sarah White 7 Human Origins

10 Sarah White 8 Modularity
11 Sarah White 9 Cultural Evolution
12 Sarah White 10 Social Perspective
It is important to know which exam to sit as it depends on which
degree you are taking.

In any case the exam consist of multiple choice questions based

on facts, studies and theories from the lectures.

Each question has 4 possible answers, with only ONE being the
correct one.
Psychology with Sociology students take only PS1012 exam

90 minutes in duration (1 hours)

75 Multiple Choice Questions

Questions are based on PS1012 Approaches to Psychology 1a

Single Subject (SS)
Applied Psychology (AP)
Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (PCN)

These students take the PS1014 Approaches to Psychology 1b


3 hours long 1 exam paper

This consists of 2 sections:

Section A: 75 MCQs based on PS1012 lectures
Section B: 75 MCQs based on PS1014 lectures

(2 exams in 1 paper essentially hence why it is 3 hours long)

If you are a Single subject, Applied Psychology or Psychology
with Cognitive Neuroscience student, which lectures should you

A. PS1012 lectures only

B. PS1014 lectures only
C. Both PS1012 and PS1014 lectures
D. None

Psychology with Sociology attend the PS1012 lectures only

If you are a Single subject, Applied Psychology or Psychology
with Cognitive Neuroscience student, which exam paper should
you take in January?

A. 1 hour PS1012 exam paper

B. 3 hour PS1014 exam paper
C. 1 hour PS1014 exam paper
D. None

Psychology with Sociology attend the PS1012 1 hour exam

paper only
After the lecture if you have any content-specific questions, do
not hesitate to ask the lecturer.

Otherwise (depending on the individual) you can email them or

post a question on Blackboard discussion forum.

For more administrative ones then these should be directed to

the module coordinator (Gonzalo Urcelay).
Robin Green
Issues when considering History
Ancient civilisations
Ways of approaching knowledge
Views of the mind and body
Medieval period
Thinking development
How technology advanced
The role of religious institutions
Renaissance period
Challenge to religious convention
Influence from the classical period
Scientific revolution
Views of mind and brain
Events and discoveries seldom happen by mere chance

Many factors will lead up to a change

The preceding factors act a precursor for a certainty discovery

to be made

Society and sufficient preceding discoveries needed for

something new to happen

The time is right

It is very easy to impose bias, values and preconceptions when
considering history.

Matthew Effect
Biblical Gospel Matthew
Attribute more success and credit to people than needed which in turn inflate
their perceived impact

Looking at the past and interpreting them in the values and context of the
Something that in this course we all do but should avoid
People of the past were ignorant of what we know now as we are ignorant
of what is yet to come.
The best knowledge that current for their time.
Early civilisations relied on everyday practical knowledge to

Knowledge was handed down

Skill-based on manual labour

However explanations for natural events needed to be found

Notions of how things worked relied on animism.

Natural events are based on spirits or animate agents with

human like characteristics with intentions.
A common method of obtaining method during the ancient and
medieval period was the scholastic method.


Based on authority

Facts were unquestionable truths

Core texts
Based on the dialogues of Socrates ()
circa 470 BCE 399 BCE

Constant questioning to ensure that answers

could be found

Not reliant on authority

Keep questioning in order for reasoning to occur

Eventually the answer comes from within

Deals with hypothetical scenarios and

justification of beliefs

A practice still quite effective and used in

education today!

"Portrait of Socrates, Colosseum" by Unknown - Photo by Szilas, 2013-03-04. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_Colosseum.jpg#/media/File:Portrait_of_Socrates,_Colosseum.jpg
427 BCE- 347 BCE

Transmission of knowledge was done

either in the market square (Agora)

Or later developed schools (Lyceum)

A student of Socrates

Wrote about Socratess conversation

in his books

Philosopher that emphasised

reasoning as form of knowledge

"D369-platon.-L2-Ch8" by lise Reclus - Extrait de "LHomme et la Terre". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Classical Greece was obsessed with perfection
Influence of geometry and mathematics to strive for
mathematical perfection

Objects we see are based on an ideal stated Plato.

