College of Education
Valdosta State University
Dept of Psychology and Counseling
Course Syllabus
PSYC 4950
3 Hours

Text (Required):
Benjamin, L.T. (1997). A history of psychology: Original sources and contemporary research (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Co.
Thorne, B.M., & Henley, T.B. (1997). Connections in the history and systems of psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Course Description: Traces the origins of psychology from philosophy and physiology and its development into the science psychology is today.

Education Outcomes Specific to Psychology

  1. Communicate and present psychological concepts, principles, and theories clearly and effectively, both in oral and written form.
  1. Compare and contrast differing theoretical perspectives within and among the differing disciplines of psychology.
  1. Describe the impact of society and culture on human diversity, especially as it relates to gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, the student

  1. Will be able to identify the major issues in psychology and be able to compare and contrast the differing schools of though and perspectives in psychology using these major issues (6,10).
  2. Will be able to explain how psychology arose from philosophy and physiology and explain the role that evolution played in its development (6,10).
  3. Will be able to describe the development and growth of psychology in the 20th century (6,10).
  4. Will understand and be able to describe how psychology has impacted society and the development of its institutions (12).
  5. Will understand and be able to describe how the social context and various historical events impacted the development of modern day psychology (12).
Course Activities/Assignments/Requirements

    3 Exams. Each exam will be based on material from the class lectures and the textbook. All exam questions are listed in the syllabus. All exams are a combination of short answer and essay questions. Each exam will be worth 100 points (8 out of 10 short answer and 3 out of 4 essays). MAKE-UP POLICY: If for some reason you must miss a test, you must notify me as soon as possible (either by telephone, stopping by, or e-mail). You need to have a valid excuse that can be verified with documentation (Gee, I forgot is NOT a valid excuse). You must take it BEFORE I give back the exams to the class and you must take it on the date and time that we decide (i.e. no making up the make-up). You cannot make up the test during class time and you cannot have more than one make-up exam.

 Comprehensive Final - There will be a comprehensive final during finals week worth 200 points. The class will break into teams of 3 people. I will ask a question and all of the groups in the class must come up with the answer in the time allotted (2 minutes). You must pick your own group. The final will be based upon the questions that you create. THE COMPREHENSIVE FINAL IS ONLY FOR THE FALL/SPRING
    Questions - Every Tuesday before class starts, you will turn in a question and answer that could be used on the final. The questions are to be written in short answer/definition format and the answer is to be correct. Please keep the questions and answers reasonably short. The questions must be typed or neatly written and based on a topic that we covered in the past week. These questions will not be accepted if they are late, the format is incorrect (No MC or T/F), or the answer is wrong. THE QUESTIONS ARE ONLY FOR THE FALL/SPRING

    Paper. Take a historical perspective on a topic or trace a person’s life history. The paper should be approximately 5 pages long (not including the title page or references) and is to be typed. It is highly recommended that you discuss with me your paper topic so that you do not choose too broad of a topic (for example, the study of conscious and unconscious thought throughout psychology would be too broad). Historical means through time – discussing modern day therapy is not historical, even if you do spend 2 paragraphs discussing history. The life history is to be about the person, not their theories (except to discuss when and why they were developed). For every day the paper is late, 5 points will be deducted. Here are some useful sites to help you write the paper.


You are to do 1 paper – either a biography on a person or historical development of a field.


You are to do both a biography on a person AND a historical development of a field.

    Class Participation. This class is designed to be a capstone senior level course in which you show your understanding of psychology. Course participation is a requirement. You will be graded on your participation level While I don’t require perfect attendance; obviously if you are not here, you are not participating. Part of your grade will be based on class attendence (for those questions everyone shouts out an answer to). However, attendance does not equal participation- that is, for you to earn a good grade in this area means more than showing up and breathing or asking me to explain something over again. When you do make comments, make sure they are relevant to the discussion at hand. You have the questions before class – that will be the discussion we will be having. Go through the two books and make an outline of the response that would answer the question. There will be some answers that will not be found in the book but the majority of the information is there. Make sure to bring your answers and both books to class with you every day. THIS IS THE SAME FOR FALL/SPRING/SUMMER

Points for class participation
90-100 - Actively participates in almost every class period.
80-90 - Some class participation (has contributed approximately once a week or slightly less).
70-80 - Minimal participation (has contributed a few times to class discussion).
60-70 - Came to class regularly (very few misses) but has only participated once or twice.
<60 - Does not attend class regularly and/or has not participated.

