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that disagreements between people could not be    psychology was William James. He published a
             resolved by appeal to Scripture and church tea-   definitive review of the field in 1890 called The
             chings, but only by rational argument and em-     Principles of Psychology, in which he declared
             pirical evidence gained through well-designed     that “psychology is a natural science” (Vol. I, p.
             experiments and evaluated with careful measu-     183). The American Psychological Association
             rement and mathematics. They sought a sure,       (APA) was formed two years later.
             objective  foundation  for  universal  knowledge
             which all people could use to settle intellectual   Modern  psychology  quickly  became  the  only
             disputes. Signifying this shift, philosophers like   recognized approach for understanding indivi-
             Descartes, Locke, and Kant wrote on psycholo-     dual human beings in American universities, a
             gical  topics,  but  they  only  used  philosophical   dominance that has continued to the present.
             arguments  that  appeared  neutral  with  respect   Reflecting  the  norms  of  the  natural  sciences,
             to religion, since they did not rely explicitly on   the goal of modern psychology is the descripti-
             their Christian beliefs. These thinkers paved the   on, explanation, and prediction of human brain
             way for a new kind of psychology that was enti-   function, behavior, and thought, all from a se-
             rely secular.                                     cular standpoint. Over the past 100 years the
                                                               field has flourished as investigators have used
             Three other influences contributed to the birth   an ever-expanding set of experimental and sta-
             of what came to be known as modern psycho-        tistical  techniques  to  explore  ever-expanding
             logy: research on sensation and the brain, the    areas  of  human  nature,  including  physiology,
             theory  of  evolution,  and  the  measurement  of   neuroscience, sensation and perception, cogni-
             mental  abilities.  In  the  1800’s  natural  science   tion (memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and
             methods came to be applied to human life and      intelligence), human development, motivation,
             experience.  Investigators  began  studying  the   personality,  psychopathology,  psychotherapy,
             human senses and their limits and how brain       and social influence and relationships. More re-
             damage  compromised  language  and  thinking      search than you care to read has been published
             abilities.  Darwin’s  Origin  of  the  Species  was   on such diverse topics as color blindness, the
             published  in  1859,  and  to  intellectuals  eager   importance of bonding relationships in infancy
             to leave behind Christian beliefs, it seemed to   (called attachments), the role of the neurotrans-
             offer an intellectually satisfying account of hu-  mitter serotonin in depression, the formation of
             man origins based on empirical evidence that      long-term memories, the relation between vio-
             required no appeal to the activity of a Creator   lence in media and aggressive behavior, the best
             God. Coming to believe that natural selection     counseling skills, and the dysfunction of group
             favored the fit, in the late 1800’s interest grew   dynamics.  At  this  point  the  amount  of  infor-
             in  individual  intellectual  abilities,  and  resear-  mation amassed in a single subdiscipline of the
             chers devised tests and statistics to measure the   field is enormous, and the value of most of this
             competitive  differences  between  people.  Such   research is self-evident.
             influences fit well with the growing allegiance
             to a purely naturalistic worldview that came to   Given the influence of postmodernism of late
             characterize modernism.                           across the academy, one might expect contem-
                                                               porary  psychology  to  be  moving  away  from
             The first psychology laboratory was established   its  modernist  roots.  However,  the  American
             by Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig     Psychological Association is in some ways still
             in 1879. This is commonly seen as the birth of    strengthening them. In its recent blueprint for
             modern  psychology,  a  secular  version  based   undergraduate education the APA (2010) makes
             exclusively on natural science methods which      the case that psychology programs should con-
             were believed to provide a sure foundation that   tinue to emphasize empirical research since it
             would yield universal (that is, religiously neu-  considers psychology to be a STEM discipline
             tral) psychological knowledge. One of the first   (STEM  =  Science,  Technology,  Engineering,
             Americans  to  travel  to  Europe  to  study  this   Mathematics).

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