The ideal is the perfect template for subsequent other objects.

Attempt to explain variation whilst having the same taxonomy.

Plato (and many of those in the classical tradition) adopted a
manner of acquiring knowledge of the world but not by sensory
experiences per se.

Sensory experiences are volatile and not necessarily


Knowledge of truths can come about by rational thought

Logical deductive reasoning is needed to find the facts

Based on innate knowledge based on inherent truths

In order to arrive at a conclusions we need some inherent truth
statements about the World to start off with

The premises (initial truth statement) are irrefutable

The conclusion is an assessment of one statement in relation to the

truth premise Conclusion is true

Used a lot in modern day mathematics

Analytical in nature highly influential in the Enlightenment period

and Logical positivist movements

Scientific theories can be tested by using these a priori innate facts

and thus create more hypotheses based on their conclusions
All men are mortal (Premise statement which is considered true)
Socrates is a man (Secondary statement also true)
Therefore Socrates is mortal (Conclusion)

This is also know as syllogistic reasoning

Much reasoning in the classical philosophy attempted to reduce

problems into syllogisms ( 2 premises and a conclusion).
384 BCE 322 BCE

Student of Plato

Kept the notion of Platonic forms

However showed early signs of

empiricism (the way of acquiring
knowledge by cumulative perceptual

Help create the distinction of different

natural sciences (Biology, physics from

"Aristotle Altemps Inv8575" by Copy of Lysippus - Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Platos view was that knowledge can be obtained by deductive
reasons based on known truths

Aristotle identified that not all ways we think can be by

deduction alone

We can use gain some information by induction instead

However Aristotle still favoured deduction as the better method

for reasoning but allowed for induction to occur
This form of reasoning was starting to be developed formally
by Aristotle.

Accumulative in nature

You take observations from the world (sensory experience) and

then try to form a general conclusion.

Empiricism mainly uses this approach

Science uses observed phenomena to try to generalise and

create rules about the world (scientific laws of nature)

Not based on a priori premises.

Observation 1: Monday morning: The Sun rises
Observation 2: Tuesday morning: The Sun rises
Observation 3: Wednesday morning: The Sun rises
Observation 4: Thursday morning: The Sun Rise

So what should happen on Friday morning?

The conclusion based on inductive reasoning observations tells us that

all the previous mornings the Sun rose, thus it should do so again.

However that does not mean that it ALWAYS will do so. (Limitation of
this reasoning).
Aristotle believed that all things are comprised of 4 elements

According to Aristotles geocentric
Earth has soil and water
Air and fire came from somewhere
from the moons orbit

Earth must be at the centre

We can see other planets moving
around the Earth
Ptolemy later modified this.

Classical emphasis on perfection and

regularity perfect concentric circles Ptolemy's Geocentric model

"Ptolemaic system 2 (PSF)" by Pearson Scott Foresman - Archives of Pearson Scott Foresman, donated to the Wikimedia FoundationThis file has
been extracted from another file: PSF P730001.png.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Canopic jars

Only essential organs needed for

the afterlife

Brain not needed as it had not

clear essential purpose

Edwin Smith papyrus however

documents an incident of strange
relationship with brain damage
and leg functioning.
Early account of brains
importance in behaviour
"Egyptian - A Complete Set of Canopic Jars - Walters 41171, 41172, 41173, 41174 - Group" by Anonymous (Egypt) - Walters Art Museum: Home page Info about artwork. Licensed under
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_41172,_41173,_41174_-
Plato (left)
Points up to the heavens
where the ideals were

Aristotle (right)
Points to the ground where
there is the physical world

"Sanzio 01 Plato Aristotle" by Raphael - Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Soul was described as an inner essence, spiritual and was the basis
of our being/consciousness

