Assignment 1

1. Define psychology. Briefly describe the evolution of modern psychology.

Just as the universe is awed at for its infinite size, wonders, contents and energy, the comparatively small brain has been awed at for its contents, complexity, and infinite potential. Since centuries thinkers and philosophers have wondered about the mental processes of the brain. The name of this field of understanding the mind and its working is Psychology.

The discipline of understanding and explaining these mental processes and the actions that result from these mental processes is psychology. Gerrig and Zimbardo have adequately defined psychology in Psychology and Life. Psychology is technically defined as the scientific study of behaviour of individuals and their mental processes. Scientific study involves an objective and orderly collection of data and analyses of the data to reach error free and reliable conclusions. Behaviour is the action and means by which   a living being adjusts and interacts with the environment. Mental processes are the private, internal events that occur within the mind, an example being thinking.

Psychology became a formal subject to be studied towards the end of the 19th century   (Gerrig, Zimbardo,9).   Research for the first time in this field was carried out in laboratories using techniques from physics and physiology. The first laboratory was built by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany. Many students trained here went on to expand the field of psychology. Laboratories started to spring up in North America and by 1900 there were 40 psychological laboratories. Edward Titchener was the first US psychologist trained in Leipzig. William James was another important figure and wrote a two volume book, the Principles of Psychology, an important book even today. Around the same period, the American Psychological Association was formed. Discussions were held as to what constitutes an appropriate subject matter for this new field....