Module Introduction

Foundations of Psychology

Module Introduction

Topics Covered:

  • History of Psychology
  • Psychology as a Science

How many times have you asked yourself questions such as: “Why did I do that?”, “What was I thinking?”, “Why does he/she behave that way?”. Perhaps this course will help you answer some of your questions.

In this first module, we will cover two area: The History of Psychology as a Discipline, and Psychological Research. Both of these areas will help you build a foundation on which to understand a science rich in research and growing in knowledge.

History of Psychology as a Discipline:

Psychology, as a science, is a relatively new area of study. It has only been since the late 19 th century that psychology has been studied academically and scientifically. Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The word Psychology comes from the Greek word “ psyche” , meaning soul , and “ ology” , meaning the science or study of . Psychology grew from the study of philosophy, when philosophers Wilhelm Wundt and William James began to wonder about human consciousness.

In the later part of the 19 th century, Sigmund Freud (considered by many to be the “Father of Psychology”) began to be interested in emotional disorders in neurological patients. He began study of mental and emotional processes and coined many terms still used in psychology and psychiatry today.

As the study of psychology moved into the 20 th century, other theorist and researchers began to build and diverge from Freudian theory and by the latter part of the 20 th century the study of psychology had grown and branched out in many directions. Psychology is now studied as a general education requirement in many fields of study. Psychology has found usefulness not only in the area of mental health and treatment, but also in medicine, nursing, social work, business, and even sports. As you move through your text, be sure to access the “Links to Learning” found in the chapter. These will help you understand the concepts being presented.

Psychological Research:

As with any science, the area of psychological research is vital to understanding human behavior and treatment of mental and behavioral disorders. Reading and understanding research allows us to determine sound theories from unsound, to think critically about information, develop healthy skepticism, and examine information from different perspectives.

Research involves our reasoning processes and is used to form theories and hypotheses . In fact, a major criticism of Freud’s work and study is that his ideas are not “falsifiable” , in other words not proven by research to be correct or incorrect.

In Chapter 2, you will cover many types of research that may be use in psychological studies. You will learn the advantages and disadvantages of the various research methods. You will cover the terminology used in research as well as ethical issues in research, especially research with human subjects. Don’t forget to access the “Links to Learning” to help in understanding the concepts presented. (2)

Learning Outcomes Related to this Module

  • Demonstrates the ability to think critically
  • Synthesizes the empirical information to draw accurate evidence-based conclusions about behavior and mental processes
  • Comprehends the basic concepts and investigative processes of the scientific method as applied to Psychology


Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Think critically about Psychology as a science
  • Define the historical foundations and context of Psychology as a discipline
  • Define research approaches and research analysis in Psychology
  • Explain ethical issues in Psychological research (1)

Assigned Readings

  • Syllabus Reading: Course Syllabus and Course Document
  • Psychology, OpenStax Textbook .
    • Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychology
    • Chapter 2: Psychological Research

Note: You will need to click on “Get This Book” button to download the textbook. Students are not required to purchase a textbook. You can download the entire Psychology textbook from OpenStax for free.

Supplemental Material/Resources

(Note: This material, in the media form of online videos, is considered supplemental and thus is not used for assessment purposes.)

  • APA Writing Style (1)
  • Video: Crash Course Psychology #1: Intro to Psychology – This video covers the history and development of Psychology as a Science. The video covers different theories for studying human consciousness, thought and behavior.
  • Video: Crash Course Psychology #2: Research and Experimentation – This video covers areas of research. Students will learn about theory and hypothesis as well as types of research that are used in psychological research.

Assignments | Learning Activities

  • Carefully review the Syllabus
  • Review and submit Student Contract
  • Read Module Introduction
  • Participate in Introduction Discussion
  • Complete assigned readings
  • Participate in Discussion 1
  • Complete Critical Thinking Assignment 1