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Serious scientists (for example, studying the physics or biochemistry of roundworms) often question the status of psychology as a science. The most sensible people, who have resisted the temptation to professionally engage in science, consider psychology as an applied discipline with vague terminology ("muttering psychos").

Be that as it may, if you want to impress the psychologist, you must firmly defend the view that psychology is truly a science. To evaluate this statement, a little history should be learned. Of course, this is human nature, but let it not bother you, you do not need to know more about the history of psychology than a psychologist, and this is quite a bit.

Origins: does philosophy have evidence?

The history of psychology is quite short. For more than 2500 years, no one has been indignant that philosophers have been engaged in psychology (Aristotle, Socrates, a little later Descartes, who can be scolded for separating the soul from the body as a “ghost in a car” became a good example). These wise loafers reflected on the human mind, and not a single scientist bothered them with a small request for evidence. At sunset of the 19th century, a coup finally took place. Scientists wanted to make sure on the basis of facts, whether there is a grain of truth in the absurd statements of philosophers. Thus began the period of empirical psychology.

From that moment, important ideas concerning the mind began to be verified by the method of experiments - that is, the theory was followed by experiments in which the hypothesis was tested. Failure meant a nail in the coffin for the whole theory. It happens!

Unfortunately, psychologists are just people and can be equally shy and persistent, so many theories were undeservedly forgotten, while others were stubbornly insisted on, without having the slightest evidence of their truth.

You might want to know that the first psychological laboratory was founded by Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) in 1879 at the University of Leipzig, but this is only useful if you plan to communicate with a German. Wundt was the founder of German gestalt psychologists - early experts in the field of visual perception. Representatives of this direction study how people perceive and classify what is in front of their eyes (ears, nose, etc.). The most famous principle is: “The whole is always greater than the sum of its constituent parts” and is applied not only to optical illusion, but also to churches from matches, magic pies and the ABBA group.

William James (1842–1910), brother of novelist Henry James, was Wundt’s distinguished American rival. He helpfully defined psychology as the “science of spiritual life” and worked as a slave for 12 years to write his famous book, Principles of Psychology (you should make it a rule to call it “James”). In 1884, James excellently formulated James-Lange's theory of feelings, which Karl Lange (1834–1900) had worked on the year before.

According to the James-Lange theory, the emergence of emotions is caused by changes caused by external influences in the voluntary motor sphere, as well as in the field of involuntary acts of cardiac, vascular, secretory activity. The set of sensations associated with these changes is an emotional experience. James illustrates this with the example that psychologists have repeatedly quoted: a person realizes his fear of a bear only after he reacted to his attack (for example, he ran away or noted in his mind that next year it is not worth spending a vacation in Yosemite National Park) .

It should be noted that psychologists are still arguing about the dubious places of the James-Lange theory. This serves as convincing evidence that psychology is indeed a “difficult” science or that many psychologists are incorrigible in their desire to engage in advanced science.

Transition: Psychology Neglects Scientific Precision

While empirical psychologists puzzled over the question of how to make psychology a true science, the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) unexpectedly came up with a new direction - psychoanalysis. And that ruined everything. Freud was not going to test his ideas by the method of scientific experiments, so in academic textbooks on psychology they do not pay enough attention. And psychology textbooks, if you've ever read them, are a great way to promote ideas.

Despite this, Freud was the first to explain the serious role of parent-child relationships and their impact on internal conflicts in the unconscious during puberty.
Freud is largely considered the "father" of psychology, and so far his work gives rise to a deep unconscious (and conscious) struggle between psychologists. We recommend that you get acquainted with Freud's inspirational ideas in your home environment, but in public do not forget to scold him for the lack of scientific accuracy. This will convince others in the depths of your knowledge. They don’t speak badly about the dead, but Freud is an exception.

The era of behaviorism: psychology again requires evidence (this time very serious)

Against psychoanalysis, sparing no effort, a movement was struggling that required the restoration of scientific morality. It was behaviorism founded by John Watson (1878–1958), Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) and B. F. Skinner (1904–1990). Watson did not value reflection and empathy (the ability to empathize) as highly as his contemporaries, psychoanalysts. He argued: “The goal of psychology is not in understanding experience, but in predicting and controlling behavior!” To achieve this, behaviorists built unnatural devices, such as the Skinner’s box, designed to monitor and control the reactions of rats, dogs, and pigeons. It was assumed that these experiments will reveal the laws of natural behavior of people.

Behavioralists avoided studying human experiences as if it were a dubious area, and allotted it a place somewhere between mysticism and fiction. Mental experiences were described as a “concomitant phenomenon,” that is, something happening on the surface is a consequence of what is happening in reality, but does not affect anyone or anything. About the same as the political manifesto.

Cognitive revolution: psychology is obsessed with computers (like everyone else)

In the 1940-1950s, under the leadership of the American mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), a new movement arose, called cybernetics, and the mind again entered the stage. In cybernetics, the human mind is regarded as a complex type of thermostat that regulates all processes to maintain a satisfactory state of the system. If you claim that you are familiar with this discipline, then no one will doubt that you are a graduate. This trend did not last long and turned into a broad movement, now known as cognitive psychology.

Cognitive psychologists have put forward the important idea that the study of the human mind is possible based on the study of computer operation. It can be assumed that the main obstacle to its development was that psychologists know very little about computer operation. Only they drew an analogy between the mind existing in the brain and the "software" operating in the hardware of the computer, as true researchers of the brain reminded them that such an analogy is also meaningless. Computers must be identical, while two identical brains cannot be found, with the possible exception of the brains of Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

End result: mess

As you can see, the development of psychology can be traced on the example of vivid analogies that psychologists themselves use. Over the past century, the science of human behavior has been based on the behavior of a dog, rat, pigeon, thermostat, computer, and will soon get to the behavior of a gaming machine. And only philosophers need to pay tribute to the original (and most robust) idea to study the human mind on the basis of the human mind.

The cumulative effect of the development of various areas in psychology is that there is no time to study all of this, as a result, each individual psychologist remains adherent only of his own precious discipline, while at the same time affirming that all the others are as essential as a certain arrangement of people in a round dance .

Therefore, although psychologists declare their ability to understand other people, one psychologist is unlikely to understand what the other is talking about. Fortunately, you are free to choose what you like best and to rant with others. For example, you can say ...

• behaviorist: “If my thoughts are a related phenomenon, I think you are not very upset about what I think about your inexcusably screaming tie.”

• to a cognitive psychologist: “If a computer is like a human brain, tell me what my laptop really wants from life.”

• psychoanalyst (after he, based on your way of holding a cup, made a conclusion about your subconscious motives moving you): “Terrific! How do you think my cup feels? ”
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