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Formation of psychology as a separate science

Mental phenomena, as already noted, have long attracted the attention of scientists and thinkers, but only at the end of the XIX century, psychology becomes an independent science. In 1879, the German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) founded the world's first laboratory of experimental psychology at the University of Leipzig. After 6 years, in 1885, the eminent Russian scientist Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev (1857–1927) organized the first psychological laboratory in Russia at Kazan University.

The method of introspection was chosen as the main research method by Wundt, i.e. organized by special rules of self-observation. The purpose of the study is to obtain data on the structure of consciousness through the selection of its “pure” elements. This scientific direction was called structuralism. Wundt created an international school for the training of professional psychologists, which allowed the formation of an international organizational structure of psychological science.

Almost at the same time in the USA, William James (1842–1910) develops a direction called functionalism and declaring the function of mental processes in adapting to the environment to be the subject of a psychological study. Based on the evolutionary teachings of Charles Darwin, James argued the biological usefulness of the psyche and consciousness.

At the end of the XIX century. In the United States, a new scientific direction in psychology has emerged - behaviorism (from behavior (English) - behavior). It played an exceptional role in the development of psychological science, its experimental methods and links with practice. The emergence of this direction is associated with the names of Edward Thorndike (1874–1949) and John Watson (1878–1958). The work of the Russian physiologists Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, who created reflexology, and Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936), who created the theory of the formation of a conditioned reflex, had a strong influence on the formation of behaviorism ideas.

The basic concept of behaviorism was based on the fact that the subject of psychology is behavior. Behavior is expressed in certain actions, actions, reactions and depends on external influence (stimulus). Thus, it is possible to compare the characteristics of the stimulus and the behavior characteristics. By specifying certain characteristics of the stimulus, one can obtain the intended effect and, if desired, consolidate this relationship.
In their animal studies, behaviorists have demonstrated that learning in many cases can be the result of trial and error in trying to solve an animal’s problem.

Later, the representative of the so-called neo-behaviorist Edward Tolman (1886–1959) improved J. Watson’s formula by introducing into it “intermediate variables”, by which he understood certain events in the body that arise as a result of the stimulus, but are not in the strict sense a response . According to Tolman, such “intermediate variable” can be “cognitive maps”, i.e. the formed image of a labyrinth in a rat that previously ran in it, which allows the rat to navigate in this labyrinth. Such an "intermediate variable" may, for example, also be a target.

Another neobievist representative, Beres Skinner (1904–1990), argued that behavior can be determined not by stimulus, but by the likely consequences of behavior. He also introduced the concept of "operant learning." According to this concept, an animal or person will seek to reproduce the experience, which had pleasant consequences, and avoid behavior that leads to trouble. Thus, it turned out that it was not the person himself who chooses his own behavior, but the probable consequences of the behavior determine his final choice. On this assumption, Skinner proposed the idea of ​​programmed learning, which implies a “step-by-step” mastery of the activity with the reinforcement of each correct step taken.

A special direction in the framework of behaviorism was sociobehaviorism, which arose in the 60s. His leading representative is the Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura (1925–1988), the creator of the theory of social learning. According to this theory, a person can master new forms of behavior, not so much by their own trial and error, as by observing other people’s behavior patterns and the consequences of this behavior. Moreover, reinforcement can come not only from other people, but also at the level of self-reinforcement (assessment of compliance with internal standards of behavior). Many of the positions of behaviorism have not lost their meaning today. They are actively used in the organization of professional activity, training, psychotherapy and other areas.
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Formation of psychology as a separate science

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