Origins of Psychology

The Origins of Psychology seminar explores the philosophical and physiological beginnings of the “new science” of psychology. Students are expected to:

  • contemplate seminal questions about human nature posed by early philosophers;
  • see how early experimental psychology emerged from the fields of physiology and medicine;
  • be introduced to important figures and events in the various fields of psychology and
  • explore the greater cultural and temporal paradigms that have shaped psychological theory from its beginnings to the present day.
  • Students are also required to engage in regular writing assignments and conduct historical research.

A Walk Down Memory Lane- Historiographies in Psychology
Students complete a project called “A Walk Down Memory Lane,” which involves both written and verbal components. The paper is called a “Legacy Writing.” Students are required to write a compelling biography about a famous psychologist. As part of their research, they must visit the Archives of the History of American Psychology, which is housed in the Drs. Nicholas A. and Dorothy M. Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron. The Center houses a number of important artifacts that have played important roles in psychology’s history. The Archives are the largest in the world. Established in 1965, it is home to countless manuscripts, media and other artifacts that outline the history of the field. Students sift through originally-sourced documents like drafts of (now published) research papers, correspondences, drawings and audio recordings from famous psychologists like Abraham Maslow and Mary Ainsworth.

Once students conduct and write their empirical research, they are required to present the material to the class. In addition to presenting their data, the presentations must include a creative interpretation of the research. In the past, students have written poems, songs, created artwork and board games based on what they’ve found. Exemplary presentations/performances are nominated for SCHOLAR Day.

 

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