“Psychology has a long past but only a short history.” With these few words, Hermann Ebbinghaus, one of the great thinkers in psychology, aptly captured the essence of this field’s development. Since time immemorial, men and women have pondered over questions that are psychological in nature. From the early Egyptians to the ancient Greek philosophers, there has been no letup in efforts to understand human thought and behavior. Yet, in spite of its long past, the formal history of psychology dates back only 133 years to 1879 – the year when Wilhelm Wundt opened the doors of the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. As a result of this significant move, Wundt is widely regarded as the founder of psychology. Yet, this was just the beginning of Wundt’s contributions to the field. He went on to become the first of several spirited speakers to engage in an ongoing debate over what should be the focus of psychology. The history of psychology is indeed short, but it has never been short of drama. With that said, let the drama unfold… Continue reading
Chewing Gum May Reduce Stress
At least, that’s what the results of a recent UK study suggest. In a controlled lab experiment with 40 persons, Scholey and his colleagues examined whether chewing gum is capable of reducing induced anxiety and stress while participants performed various multitasking activities (Scholey, Robertson, Haskell, Milne & Kennedy, 2007). Results revealed that gum chewers experienced significantly higher levels of alertness and lower levels of state anxiety, stress, and salivary cortisol. The chewing gum condition was also associated with better performance on the multitasking activities. Improved cerebral blood flow during gum chewing was cited as a possible explanation for these findings.
Comparative Psychology is the branch of Psychology which deals with the scientific study of animal behavior and it places emphasis on cross-species comparisons, including human-to-animal comparisons. This method evaluates the similarities and differences across species to better understand the developmental and evolutionary relationships between them. It can also be used to compare contemporary and ancient species. It has been suggested that the term “Comparative Psychology” be discarded as it is not descriptive of the field. However, as a suitable replacement has not been put forward, the term remains in popular use today. Continue reading