Plato assumed this to be form-like thus not physical, from the


However emotions were controlled by the heart

The soul has three parts

Reasoning Brain (but interacted with the brain but was not physical, eternal)
Sensation Heart (emotion, seeing, feeling) The neck acts as gateway to stop
raw sensations contaminating the higher pure reasoning in the brain
Appetite Liver (Far enough away to avoid interfering with the other two
Not too dissimilar to that of Platos account
However he tried to explain the interaction between the brain and the

Heart was animalistic and was hot (soul could be seated here)

The brain acted to cool the tempers of the heart

The heart was essential for life (the first to be created and last to stop).
Brain was secondary in creation

The heart connects to all parts of the body, whereas the brain does not

Brain not affected by emotion unlike the heart (similar to Platonic view)
Brain is rational and insensitive
Greek physician Galen (Claudius
Galenus c 130 CE
200 CE) argued that ventricles (holes in
the middle of the brain) were responsible
for life
Empiricist gathered information from
brain dissection

Spirits enter these ventricles and

depending on which one, different
behaviour is produced

Very influential in the medieval period

and the Renaissance
Augustine (354-430 CE)

Tried to reconcile Christian religious doctrine of religious revelation with

increasing positivist views

Christian theological doctrine suggested that knowledge was based on

divine revelation

Augustine suggested that human discovery of truth or other scientific

facts and knowledge was guided by divine illumination

This view was adopted by the Catholic church in the middle ages and
was held even with little question (barring in universities in late 12th/13th
centuries with little impact) until the 17th century.
Animism was still prevalent

Reading and translation of texts allowed for wider


Also for differences in interpretation which were


Science needed to be approved by authorities

(e.g. Catholic church doctrine)

Scientific texts were in Latin and Greek (language

of classical instruction at universities)
"Press1520". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

Sun being centre of the universe


Slow more away from rationalism

Observation was based on naked


Galileo later developed the

telescope which helped further
explain planetary orbits

Kepler elliptical orbits

"Copernican heliocentrism theory diagram" by Nicolai CoperniciCreated in vector format by

Scewing - [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
English theologian and philosopher

We can have lots of ways of

explaining things

We could simply add more and more

detail to each theory

However, it may over complicated.

Certain detail may not be necessary to
be of any meaningful help to improve
the explanation.
Ockhams razor attempts to trim down explanation to its
most succinct form.

Strive for explanatory parsimony

Parsimony the most complex ideas explained in the most
simplest of manner.
Simple theory is easier to explain.
But is simplest theory necessarily always the best one?

This philosophical tool became very popular throughout

science later on.
Economic expansion and trade was flourishing throughout the later parts
of the 14th and 15th Century

Art was flourishing

Re-birth of classical ideals (perfection of form, symmetry, spiritualism)

Big ships and improvements in rudimentary technology helped

communication of ideas to spread.

Church of Rome still had a big financial and political influence on the
culture and thought of the time.

The growth of Protestantism in the 15th and 16th century started to

challenged the Catholic church and the scholastic method of knowledge.
Ancient Period (~10 000 BCE,100 CE)
Logical thought as a means of enquiry
Animism and spirits are explanations for natural events
Dualistic account of mind and body

Medieval Period (1000 CE 1400CE)

Printing Press allows communication to the masses
A start of standardisation of spelling
Catholic church still dominated zeitgeist however questions were being raised
Ockhams razor

Renaissance (~1400CE -1600 CE)

An interest in ancient Greek views were back in fashion
Rebellions against authority were emerging (Protestantism)
An emergence of empiricism as well as rationalism
Empiricism helped challenge and extend some of the classical scholastic ideals
We will continue our time travelling to the Enlightenment period
(~17th Century)

Shows how scientific thought has progressed since the


Leads you until 19th Century (in particular focus on Darwin)

Brysbaert & Rastle Chapters 1, 2 (first half) and bits of 5, 6
and 7

Chalmers Chapters 1, 2 and 4

Goodwin Chapters 1 and 2