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Volume 2 Chapter 1

Psychologists in Voluntarism, Structuralism, Functionalism, Pragmatism, Eugenics and Clinical Psychology

Symbols of the Birth of Modern Psychology

Voluntarism, Functionalism, the Darwinian Revolution, Eugenics and Clinical Psychology

The Inspiration
The Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment laid the foundation for the birth of psychology. Those movements were inspired by the Greek scholars immortalized in the School of Athens fresco painted by Raphael. For centuries, philosophers and theologians had dominated the conversation about human behavior. They based their theories on philosophic principles or religious beliefs. Although a rebirth was occurring in science, something was still missing. Medicine took the body and religion took the soul to study. Psychology filled the void and took the mind, symbolized by its beginning in a laboratory. A new psychological science created to understand and change human behavior from the findings in the new experimental laboratories, research institutes, clinical treatment and psychological testing rooms.

A Dynamic Broad-Based Profession
The goal of this chapter is to provide the foundational theories and applied practices upon which modern psychology was built, beginning with the voluntarism of Wilhelm Wundt, the structuralism of Edward Titchener, the functionalism of William James, and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. These theories inspired psychologists to focus on the nature of intelligence and to ask whether intelligence was inherited or determined by societal forces, which led to the ongoing nature/nurture debate in psychology. Beyond academic debates, psychologists began to measure intelligence by developing psychological testing; eventually, this became the Intelligent Quotient (I.Q.) score that remains the standard for the determination of intelligence.

On July 8, 1892, Granville Stanley Hall, professor of psychology and president of Clark University, invited 26 American psychologists to join the American Psychological Association. Although a rift developed between experimental and applied psychologists, there was agreement that the goal of psychology was to alleviate human suffering and social problems and have practical relevance to educators, businessmen, “asylum” superintendents, and counselors. From that day in 1892, The American Psychological Association has grown from the 26 to over 130,000 members.

Against initial resistance from some experimental psychologists, applied psychology, later clinical psychology, was born by the work of an original APA member, Lightner Witner, who first coined the term “clinical psychology” at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1896, Witner started the first university-based psychological clinic. To provide a more complete clinical picture beyond intelligence testing, by the 1940s, projective and personality testing emerged, especially the Rorschach Test, expanding testing repertoire to create a more comprehensive clinical assessment. By the late twentieth century, clinical psychology became a leading profession in health care, challenging psychiatry for preeminence, even procuring prescription privileges in a few states.

It has been said that history is written by the victors, this is also true in psychology. Although schooled and supportive of empirical and natural science methods, most of the great contributors who birthed the new psychological discipline believed if psychology was destined to emancipate humanity from ignorance and suffering, it would be necessary for psychology to develop a vision beyond the limitations of empiricism. This view started with Wilhelm Wundt, the father of modern psychology, who advocated for a cultural psychology and continued with William James, the father of American psychology, whose work inspired the development of transpersonal psychology.

Chapter Symbols

A person holding a beaker with a colorful smoke coming out of it.

Fig 1.1 – Experimental Psychology

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A man sitting in a chair with a laptop in front of a burning mountain.

Fig 1.2- Beware of Good Intentions

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A digital illustration of a clock with a brain and lines.

Fig 1.3 – The Birth of Psychology

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A blue and white smoke in a beaker.

Fig 1.4 – Structuralism

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A water fall with a computer screen.

Fig 1.5 – Functionalism

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A man running in a tunnel with a car and eyes.

Fig 1.6 – Mechanical Equilibrium

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A man with many green monster heads.

Fig 1.7 – Survival of the Fittest

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A man in a suit with a gorilla head.

Fig 1.8 – Evolution

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A black and white graphic design.

Fig 1.9 – Swastika

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A statue of a man and a woman.

Fig 1.10 – Eugenics

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A person's hands pulling their fingers up to a human head.

Fig 1.11 – Phrenology

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A group of people with a statue of liberty and a map of the world.

Fig 1.12 – Kallikak Family

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A child's face with a tree and a blue sky.

Fig 1.13- Nature/Nurture Debate

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A woman with colorful paint splashes.

Fig 1.14 – Rorschach Test

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A man in a suit pointing at a device with his finger.

Fig 1.15 -Obedience to Authority

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A man's face with a letter.

Fig 1.16-Symbol of Psychology

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Cartoon characters on a race track.

Fig 1.17-Dodo Bird Verdict

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A drawing of people and a chart.

Fig 1.18- Bell Curve Research

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A building with a flag on it.

Fig 1.19 – Symbolic Home

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