Course Evaluation

3 exams @ 100 points 240
Class participation 100
Paper 55
Final 200
15 questions @ 3 points 45

A 700-630 B 629-560 C 559-490 D 489-420 F<419


3 exams @ 100 points 300
Class participation 100
2 Papers @ 50 points 100 

A 500-450 B 449-400 C 399-350 D 349-300 F<300

Attendance: While I do not have a strict attendance policy, it is expected that you will attend class regularly. If for some reason you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out any information that was discussed in class. When in class, I ask that you be courteous to myself and to others. Refrain from constant chit-chat and note-passing. If you come in late or plan on leaving early, sit near the door so as not to disturb others. Please make sure your cell phones are off and beepers on vibrate. In addition, I can see when you are doing other work besides mine – I don’t want to see it. It is especially annoying when people who are doing other things then ask questions that obviously indicate they were not paying attention. My other pet peeve is when people walk into class late and want to turn something in or pick something up after I start class. Again, don’t do that, please.
    One final note – if you are having difficulty, don not wait until the end of the semester to come talk to be and plead for me to give you a B when your grade is an F or to give you extra credit. Please talk to me as soon as possible if you are having personal difficulties or are having a problem with course material.

Special Needs Statement: VSU, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities act will make accommodations for students who require special assistance because of a disability. If you require some assistance, do not hesitate to make me aware of your situation, but you must also register with Special Services in Nevins Hall.

Dr. Deb Briihl
Rm 18 Phone 333-5994 or –5930
Office Hours: MWF 9-10:30, 1-2 TTh 2-3:30

In general, each test will consist of 16-17 questions. The dates of the test are set, so if we finish the questions associated with that test, we will continue on with the material.
Exam 1 - Sept. 17
Exam 2 - Oct. 17
Exam 3 - Nov. 19
Final - Thurs., Dec. 12 5-7
Paper Due - Nov. 12
No Classes Nov. 26 or 28
Midterm is Oct. 11


Chapter 1 (Thorne), Chapter 1 (Benjamin)
1. List and explain the reasons supporting the study of history of psychology. Give examples for each of the reasons to illustrate their importance (T,B).
2. Define the main debates that both philosophers and psychologists use to define their position (T).

Chapter 2 (Thorne)
3. Why do we start with the Greek philosophers when we discuss the development of psychology (include a discussion on assumptions) (T)?
4. What concepts were developed by the Greek and Roman philosophers and physicians that were important or influential to the development of psychology? – focus on Heraclitus, Democritus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alcmaeon, Hippocrates, and Galen (We will only be discussing a few of these philosophers in class and we will discuss the physicians later) (T).

Chapter 3 (Thorne) pp. 22-25 (Benjamin)
5. Why do we not typically discuss the Medieval Ages as part of the development of psychology - what happened (T)?
6. What factors were key to the Renaissance (and the development of psychology) (T)?
7. How were the scientists and philosophers of this time important to the Renaissance movement and psychology (humanism, Luther, Machiavelli, Galileo, Bacon, Newton) (T)?
8. The clock was a critical component to the development of modern science. Explain what the clock metaphor was and how it was used in mechanism, determinism, and reductionism (make sure to define each of those terms) (T,B).

Chapter 3 (Thorne) Chapter 2 (Benjamin)
9. Explain how Descartes contributed to psychology. Include a discussion on the nature of the mind and body, reflexes, how the mind and body interact, and the different types of ideas (T,B).

