The arrival of Darwin’s evolutional theory and its further influence on development of phycology in U.S. was greatly described B. R. Hergenhahn. (Hergenhahn) It had affected many other sciences such as anthropology, sociology, genetics and actually phycology. Social Darwinism presented by Spencer, based on Darwin’s vision like an independent branch of the theory which was used by nacists to show that not all human beings are equal. On that step psycology was not an independent science, it was more like a difficult mix of sociology, biology and even mathematics. Practical psycology arrived only in the end of 19th century and became a beginning of functionalism – a new wave in social behavioristic visions.
Considering the history, psycology went through a long and complicated way from initial studies of an ancient Greeks to a modern ramified worldview, from a level of observation of punctate social events to a profound doctrine started by Darwin and continued by James and Thorndike.
The Darwin’s Origin of Species was truly outstanding evolutionary work of its age when church had a strong influence on society and God was everything the people need at that times. His idea became a break-through for a conservative morality of that epoch and broadened an outlook of processes in a nature and society.
Some parts of social Darwinism do exist in modern society in various forms, as an example, an idea of uneven mental development of the children from various social segments.
Galton and Cattell started to create a universal model of measuring mental abilities much later. Binet and Simon has given it a academic shape that became a fundamental basis for further research.
Functionalism had become the main psychological thought in U.S. Like a philosophy of mind it arrived at the end of 19-th century and in my opinion was a logical continuation of development of social views development. The amounts of social processes were so various and complicated that it required for a serious study. Invention of the IQ formula provided an opportunity for employers to measure their employee’s mental abilities. Mary Whiton Calkins, the researcher of the memory functioning did not get a PhD Degree only because she was a women!
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As for unctionalism, it shows each part of the society in terms of how it influences the situation in general. Social structure is more complicated than just the unity of its separate parts, but each different part of society acts for the stability of the whole structure. This parts are actually the number of institutions, and were created to satisfy the diverse of needs. They have specific consequences on the shape and form of our society and each part depends on another. When one part is not working or is damaged, it influences all other ones and cause different social problems. It should be pointed out that the behavior of people is similar to the animal’s behavior in many ways. Animals act more intuitive, relying on instincts, and primitive feelings. Unlike them, people use analytical and critical thinking while making the decisions, while the animal part is still functioning deep inside us. The main thing that distinguishes us from the animals is emotions.
It is not quite clear for me why functionalism lost its positions like an independent view and a theory. However, its ideal theory found the sequel into other parts of psychological sciences.