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The 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 19th century did psychology become 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 outstanding Russian scientist Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev (1857–1927) organized the first psychological laboratory in Russia at Kazan University.

Wundt chose the method of introspection as the main research method, i.e. organized according to special rules of self-observation. The purpose of the study is to obtain data on the structure of consciousness through the allocation of its “pure” elements. This scientific direction is 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) was developing a direction called functionalism and declaring the function of mental processes to adapt to the environment as the subject of psychological research. Based on the evolutionary teachings of C. Darwin, James proved 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 - behaviorism (from behavior (eng.) - behavior). It played an exceptional role in the development of psychological science, its experimental methods and relationships with practice. The emergence of this trend is associated with the names of Edward Thorndike (1874–1949) and John Watson (1878–1958). The formation of the ideas of behaviorism was strongly influenced by the work of Russian physiologists Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, who created reflexology, and Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936), who created the doctrine of the formation of a conditioned reflex.

The basic concept of behaviorism was based on the fact that behavior is the subject of psychology. 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 characteristics of behavior. By setting certain characteristics of the stimulus, one can obtain the planned effect and, if desired, consolidate this connection.
In their animal studies, behaviorists have demonstrated that learning in many cases can be the result of trial and error when an animal tries to solve the problem it faces.

Later, the representative of the so-called neo-behaviourism Edward Tolman (1886–1959) improved J. Watson’s formula by introducing “intermediate variables” in it, 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 the labyrinth in the rat that previously ran in it, which allows the rat to navigate in this labyrinth. A similar “intermediate variable" may, for example, also be the target.

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

A special direction in the framework of behaviorism was socio-behaviorism that arose in the 60s. Its leading representative is 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 through his own trial and error, but 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 principles of behaviorism have not lost their significance today. They are actively used in the organization of professional activities, training, psychotherapy and other fields.
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The formation of psychology as a separate science

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