Chapter 3, 4, 5 Chapter 2 (pp. 48-61 Benjamin)
10. Locke and Leibniz both developed their theories from Descartes theory. However, each focused on different areas. Discuss both theories in detail and tell me which areas of psychology were influenced by each of these theorists (T,B).
11.Discuss the contributions to psychology made by 1 person from each of the following schools – British empiricism (not Locke), British associationism, French empiricism, and the Scottish school. Make sure you describe everything associated with that individual and define the school of thought (Not discussed in class) (T).
12. What are rationalism, positivism, and romanticism? Choose 1 philosopher from each position and discuss his beliefs (Not discussed in class) (T).
*Even though I am asking about one individual for questions 11 and 12, I recommend that you read the entire chapter because we will be referring back to individuals from that section.

Chapter 6, 17 (Thorne), Chapter 3 (Benjamin)
13. Discuss how Swammerdam, Whytt, Galvani, Bell, Magendie, Muller, de Bois-Reymond, Golgi and Cajal influenced the study of the neuron (T,B).
14. Discuss how Gall, Flourens, Gage, Broca, Wernicke, Fritsch, Hitzig, Ferrier, and Bartholow influenced the study of physiology of the brain (T,B).

Chapter 9 (Thorne), Chapter 7 (Benjamin)
15. Charles Darwin is credited with the theory of evolution. However, a number of people helped shape his ideas. Discuss the importance of astronomy, LeClerc, Lyell, Darwin's grandfather, Lamarck, and Malthus on Darwin's works (T,B).
16. Discuss Darwin's theory of evolution. Why was it accepted when it was? What is it's importance to psychology (T,B)?
17. The phrase most closely associated with Darwin’s theory "survival of the fittest" is not Darwin’s creation. Who developed this idea, why, and what is social darwinism about? What is its importance (T)?

pp. 96, 126, Chapter 6 (Thorne) Chapter 5 (Benjamin)
18. Helmholtz used both philosophy and physiology to argue against vitalism. What is vitalism and how did he address this issue in his 1847 paper using the conservation of energy? Describe the other topics that he work on that are still relevant to psychology today (T).
19. Weber, and Fechner are considered directly responsible for the initial applications of the experimental method to the mind. What did they do that was important in the field of psychology (what are their laws and what do they mean)(T,B)?

Chapter 7 (Thorne) Chapter 5 (Benjamin)
20. What special characteristics existed in Germany that allowed the emergence of scientific psychology in that country as opposed to other countries (T)?
21. Wundt is considered the founding father of psychology. How did he define psychology and what should psychology be about? What factors make Wundt the founding father of psychology (T,B)?
22. Describe Wundt’s research in the areas of sensation and perception, reaction time, attention, feelings. Be specific. Make sure to note how attention is related to his research and psychology (T).
23. Wundt fell out of favor rather quickly and only recently has been "rediscovered". Why did he fall out of favor? What ideas of his are seen in psychology today (B)?

Chapter 8 (Thorne)
24. Wundt claimed that higher mental processes can't be studied in experiments. What research areas and techniques were developed by Ebbinghaus and Muller to show that experimental study of higher mental processes is feasible? What was the imageless controversy about (T)?
25. What were Brentano and Stumpf's view on psychology (i.e. what did they think that psychology should be about) (T)?

Chapter 7 (Thorne), Chapter 6 (Benjamin)
26. Imagine you are listening to a student from Wundt's lab and a student from Titchener's lab talking regarding the changes that Titchener had been made in the understanding of Wundt's theories. What are the differences they would be discussing (T,B)?

p. 176, Chapter 10, 11 (Thorne) Chapter 8, 9 (Benjamin)
27. How did William James define psychology in his book The Principles of Psychology? (emotions, habit, consciousness, will, memory, self) (T,B).
28. Define, compare and contrast structuralism and functionalism. What caused a rift to form between them (Dewey, Angell, Baldwin, Titchener)? According to Angell, what should functionalism be about (T,B)?

