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History of Modern Psychology The Beginnings of Scientific Psychology Wilhelm Wundt 1832-1920 is generally honored as the founder of scientific psychology Wundt wrote his first book on psychology dealing with sensory perceptions in 1862 It was based largely on his training as a physiologists and would be characteristic of much of his work In 1879 Wundt founded the first research laboratory in psychology at the University of Leipzig The initial goal of psychology was to understand the nature of human consciousness To understand this Wundt used the method of introspection in which a person experiences something and then describes the personal nature of the experience This technique can be used quite rigorously when stimulus presentation are controlled so that introspective accounts can be compared across many experiences Researchers were to report their experiences in terms of specific sensations and feelings which were then developed into the basic building blocks of the conscious mind The main goal of Wundts psychology was to first discover these building blocks and then discover how they combined to form the more complex elements of mental processes The research in Wundts lab consisted of studies in the fields of sensation and perception investigating color vision and the passage of time as well as research into other mental processes such as emotion One famous study in Wundts lab was in the field of reaction time Wundt hypothesized that by measuring the difference between the speed of a simple mental event and a complex mental event it was possible to calculate the amount of time mental processing required Other psychology laboratories soon emerged including that of Herman Ebbinghaus 1850-1909 whose memory studies are still being referenced These laboratories challenged many of Wundts views on psychology such as his insistence that consciousness could be broken into elemental parts and his reliance on introspection One German branch of psychology that was opposed to Wundts ideas was Gestalt psychology which originated with Max Wertheimer 1880-1943
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