This chapter goes into extensive detail on how evolutionary theory has influenced psychology. Discuss who discovered evolution and why it was inevitable that this theory would be discovered and accepted in this century. Then explain at least two ways evolutionary theory has impacted the history of psychology.
This chapter goes into extensive detail on how evolutionary theory has influenced psychology. Discuss who discovered evolution and why it was inevitable that this theory would be discovered and accept
Snapshot: This chapter explains the emergence of psychology as a scientific discipline under the fathering of the German William Wundt. We will see the influence of the empirical emphasis of the British Empiricists and Associationists and the influence of the physiologists of the 1800s all come together for the official founding in 1879. There will be a controversy of whether the mind can actually be studied and we will see that with Ebbinghaus, the beginning of the study of learning in humans will develop. Learning Objectives and Outcomes: (After reading this chapter and the online lectures you should be able to:) Discuss the main principles and contributions of William Wundt to the discipline of psychology. Explain what Wundt felt was the proper subject of psychology. Know about his higher and lower psychology with the mediate and immediate subject matter. Understand why Wundt was the best person to found the new discipline of psychology. Understand Wundt’s ideas of quality and intensity of sensations and the relationship feelings had to those sensations. (Tri-dimensional Theory of Feelings) Know what methods of investigation Wundt used and his idea of creative synthesis/apperception. Discuss the contributions of Ebbinghaus and why it might be said that his thinking was an alternative to that of Wundt’s (Did he feel that the mental event could be empirically examined?). Understand what the nonsense syllable is and why he developed it. Know what the curve of forgetting is and what it showed about learning. What is his idea of mass versus distributed practice and do you think it is something you can use? Explain why he developed the competition test. Know that Ebbinghaus’ greatest contribution to psychology was the measurement of mental events through his learning and memory research. Discuss Brentano’s Act Psychology and how it was in direct violation of Wundt’s lower psychology position. Know what an act was. Understand the idea of phenomenology and why he felt this molar approach was necessary for psychology. Discuss the philosophy and contributions of Stumpf and Kulpe to the Act Psychology movement. What is the Wurzburg School of Imageless Thought and know why Kulpe developed the school. Describe how the members of the British Emp/Assoc. would have felt about the Wurzberg School. A Little More Explanation of Wundt Your book does a good job explaining Wundt’s role in the founding of psychology. The founding date of 1879 is based on the organization of Wundt’s Lab. For all the sciences, it is important to do good research based on scientific methods. This research must have controls on it and the laboratory is the place best suited for this. It is true that we do naturalistic research too, but you can not assign cause and effect to this type of research as you can to experimental research. It will be of interest as you continue your readings, how many of the movers and shakers of American psychology were educated by Wundt. His enormous number of students (189) graduating with a Ph.D. from his program is one of the most important legacies of Wundt. These great numbers of Ph. Ds allowed the young psychology discipline to spread to numerous universities in Europe and mainly America. Remember the idea of “power” and psychology was gaining power as a science. As you look at Wundt’s Voluntarism, be sure to note that he really believed that there were two different types of psychology based on their focus and how they could be studied. The first was his lower psychology that examined in the lab the idea of sensations and the association of these sensations into ideas. This is where he used introspection. He felt like this lower psychology could be appropriately examined empirically. His upper psychology was different. Wundt felt like it was inappropriate to research empirically this part of psychology. It was not subject to empirical scrutiny. The subject matter for upper psychology was the social culture, anthropology, languages, and communications seen in humans. This is where his “Volkerpsychologie” comes in that he wrote about, especially in the later years of his career. The interesting thing is that Ebbinghaus showed that some of these things could be empirically examined as he developed his theories of learning and memory. Be sure to read “in Their Own Words” on page 79 to really get a feel of the original writings of Wundt. He was a very prolific writer. The Differences Between Immediate and Mediate – It can be confusing! Be sure you have these two terms well understood in your mind. The term immediate concerns the sensations that come in through introspection and can be studied empirically. These would be the basis for Wundt’s lower psychology. The term mediate involves the idea that something has intervened between the sensations and the telling of those sensations. This really involves Wundt’s higher psychology of culture and language. Think about it – when these areas are studied, it is after the fact when other things could have intervened and been variables on these