Approaches to Psychology

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The Evolution of Psychology: History, Approaches, and Questions (Section 1.2 of Introduction to Psychology, First Edition, by Charles Stangor).

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Compare and contrast various approaches to Psychology

In your journal, make notes on the following:

  1. Identify each of the six approaches to the study of Psychology that Stangor describes.
  2. Write a brief definition of each approach.
  3. Which of these six approaches do you think Professor John Gabrieli, from MIT (the video lecture) follows? Identify topics Professor Gabrieli discusses and explanations he provides that suggest he follows this approach. Check with some of your fellow students to see whether they agree with you.
  4. Microblog activity: Which of the six approaches described by Stangor do you think is best? Why? Write a brief statement of why you prefer this approach and post it to the rest of your class. Later in this course you will have the opportunity to answer this question again and to see whether your perspective has changed at all.

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Web Resources

Click on the link below to access an interactive timeline showing key dates and events in the history of Psychology.

"The History of Psychology" timeline at

Use the History of Psychology timeline to find out:

  • Who set up the first psychology laboratory, and when?
  • When the approach to Psychology known as "Behaviourism" began, and who started it?
  • When "The nature of prejudice" (a famous book) was published, and who wrote it?

Hint: Click on a category such as "Key Events" or "Approaches and Perspectives" or "Publications" to search the timeline for these answers.

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Extension exercise

To read more about a topic in the history of Psychology, or to read publications by a famous psychologist, go to Classics in the History of Psychology, a collection of classic Psychology publications curated by Christopher D. Green of York University, Toronto, Canada.
  • Use this site to look up how many sources there are for the topic of 'intelligence testing'
  • How many of the publications on this site were written by Sigmund Freud?