Chapter 9, 10, 18 (Thorne) Chapter 7,8,9,15 (Benjamin)
29. What were the reasons behind research into developmental, school, and educational psychology? What social issues were raised by the testing movement following WW 1? Basically, how did the zeitgeist influence applied psychology in America (T, B)?
30. Briefly detail the development of the psychological testing movement beginning with Galton (6 contributions to psychology) and Binet.What were Terman’s, and Yerkes’ contributions to the psychological testing movement? What is the variability hypothesis, and what was Hollingworth’s role in this controversy (T,B)?
31. Who is the founding father in clinical psychology and why? How did general paresis and WW 2 influence the development of this field (T,B)?
32. How did Hall, Baldwin, Thorndike, and Dewey influence the development and developmental and educational psychology (T,B)?
33. What were the early medical treatments for individuals with mental disorders?
34. How did I/O psychology start? How did Scott and Musterberg (motormen) help bring psychology into the workplace? What did the Hawthorne studies and the Chattanooga trial do for I/O (T,B)?

Chapter 7, 9, 11, 12 (Thorne) Chapter 10 (Benjamin)
35. There were a number of people who could be considered both a functionalist and a behaviorist - such as Carr, Thorndike, Small, and Woodworth. What did they do that would put them in this position (T,B)?
36. How did comparative psychology arise? What were Romanes, Morgan, Yerkes, Loeb, and Clever Hans influences in this field (T,B)?

Chapter 12 (Thorne) Chapter 11 (Benjamin)
37. Describe Pavlov’s research on conditioning (conditioned reflex, timing, extinciton, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination). Where did these ideas come from (Sechenov) (T,B)?
38. What did Watson feel was wrong with psychology as the structuralists and functionalists saw it and how should it be corrected (subject matter and goals)? What 4 other influences were important to the development of behaviorism (particularly neobehaviorism) (T,B)?
39. How did Watson define emotion? What emotions did he assume existed in an infant and how were they generated? What emotion was conditioned in Little Albert and how was it conditioned - make sure to label the CS, UCS, CR, and UCR (T)?
40. After Watson left academia, he then went on to advertising. How did he use his behavioral principles in the workforce? Make sure to give examples of the techniques he used in advertising in detail (Johnson and Johnson baby powder, Pepco, Pond's Cold Cream, automobiles, cigarettes, coffee) (Not discussed in class) (T,B).

Chapter 13, 19 (Thorne) Chapter 12 (Benjamin)
41. How did Skinner define his operant approach from Pavlov’s approach to learning (Type S from Type R)? How is operant conditioning used to modify behavior? What are the different schedules of reinforcement (T,B)?
42. Skinner attempted to apply his behavioral approach to a number of areas. How did he do so in Project Pigeon, the baby-tender, Walden 2, teaching machines, and language (T,B)?
43. Hull developed a very influential theory on drive. Explain IN DETAIL what he believed happed (T,B).
44. Compare Tolman’s cognitive approach of behaviorism to the prevailing theory at that time. How did his experiments support his approach (T,B)?
45. How did Bandura's view of learning differ from the traditional behaviorist views? What is the other way we can learn and be reinforced according to social learning theory? How does his classic Bobo doll study show this (T)?

Chapter 14 (Thorne), Chapter 14 (Benjamin)
46. What is meant by Gestalt?  Who are Gestalt psychology's triumvirate? Define figure-ground relationship and the principles of grouping (T,B).
47. What did the studies on phi phenomenon and insight learning do/show that helped define Gestalt psychology from other types of psychology at that time(T,B)?
48. Three other psychologists who were associated with the Gestalt movement were Harlow, Lewin, and Helson. What did they do and why are they considered to be part of the Gestalt movement (T)?

Thorne, Chapter 15, 16 Benjamin, Chapter 4, 13
49. Freud's theory of personality development arose from numerous factors. Five factors that are important are hypnotism, the theory of evolution, the idea of unconscious processing, various philosophies, and the view of mental illness. How did they contribute to Freud's theory (T,B)?
50. Define Freud's psychosexual stages and explain how the id, ego, and superego are related to each of these stages (T).
51. Discuss 3 neo-Freudian psychologists and the contributions that they made - Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Erik Erikson, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung. (Not discussed in class) (T).
52. What is the 3rd force? What did it focus on? How did Maslow, Rogers, Buhler, and Frankl contribute to this movement? (T).