perceptions. The Passive Versus the Active Mind We will see throughout our study this semester that some will say that the mind is active and creative and others will say the mind is passive like a receptacle in which sensations are collected and passively become associated. Wundt felt that the mind was passive only in the way sensations would automatically come into the mind from the environment. However, the mind was active when associating events together. This is his idea of apperception or the process of creative synthesis. It is the passive mind that is like the mixture in our chemistry analogy and the active mind is like the compound in that analogy. If you are merely memorizing material, that would be the passive mind-making associations. When two associated things are combined and form something completely different and not reducible to the parts, that is apperception. Wundt criticized the British Assoc. and Empiricists for failing to differentiate between apperception and simple association. Ebbinghaus and the Measurement of Learning Understand the importance of Ebbinghaus and his belief that such a covert activity as learning lists of words or ideas could be measured empirically. Pay special note to his idea of the nonsense syllable. This was quite a creative solution to the problem of measuring learning when sample populations had such a variety of backgrounds. Were subjects learning the material in only a few trials because of former knowledge of some of the words or was the research really measuring how long it took to learn something completely new? The nonsense syllable allowed the researcher to know that all material was new and that there was no bias or confound going on. One other contribution that was not mentioned in your book was his research on the idea of Mass versus Distributed Practice. This research was done in the 1800s but is still applicable today and to you! The idea that was supported by his research was that if we study the same material in one mass of time, we will not learn it as well as if we break up that same amount of time into several increments and take short breaks in between. Try it and when it works…, thank Ebbinghaus. The most important thing to remember about Ebbinghaus is the idea that the learning, which had always seemed too covert to measure, could truly be measured. The Beginnings of Phenomenology Brentano’s Act Psychology may not really be the beginning of phenomenology, but for our study it is. Certainly others, even the ancients, had some similar ideas, but there had been no empirical effort to study it. Most of the ancients used a rational rather than empirical way of theorizing. Review exactly what phenomenology is from your book and glossary. If you are not sure, ask me! Note that the Wurzburg School of Imageless Thought was unique in its efforts to show that the mind may give rise to thoughts that were without any environmental stimulus motivating them. Think about that…are most of your thoughts due to some cue in the environment? Maybe the cue is a person walking toward you or the sound of a whistle or the color red. It could be anything. But do some of your thoughts arise in the mind totally devoid of any environmental cue? With this Wurzburg School, we see the first time that this had been experimentally talked about. Obviously, Wundt and the British would robustly disagree with this idea and we will find Titchener in the next chapter also in strong disagreement. Snapshot: This chapter involves the work mainly of Titchener, an American who translated Wundt’s work and extended it at Harvard University. It is interesting to see that Titchener’s bias of translation includes only part of Wundt’s lower psychology and does not mention the upper psychology. We will see why he does this and the consequences. As you read you may get the understanding that Titchener’s work is a bit out of step with the zeitgeist. Learning Objectives and Outcomes: (After reading this chapter and the online lectures you should be able to:) Describe how a phenomenologist might differ in methodology from the methodology employed by Titchener. What 5 properties did Titchener feel that sensations and images had? Discuss the main principles and methodology of Titchener’s Structuralism and how it might be said that he narrowed the view in “structuralism” from that of Wundt’s. Be sure to understand the “stimulus error” and the idea of a periodic chart of sensations. Know what were the subjects used for Titchener’s research. Understand the development of the American college/university system and how it reflected the needs of the emerging nation. Explain why these developments were both “good news” and “bad news” for the new discipline of psychology. Why did structuralism not flourish after Titchener’s death? Structuralism did not flourish after Titchener’s death, but it did make some contributions to the development of psychology. Explain what these contributions were. The Bias of History a la Titchener! This chapter discusses the Structuralist school of thought and its leader E. B. Titchener. There is an interesting bit of historical bias that should be talked about here. Titchener was a bit of a pompous academic who translated Wundt’s writings from German into English. His bias for how psychology ought to be viewed and studied was on Wundt’s lower psychology. As you remember, this lower psychology looked only at immediate experience. Some have said that Titchener was more Wundtian than Wundt. This means that his Structuralism went even farther than Wundt in its strict