Ever since the introduction of this course several weeks back, I have time and again reflected upon the history and future of psychology. As is widely understood, this is a discipline, both academic and applied, involving the study of general mental functions and resulting behaviors. Psychological thought dates back to Ancient Greek and Egypt. Connecting such a seemingly simple discipline to such ancient times leaves one wondering how beneficial it is to the society, and what impact history may have on its future.
As already mentioned, interest in this field began in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece (Boeree, 2012). However, pioneering works in this discipline and its establishment as a self-conscious subject of experimental study began in the late nineteenth century when the first laboratory was built and dedicated entirely to psychology (Boeree, 2012). Following this experimental psychology, other pioneers brought forth other forms of applied psychology based on scientific and educational theories. The discipline has indeed developed and widened to cover a larger scope over time.
It may be worthwhile to mention that various concepts have been learnt in class and that understanding the same has come in handy in real life situations. Among them are cognition, perception, emotion, attention, phenomenology, brain functioning, motivation, behavior, personality, and interpersonal relationships. Specifically, comprehending the role of mental functions in social and general behavior, and how such influence individual character has helped me a great deal. I have learnt to be accommodative and more tolerant, even when people around me act in a manner I do not approve of. I now understand that behaviors and other cognitive functions are possibly influenced by physiological and biological functions. My attitude has changed since I now know it may not be their fault when people behave annoyingly. Consequently, my personal relationships with many other individuals have improved for the better.
In a broader sense, the immediate goal of understanding groups and individuals has been achieved through studying specific cases and establishing general principles in psychology. In many accounts, it has benefited society. Correlational and causal relationships between psychological variables can now be inferred by psychologists who apply empirical methods (Malone, 2009). Psychological inferences are linked to research and other perspectives from the social sciences, medicine, natural sciences, and humanities like philosophy. In this respect, such knowledge finds application in, among many areas, the assessment of mental health problems and subsequent treatment. Many other problems in different spheres of human life can now be better understood and, thus, easily solved.
One wonders what value history has on the direction of the future of psychology. In the history of its development, scientific and educational theories and approaches were employed. Perhaps these are what will still shape its future since scientific, political, and technical forces are now shaping psychology as a whole. Computer science and biology are significant too in the development of sub disciplines of this field. Realization of the central role it plays in life and how it is inter-related to other fields has seen it find a relevant application in sports, health, education, law, and forensic investigations among other fields (Malone, 2009).
To conclude, one might say that the world would be a better place if everyone understood and appreciated psychology. Inter-personal relations would improve, and conflicts would be minimized, since people would comprehend each other better. Maybe it is time all studied this interesting field.
Boeree, G. C. (2012). The History of Psychology. Shippensburg University.
Malone, J. (2009). Psychology : Pythagoras to Present. MIT Press, Cambridge: MA.