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Explanation of Human Behavior

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Explanation of Human Behavior
Student
Introduction to Behavioral Science BEH225
November 7th 2014
Tracy Doro Krueger

Psychology Evolving Into A Science Psychology evolving into a science is a result of individuals and their theories more than successive steps. As our reading states, people have been informally observing human behavior and philosophizing about it for thousands of years (University of Phoenix, 2013). In contrast, psychology’s history as a science dates back only about 130 years. Wilhelm Wundt, the “father of psychology,” set up a laboratory in 1879 to study conscious experience. By insisting on systematic observation and measurement, he got psychology off to a good start. Wundt’s ideas were carried to the United States by Edward Titchener who called Wundt’s ideas structuralism and tried to analyze the structure of mental life into basic “elements” or “building blocks” (University of Phoenix, 2013). After Titchener, one of the first philosophies developed was Functionalism by American scholar William James. James helped establish the field as a separate discipline. The functionalists admired Charles Darwin, who deduced that creatures evolve in ways that favor survival. Functionalism spurred the rise of industrial/organizational psychology, the study of people at work (University of Phoenix, 2013). Functionalism and structuralism were soon challenged by behaviorism, the study of observable behavior. Behaviorist John B. Watson believed that introspection is unscientific precisely because there is no way to settle disagreements between observers. These observations were objective because they did not involve introspecting on subjective experience (University of Phoenix, 2013).

The best-known behaviorist, B. F. Skinner, believed that our actions are controlled by rewards and punishments. As a “radical behaviorist,” Skinner also believed...

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