adherence to only studying immediate experience as the person is experiencing it. There was no room for the study of culture and language. In fact, Titchener never translated that part of Wundt’s ideas. It was years before people realized that this mediate experience was even part of Wundt’s body of work. It was only on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the founding of psychology that a full translation was done. Structuralism – Out of Step With the Zeitgeist Your book does a good job of relating why Structuralism disappeared after the death of Titchener. By the last of the 1800s and the first couple of decades of the 1900s, there were quite a few schools of thought emerging in this new discipline of psychology. Structuralism was so narrow – much more so than Wundt’s – that it simply could not survive. The rest of the psychological world was expanding to study all sorts of different subjects and use all manner of subjects. While Titchener thought that only mature, healthy adults should be the subject of research, other emerging schools were starting to study animals, children, the mentally ill, and the aged. Even Titchener, toward the end of his life, began to realize that the school of the thought needed to expand its vision. The phenomenological movement that was emerging was a far cry from that of Titchener’s introspection and his table of reactions. Where are the Women? In this chapter, you begin to get the understanding that women were not welcome in the sciences. The term “biological determinism” is appropriate to use. This means that what you are born with will determine how you succeed. If you are born female, your avenues for careers were severely limited. In the 19th and first 3 decades of the 20th century, women were not allowed to own property in the U.S. nor were allowed to vote. They had no rights to their children in the event of divorce and they were not allowed to publish papers or give talks at conferences if they were in the sciences. We will talk much more about this biological determinism in Chapter 7, but realize that Titchener’s refusal to have women in his experimental meetings was not untypical of the zeitgeist. He was, however, at the forefront of the movement for women to have educational advantages in personally conferring Ph. D.s on a number of women while many universities refused women entrance to their programs. Your book talks about Margaret Flory Washburn, Titchener’s first doctoral student. After Titchener conferred her with the Ph.D, she went on to do research that expanded psychology into the field of animal behavior and its comparisons to human behavior. This seems quite far afield from Titchener’s work – and indeed it was! As often happens, students learn and do the work of their mentoring professors and then upon graduating from the program, go out and change (often dramatically) their theories. This is a healthy thing for science, but does it tend to take “power” from the old school of thought? Absolutely!! This was the problem with the survival of structuralism. It was out of step with the zeitgeist but the new Ph. D.s were not! Snapshot: This chapter talks about the momentous arrival of Darwin’s evolutionary theory that changed the perspective of all the sciences and notably set the direction of how psychology viewed the human. We will see that evolution had long been talked about but that it was Darwin’s extensive observations on his 5 year trip on the Beagle that tipped the credit to Darwin for this theory. That made Darwin famous or infamous, depending on your point of view. Additionally, we will see the developments resulting from the theory in the measurement work of Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. These events will be the precursor to the psychological testing movement and comparative animal psychology. Learning Objectives: (After reading this chapter and the online lectures you should be able to:) Understand and be able to discuss Darwin’s view of natural selection, and survival of the fittest, and his view of where humans fit into this evolutionary picture. Understand why his theory was inflammatory to many religious individuals and to the Confederate cause during the U.S. Civil War will be important. Know something of Darwin’s life and how he changed from being a creationist to an evolutionist. Who was Wallace and how does he fit into evolutionary theory? Are the Darwin/Wallace theories an example of the zeitgeist at play? Samuel Butler took Darwin’s theory and extended it to the popularity of the machine analogy that had been propagated since the 1700s. Discuss how evolutionary theory factors in with the idea of machines according to Butler. Know what influence Darwin had on Galton’s work and what contributions Galton made that influenced functionalism, the testing movement, and psychology experimental research. Explain what Eugenics is and where the idea originated. What research evidences did Galton find that justified his belief in the idea of Eugenics? Understand Galton’s childhood and the types of investigations he did that demonstrate his love for measurement. We see the rise of animal behavior psychology and comparative psychology after Darwin’s theory. Know what part Romanes and Morgan played in this and what their individual ideas and methods were. Functionalism It is important to understand that the development of Functionalism in psychology was dependent on evolutionary theory. Rather than concentrating on sensations and their resultants, a new view developed of seeing how the