Psychological science is pure science. The International Union of Psychological Science has 71 nations from Albania to Zimbabwe as its members. BY AYUSH

Let us see how psychology continued to develop from the 1920s until today. In the initial phase, many psychologists believed that compared to everything else in our external universe, if there is one thing about which everyone has maximum knowledge then that is about himself/herself. We have maximum knowledge about ourselves because of the inside information. In conformity to this idea, Wundt and Titchener also focused on inner sensations images, and feelings. William James used the introspective examination for understanding elements of consciousness and emotions. So, early psychologists define psychology as a science of mental life.


In the 1920s John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner rejected the method of introspection and redefined psychology as the scientific study of observable behavior. They argued that science is based on observation. We cannot observe sensations, feelings, or thoughts and therefore they cannot be studied. However, people's behavior as they respond to different situations can be observed and recorded, so only observable behavior should be considered in the scientific study of psychology. Many psychologists agreed that behaviorism was one of the major forces in psychology right into the 1960s.

Freudian Psychology:

The other major force at that time was Freudian Psychology. In 1940, Sigmund Freud spoke about the unconscious thought processes and emotional response to childhood experiences and their influence on our behavior. Just as in the 1900s, the behaviorists had rejected the prevailing definition of psychology at that time, similarly, two other groups rejected the definition of psychology that was prevailing in the 1960s.

Humanistic Psychology:

Humanistic psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow found that Freudian perspective and behaviorism were limited approaches to understand human behavior. They pointed out that instead of focusing our attention on the meaning of early childhood memories (as propagated by Freud) or learning of conditioned responses (as propagated by behaviorists), it is important to pay attention to the ways that current environmental influences can nurture or limit our growth potential and satisfy our need for love and acceptance. More than early childhood experiences and learning of conditioned response, humanists felt that the current environmental conditions influence the potential of growth.

Cognitive Psychology:

The rebellion of the second group of psychologists who rebelled during the 1960s is known as Cognitive Revolution. This revolution once again believed that it is important to see how mental processes and retains information. Cognitive psychology scientifically explores the way we perceive, process, and remember information. Cognitive neuroscience, an interdisciplinary study, has enriched our knowledge about brain activity underlying mental activity. It has given us new ways to understand ourselves and to treat disorders such as depression.

In light of this historical background, we can summarize psychology's concern about observable behavior and inner thoughts and feelings by defining psychology as the science of behavior and mental processes. Let us analyze the definition.


It is anything that an organism does. It is any action that can be observed and recorded, maybe smiling, yelling, studying, talking, running, etc.

Mental processes:

These are internal susceptive experiences based on which inferences can be drawn about the behavior like sensations perception, dreams, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.


Psychology is less a set of findings than a way of asking and answering questions.

Contemporary Psychology:

Psychology as science emerged from the field of biology and philosophy. Wilhelm Wundt was a philosopher and psychologist, William James was an American Philosopher. Freud was a physician; Ivan Pavlov was a Russian Physiologist. The most influential child observer Jean Piaget was a Swiss biologist. Morton Hunt in 1993, called them “Magellans of the Mind” (Ferdinand Magellan (1489–1521) was a famous Portuguese navigator who made many discoveries and explored areas of the world previously unknown to his fellow Europeans. Because early psychologists made exciting discoveries and explored unknown frontiers, they were preparing the way (they were pioneers) for future psychologists and can thus be considered "Magellans of the Mind".

Thus, Morton Hunt held that psychology originated in several fields and many countries. Even today's psychologists are the citizens of many different countries. The International Union of Psychological Science has 71 nations from Albania to Zimbabwe as its members. In China, the first department of Psychology at the university level was opened in 1978 and in 2008 there were nearly 200 Departments of Psychology at the university level. Apart from that, due to international publications, joined meetings, the advent of the internet, collaboration across the borders, Psychology is growing rapidly and globalizing. Today Psychology is not only developing at various places but the topics of interest also vary from the study of nerve cells to the study of international conflicts.


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