In every single subject in the world, there is an expert, somebody
who is the font of all of the key information about a subject.
They are the very reference for the modern thinking and evolution
of whatever it is they do.
To Psychology, that person is Wilhelm Wundt. Through his teachings,
countless students have risen to prominence and contributed greatly
to society, one of his main students was Hugo Munsterberg who
played a big role in the way we understand memories today.
Unfortunately, Wundt spent much of his life defending his beliefs
and ideas, rather than being celebrated as the great mind that
he was. The way his school of thought worked was that it split
the lines between Science and Philosophy, which meant he had few
friends on either side. Sadly, much of what Wilhelm Wundt spoke
of is now the common method of thinking, yet very few people credit
him as the source, as he should be.
Although he preferred to see it as a form of Philosophy, with
more balanced leanings towards science, many took umbrage to questioning
their beliefs and challenging what they believed to be the "right"
way of thinking.
Deemed to be a "waste of time" by philosophy guru Kant,
Wundt did not relent with his aims and beliefs. In 1879, Wundt
founded the first official lab for psychological research at the
University of Leipzig, Austria. This was the beginning of psychology
becoming its own form of study, and evolving to what it is today.
Without his ideas and passion, there may never have been a psychological
school of thought, or at least the one we know today. Two years
later, he also started work on the first journal about psychological
Wilhelm Wundt believed that research should be focused on analysing
the human mind and consciousness, to really pinpoint how we experience
the world. The term "Structuralism" was coined by a
former student of his, Tichener.
Wundt used a form of analysis which he called Introspection,
which was based around the observation of an experience which
you, yourself, have been involved in. Several of his writings,
including the Principles of Psychological Study, are considered
to be key parts of the history of psychology, even if they are
not widely recognised in mainstream teachings.
Unfortunately, most the his work in his day had been derided
due to a lack of adequate translations and poor representation
by students, although Tichener has been noted with several translations,
or mistranslations depending on your stance, of his work to be
more in line with his own beliefs, rather than specifically Wundt's.
Although Wundt is not celebrated as much as he should be, many
scholars and well-read students consider him to be the "Father"
of Psychology, and that without him, there would be nothing like
the field of study we have today.
Rumor Has It …
Rumor has it that Wilhelm Wundt was not only the father of psychology
but the father of psychobabble as well. In fact, Wundt started
out by babbling "Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?"
to his pet rabbit, Fred and things devolved from there.
Written by Kevin Lepton