The Origins of Psychology

Known as the “new kid on the block” in medical science when it was first developed, it is difficult to believe that psychology was actively practiced in Egypt before Freud and Jung were ever born. Morton Hunt, a psychology historian, is highly credited as tracing this historical information to find the first psychologist experiment ever practiced on Earth-that we know about. During the seventh century, the Egyptian king of that era wanted to know if his civilization was the oldest on Earth. To prove his theory, he decided to raise Egyptian children in isolation from infancy on up, with no verbal contact of any form given to them from another human being. The idea was that when they did begin speaking, they would speak Egyptian as proof of their being the original civilization of Earth and of humanity. Flawed as the experiment was, the king still was credited with recognizing that everything came through the mind and set out to prove it.

Historians have long recognized the ancient philosophers from Greece were the primary ones rich in psychology-related thinking, and few would argue with it today. We still use the main ideas from these early wise Greek men to prove that all fields of psychology have their chronology base through the roots of philosophy, religion, and mythology. Best known of this early group is Plato and Socrates, still widely accepted as beginning the “academic pursuit of understanding the human mind and behavior.”

What we do not want to forget is that although it was not until the late 19th century that psychology slowly began to develop as an academic field in itself, it took physiology to assist in fully developing the field of psychology. Proof of this was through the professor of physiology, William Wundt, who also became known as the “father of psychology”. He later became well-known as developing the psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1897. A group of scientists in addition to Wundt formed a scientific school of thought in order to study the human consciousness, with the main goal of breaking it down into three main areas-perception, sensation, and affection. This became known as structuralism, which was the ability to train individual subjects to use extremely careful and systematic observations of their own conscious experiences with carefully processed data.

Today, with media-driven attention to the masses, psychology has taken on a whole new outlook on life. The media itself is simple, and described in simple terminology. Psychology has long been known to describe the media regarding its functional theories and concepts. That was yesterday. Today is now. And today is continuously changing. Research is slowly beginning to step up to the bat with psychologists exploring what the media is about-the messages we are hearing, what effects they are having on people, and how people are portrayed on television-all impacted by the average viewer watching television seven hours a day.

“Psychology has a long past, but only a short history.” ~ German experimentalist, Hermann Ebbinghaus