individual adapted to a changing environment. Remember that America was a frontier and adaption to this frontier was vital for survival. Understand that there is a difference between basic science and applied science. Basic science investigates things for the sake of new knowledge. Applied science investigates things for the sake of solving a specific problem. Both are vital, but in frontier America, applied science was becoming the most important. The Functionalist Protest With the advent of evolutionary theory in the sciences and the strict subject matter of Wundt and Titchener, we see a protest forming known as the Functionalist movement. It really may not be correct to say it was an organized school of thought, but it certainly had the influence of one. One of the concerns of the protesters was that the study of the mind was too reductionist and broken down into sensations and what should really be looked at is the mind as a total entity and its ability to solve problems and adapt to the environment. Functionalism is the first uniquely American system of psychology. Although we have to be careful about calling it a singular system or school, we see that all the adherents shared an interest in the adaptive functions of consciousness. Darwin and Galton can be seen as antecedents to the Functional movement because of the ideas of individual differences within a species and the measurement of those differences. Wundt and Titchener can be seen as those who were protested against. We will meet several more individuals who will be antecedents of the Functionalist movement – William James, Granville Stanley Hall, and Hugo Musterberg. One last influence that helps usher in the Functionist “power” should be recognized. That is the influence of George Romanes and Lloyd Morgan for their animal research and the beginning of comparative psychology. As we study the functionalist, we will see psychology enter into an exciting time of growth and expansion. Many of the branches of psychology that you know today will be forming and extending. Unlike Structuralism and Voluntarism, Functionalism will allow a much broader range of subjects to be studied – comparative, developmental, clinical, forensic, advertisement and learning, and memory to name a few. It will also allow for a much broader range of subjects to be used in research – adults, children, adolescents, animals, the mentally impaired, and the criminally minded. Remember that was not true of former schools that utilized only the normal functioning adult for their research. Wallace and Darwin’s Dual Discovery – Can they be friends? Your book does a good job of relating some of the theories that predated Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Indeed, Darwin’s own grandfather, a physician, may have actually planted the seed in Darwin’s mind. He was a member of the Zoonomia Society that fostered some of the ideas of evolution. As your book points out with numerous examples, it was the Zeitgeist that really demanded that this theory emerges at the forefront of science. Darwin, himself waited 20 years to publish his theory, and only then because Wallace had sent him a copy of his own ideas and they matched Darwin’s almost exactly. Darwin had originally planned to have his book published posthumously because he knew it would cause a stir – and quite a stir it was…and is! With Wallace and Darwin formulating the same theory, one might ask why it is only called Darwin’s theory of evolution. After all, we will see numerous examples of dual theories because of the readiness of the zeitgeist, and usually, they are called by each of the names of the authors. Examples are the Bell–Magendie Law, the Young–HelmholtzTheory of Color Vision, and the James–Lange Theory of Emotion. Why not the Wallace–Darwin or Darwin–Wallace Theory of Evolution? The answer lies in the fact that Darwin’s collection of scientific data was the greatest and Wallace was also a scientific “gentleman”. Perhaps Wallace did not want to be famous when he would also be infamous! There is a fascinating bit of history that I want to share with you about this dual ownership of this theory. A number of years after Darwin had died, Wallace was awarded the Darwin–Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London. It was in a meeting of this same society that Darwin and Wallace had first held a debate on their dual theories before either had been published. The following is the acceptance speech by Wallace. Please read it as you have an essay to do on it. I think you will find the professional respect refreshing when some might have been quite bitter: Acceptance Speech on Receiving the Darwin–Wallace Medal (S656: 1908/1909) (Links to an external site.) Picture Link: This is Wallace at age 25Description: This portrait is of Charles Wallace at age 25 when he was just starting his scientific career. Picture Link: This is Wallace at age 55Description: This portrait is of Charles Wallace at 55. He had already formulated his theory and compared it with that of Darwin. A Bit More on Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle Darwin was born to a father who was a physician and a mother who was the heir to the Wedgwood China Co. His early life was one of ease. He was not a notable student and did poorly in school and his father vowed that someday he would disgrace the family! He spent his childhood collecting things – plants, shells, minerals. He entered medical school but found the lectures boring and the surgery unbearable as this was before the advent of anesthetics. He