It is undeniable that the foundation of Wilhelm Wundt’s Institute of Experimental Psychology and the introduction of Darwin’s new theory of evolution as descried in Origin of Species has had a huge impact on the development of the modern discipline of Psychology and on society today. In this essay I will examine Wilhelm Wundt’s Institute of Experimental Psychology and Darwin’s theory of evolution from Origin of Species. I will look at what they included and the effect they had on Psychology and society at the time they were published and their influence years after.
Firstly I will assess the impact of the new theory of evolution as described in Darwin’s Origin of Species. Before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, evolution was…show more content… Richards (2010, p.34-36.) discusses some of the scientific implications. He states that “Humans were descended from primates and could thus be considered zoologically. They were not semi-divine and beyond the remit of science.” Richards also discusses degeneration, meaning “if natural selection is suspended, ‘unfit’ organisms survive and reproduce, the quality of the population declines and ‘degenerate’ lines are established.” Some of the social implications of The Origin of Species include the emergence of Social Darwinism and Eugenics. Social Darwinism attempts to apply evolutionary theory to social and political matters. It implies that stronger people should see their wealth and position in society improve, while the weak will see their wealth and power decrease. The opposite of this is the belief that any group who is seen to thrive is superior to those who do not. Social Darwinism has been associated with regressive social policies, racism and imperialism. Eugenics is the attempt to improve the overall quality of the human race. Positive eugenics is encouraging those with desired hereditary traits to reproduce. Negative eugenics is preventing those with undesirable traits from…show more content… This is a very influential school of thought in psychology. According to Downes (2014) “Evolutionary psychology is one of many biologically informed approaches to the study of human behavior. Along with cognitive psychologists, evolutionary psychologists propose that much, if not all, of our behavior can be explained by appeal to internal psychological mechanisms.” Evolutionary Psychology is based around four arguments: (1) that evolution has not just changed the body but also the brain, the way it works and the behaviour it produces; (2) these changes have occurred as psychological adaptations designed to solve problems that in the past have contributed to survival and reproduction; (3) these psychological adaptations and their by-products are active in modern environments that differ from ancestral environments; (4) the idea that psychological mechanisms have adaptive functions is a necessary component for a comprehensive psychological science. (Buss,