Psychology 210 - History of Modern Psychology
Dr. R. G. Tonks
Study Questions and Key Concepts
Issues and ideas that help us to think about psychology and what it can be in the present and in the future.

Kuhn & Philosophy of science

1. Provide a clear description of Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science. In doing so, outline his view on the development of a scientific discipline by making use of key concepts from his perspective.

Key Concepts: Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Three worlds, Falsificationism, Research Programme, Paradigm, Disciplinary Matrix, Shared Exemplar, Hegemony, Weltanshauung, Scientific Anarchy, Standpoint Theory, Consciousness Raising, Feminism.


2. Outline the major differences between the insider and outsider perspectives on history. In doing so, also provide a discussion of how these perspectives arise from the Natural sciences and the Human sciences worldviews by using examples of the practices of early modern psychologists.

Key Concepts: Dialectics, Positivism, Contextualism, Realism, Explanation, Hermeneutics, Erlibnis, Verstehen, Dasein, "Ready-to-hand", Experimenta fruictifera, Historical-Hermeneutical Sciences, Theory of Forms, Allegory of the Cave.


3. Discuss the intellectual and personal background to Darwin's theory of evolution. In doing so, provide examples of how such ideas have contributed to the various aspects of Darwin's theory. Also discuss the implications to psychology that result from these ideas.

4. Discuss the most important ways in which Darwin's perspective differs from the other "Darwinists" of his time? Which of these perspectives best fits the goals of psychology that you would choose? Why?

Key Concepts: Scala naturae, Materialism, Reductionism, Adaptations, Acquired Inheritance, Artificial Selection, Natural Selection, Positive Eugenics, Faculty Psychology, Epigenetics.


5. Discuss the social context (zeitgeist) surrounding the beginnings of scientific psychology in 19th century Germany. Show how specific psychological theories or practices arose against the context of other specific ideas (philosophical, religious, political, ...) in this context.

6. Provide a thorough overview of Wundt's perspective on psychology. Discuss the major approaches (or worldviews) to psychology that he used, while also making use of important concepts from the lecture and the text book.

Key Concepts: Counter-Enlightenment, Monads, Creative Synthesis, Apperception, Mental chronometry, Weber-Fechner function, Immediate vs. Mediate experience, Psychological Parallelism, Völkgeist.


7. Discuss and critically evaluate the ideas of Sigmund Freud as they pertain to the Natural Science and the Human Science worldviews. In what ways does his work represent each or both of these perspectives? Does his paradigm offer a valuable approach for the practice of psychology?

8. Provide an account of the life and works of Sigmund Freud against the backdrop of Human and Natural Science.  In doing so, be sure to discuss his personal and professional life (identities) as they developed together, providing examples of important aspects of identity or events in his life.

Key Concepts: Mind-Brain identity hypothesis, Intentionality, Hypnosis, Abreaction, Triebe (Freud vs. Wundt), Cathexis, Catharsis, Seduction Hypothesis, Sublimation, "Womb envy", Tally Argument, "Party of suspicion", Transference, Phi-psy-omega Systems.

Canadian Common Sense

9. Compare and contrast the contributions of the following early Canadian philosopher / psychologists: William Lyall, John Clark Murray, George Paxton Young, and John Watson. In doing so, be sure to outline the ideas that they held in common, as well as those upon which they differed.

Key Concepts: Common sense, Self-other Dialectic, Moral Philosophy, Reason, Direct Realism, Emotion, Intuition.

Born in the USA

10. Compare and contrast the psychology of William James with those of two of the following: Wundt, Freud, Darwin, or Dewey. In doing so, consider each of their perspectives on self, consciousness and will, types of knowledge, as well as their fundamental assumptions (ontological categories) about the nature of reality and psychology.

Key Concepts: Pragmatism, the Self, Transactions, the Stream of Consciousness, Radical Empiricism, Motor Theory of Consciousness (MTC), Phronesis, Functionalism, Neo-realism, Epiphenomenalism.

Applied Psychology

11. Provide an overview of the major developments of applied psychology in Canada and the United States from 1900 to the 1980s. In doing so, be sure to discuss the social and political conditions that surrounded the growth of this 'young' discipline into an important part of psychology.

Key Concepts: Mental test, Order of Merit, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Negative Eugenics, Feeblemindedness.

Behaviourism & Gestalt

12. Provide an account of the rise of Behaviorism in twentieth century America. Be sure to discuss both the social and political context as well as the contributions of specific individuals as they nurtured its growth as a dominant perspective in psychology.

13. Provide an account of the rise of Gestalt in twentieth century Germany, and its transportation to America. Be sure to discuss both the social and political context as well as the contributions of specific individuals as they nurtured its growth as a somewhat recognized perspective in psychology.

Key Concepts: Law of Exercise, Law of Effect, Objectivism, Psychical Secretions, Peripheralism, Law of Mass Action, Phi Phenomenon, Pragnanz, Insight, Life Space, Anecdotal method, Morgan's canon.

Neo-Positivism and the golden age

14. What are the most important contributions of Logical Positivism to the practice of psychology? What are the main criticisms against "positivist science"? State whether or not you think it is valuable to have a psychology based upon positivism?

Key Concepts: Methodological vs. Radical Behaviorism, Mathematical Functionalism, Sensationism, Verifiability Principle, Operational Analysis, Operationism, Intervening Variable, Cognitive Map, Hypothetico-Deductivism, Trilogy of Mind, Personology vs. Personality

Revision in History

15) Concern over the revision of history of psychology has been expressed by some people. When contradictory accounts emerge we often accept one and reject the other. Is it better to remember the awful events or rather to "hide" them from conscious awareness and future histories of our discipline? How would you resolve this issue for various cases? Should we "re-write" history and provide the "new truth" or do we offer alternative interpretations of the events or people? Why? Give examples from the course to illustrate your answer.


16) Provide an account of the history of Eugenics from Spencer and Galton through to Goddard, MacEachran, (and others). While you outline the major positions they held and circumstances they were found in, also provide a critical appraisal of the work they did and the value of it.


17. Describe and discuss the most important relationships between war and psychology. In doing so, outline the major events or activities which serve as exemplars of such relationships. In other words, in what way(s) has psychological practice affected war, and in what way(s) has war affected psychology?

Identity of the discipline

18. Provide a discussion of the issues involved in the "professional identity crisis" of psychologists in Canada and the United States. What are the most important issues and events at hand? What do you think is the best way to resolve the problem of choice between various ideologies or world-views of psychology?

Key Concepts: Mechanotherapy, Link Flyer, "M" test, "MacLeod Report", Boulder Model, Opinicon I & II, Lake Couchiching, SWAP, Cell Assembly, Phase Sequence.

Contrasting Natural and Human perspectives

19. Provide an account of the works of B.F. Skinner and E.H. Erikson on the subject matter, methodology, nature of psychology, and standpoint as a scientist. In doing so discuss how various features of their work represent the Natural and Human science perspectives. Also discuss how aspects of their personal identities had an influence on the forms of psychology that they preferred.

20. Provide a debate between a social constructionist and a logical positivist over the nature of knowledge, science, and psychology. You may wish to consider issues of language, gender or culture as some of the points you will discuss in the debate.

Key Concepts: Category Mistake, Conceptual Confusion, Family Resemblance, Language Games, Forms of Life, Techné, Discriminative Stimulus, Operant, Determinism, Deep Structure, LAD, Disciplined Subjectivity, Emancipation, Mutuality, Epigenesis, Virtue, Doctrine of Predestination.

The Future

21. Of the many psychological perspectives or ideologies examined in this course, which one (or blend of several) do you think provides the best foundation for psychology in the 21st century? Why is that the case? What kind of psychology would you like to see develop in the next century?

In answering this question it is important to discuss your "ideal psychology" with respect to the ontological, epistemological, logical, and ethical commitments that it involves, while also suggesting why they are important to you.