then went to Cambridge to become an Anglican clergyman. He graduated very tenuously due to his adoption of an “eat, drink and be merry” lifestyle. His more pleasant recollection of this time was his extensive collection of beetles that he made. What is interesting about this background is that before embarking on the Beagle, Darwin was a creationist, one who believed the earth was created as described in Genesis. At 21 he boarded the ship the Beagle for a three-year trip that was to last 5. The captain of the Beagle was Robert Fitz–Roy, also a creationist. He almost did not allow Darwin on because he believed in phrenology and thought that Darwin’s nose showed him to not possess sufficient energy and determination for such a voyage. The Beagle left in 1831 and arrived home in 1836 having gone to South America, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and Australia among other destinations. Darwin began formulating his theory and collecting vast evolutionary examples. He became quite close to Fitz–Roy, but 6 years after Darwin published his theory of evolution, Fitz–Roy committed suicide and there was some talk that it was because he felt he had fostered Darwin’s opportunity to develop such a heretical theory. Be sure you understand exactly what his theory entails. It talks about the struggle of all creatures for survival. Among offspring, there is a struggle for survival of the fittest. Fitness might mean the biggest and meanest, but think about it, it might mean the smallest and most easily hidden. This is the idea of natural selection. Fitness refers to the organism’s ability to survive and REPRODUCE. That is all. Organisms that possessed adaptive features that allowed them to survive a changing environment survived. One of the most startling parts of the theory was that it put a man right in there with the other animals. Always man had been thought of as greater than all other living creatures – different and greater. Now, he was simply one of them, although perhaps at the top of the phylogenic scale. This one idea opened the way in psychology for the entire field of comparative psychology in which animal and man’s behaviors are studied and compared. A lasting effect of this theory was its emphasis on differences among a particular species. Before the evolutionary theory, it was believed that all members of a particular species were the same. While species varied greatly from other species, the individual members of a given species had little variance. It was an evolutionary theory that said that within the species there was a great variance of members. This is really the catalyst to the movement that you will see with Galton called “eugenics”. It is the idea that some members of a given species are more representative and eminent than others of the same species. The species that eugenics focused on was that of man. Picture Link: Darwin’s Study Description: This is Darwin’s study at Down House where he lived with his family most of his married life and where he formulated much of his theory. Galton and Measurement Your book does a good job of describing Galton, his life, and his contributions to psychology. There are several additional ideas that I think you will find interesting. Your book talks about how he created the weather map that we know today. It is the ideas of highs and lows on the weather map that he theorized and used that was the most important idea. If you think about it, it really is the highs and lows that denote the weather we will have and when they clash…we can get some really big storms. Galton’s fascination with counting and measuring led him to revolutionize statistics with the correlation, but his Eugenics theory – and he was not the only one to theorize about it – had a darker legacy. Eugenics helped to empower many of the prejudices that have been so unfair over this last century and a half. It was these ideas that were also taken very much to the dark side by Hitler and more recently, some of the genocides in Africa. On the lighter side, I thought I would tell you a few more ideas that Galton investigated. He tried to measure the beauty in women, the varying degrees of boredom at scientific lectures, and even the effectiveness of prayer. This last measurement he admitted was troublesome to figure out how to measure. In his 1872 paper “Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer” he discussed this and concluded that it was not really known scientifically if it really helped. He also developed the idea of using the unique fingerprints of individuals for identification with Scotland Yard being the first to do so. When Galton’s cousin Darwin published his evolutionary theory, Galton felt that measuring individual differences in humans would be his life work. Picture Link: Galton’s Anthropometric LabDescription: This is Galton’s Anthropometric Laboratory where he conducted much of his research on individual differences. Darwin’s Study An Interesting Tidbit: If you look at a map of New Zealand, you will see a small island off the coast called Fitz–Roy. Wonder how it got its name???? A Little Scientific Gossip: In studying the ancient mummies from around the world, researchers have been able to see some of the diseases they were subject to so long ago. One disease, Chagas, has been seen quite often, particularly in South American mummies. It is thought that Darwin may have eventually succumbed to this parasitic problem that might take 20 years to develop. Why might people think this to be possible? See the following website for the answer: