What is Psychology? The word “Psychology” comes from Greek roots meaning “the study of soul or spirit”. The combination of two Greek letters “Psych” and “Logus” make the term psychology. Psych means itself, soul or mind and Logus stands for knowledge. So Psychology was defined as knowledge of soul, mind, and consciousness in the different era. Let’s discuss how these definitions restrict or help the field of Psychology, and see if anyone of them can enable us to understand what psychology is and what it deals with.
VARIOUS THOUGHT ABOUT PSYCHOLOGY
The following are the various thoughts about psychology;
1.PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE OF SOUL
First of it was defined as “Science of soul”. Soul is a concept we all know very well but can’t describe easily. Muslims and Non-Muslims both have clear concept according to their own belief.
This term has changed its meaning with the passage of time. In primitive era it was believed that each and every thing has the soul, but afterwards this belief was limited to living organism only. Another strong notion about soul is that it is immortal. In Greek period concept of good and bad soul was prevailing yet Greek philosopher had describe it by their own.
Pythagoras: He proposed that body is a prison for soul. After the death of an individual soul becomes free and roam any where according to its will.
Socrets: He was the first who introduced the word psyche. Socrets advocated that body is greater than soul. He believed that soul is immortal and not the body. Socrets said that everybody must seek the knowledge to make the soul pure.
Plato: Plato was in opinion that soul and body are separate system. Both remain active and functioning till the last breath. He told that soul is just a shadow which can only be felt but no one can understand its reality.
2.PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE OF MIND
Greek philosophers named psychology as a “science of mind”. Mind is defined as feelings, sentiments, sensation, conscious and unconscious functions.
Greek philosophers used the term of soul and mind unanimously. Plato was the person who introduced this term for the first time. Aristotle proposer mind as the function of body and mental process are affected due to environmental factors. John Locke declared that soul is religious concept and mind is psychological concept. He presented the notion know as “Tabula Rasa”.
Wundt: When Wundt established the first laboratory and evolved structuralism as a school of thought, he defined that it as a science of mind. Actually Wundt and Titcher both were trying to study the mental process.
3.PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
It was also defined as “Science of consciousness”. What is meant by consciousness? The present momentary awareness is called as consciousness. What is experiencing mow at this moment is conscious mental process. Those experiences about which we are fully aware and don’t need to recall are included in field / span of consciousness.
John Dewey; An American psychologist defined it as science of consciousness. He suggested that consciousness is purposeful and every one can analyze its conscious experiences.
W.James: He defined that it as a science of consciousness. He was in view that mind is flexible and fluid and characterized by constant change and adaption in response to a few of information.
4.PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE OF BEHAVIOUR
What a living thing does is generally known as behavior. It means responses or reactions to various kinds of stimuli. When this definition was adopted for psychology it gained lot of fame and acceptance. As it is discussed earlier that in order to understand the minds of other persons and animals we have to study the behaviour.
J.B.Watson: He claimed that it is a study of behavior i.e. what organism do, their action, reaction and responses. Thus behavior of organism is observable and can be measured. He not only propagated this concept but also criticized the concepts like soul, mind and consciousness. He declared that anything which can’t be experimented must be thrown out of psychology.
Pillsbury: He was the first person who used this term for psychology.
W.McDougall: He also adopted this definition for psychology.
Thorndike: who conducted many experiments on animals and introduced trail and error method for learning, is known as behaviorist psychologist.
According to Watson individuals learns from his environment. He conducted successful experiments on small children and animals, and explained the Stimulus Response (SR) formula. Stimulus is studied as it elicits behaviour, rewards and punishment maintain the responses, but SR is not concerned with what goes on organism. So it was criticized amended as SOR. Organism was included with stimulus and response.
It is conclusion that Behaviorist conducted a lot of experiment and became dominated during first half of 20th century. Psychology has benefited from this definition. Experimentation on behavior made the prediction easy. But it is not enough to study the behavior only. To cover the complete are of psychology these definitions needs some addition.