University of Warsaw - Central Authentication System
Strona główna

History of Psychology

General data

Course ID: 2500-EN_O_40
Erasmus code / ISCED: 14.4 Kod klasyfikacyjny przedmiotu składa się z trzech do pięciu cyfr, przy czym trzy pierwsze oznaczają klasyfikację dziedziny wg. Listy kodów dziedzin obowiązującej w programie Socrates/Erasmus, czwarta (dotąd na ogół 0) – ewentualne uszczegółowienie informacji o dyscyplinie, piąta – stopień zaawansowania przedmiotu ustalony na podstawie roku studiów, dla którego przedmiot jest przeznaczony. / (0313) Psychology The ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) code has been designed by UNESCO.
Course title: History of Psychology
Name in Polish: History of Psychology
Organizational unit: Faculty of Psychology
Course groups: obligatory courses for 3 year
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available) Basic information on ECTS credits allocation principles:
  • the annual hourly workload of the student’s work required to achieve the expected learning outcomes for a given stage is 1500-1800h, corresponding to 60 ECTS;
  • the student’s weekly hourly workload is 45 h;
  • 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work needed to achieve the assumed learning outcomes;
  • weekly student workload necessary to achieve the assumed learning outcomes allows to obtain 1.5 ECTS;
  • work required to pass the course, which has been assigned 3 ECTS, constitutes 10% of the semester student load.

view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

obligatory courses

Short description:

The course traces some of the major developments in psychology from the scientific revolution to the present day.

Full description:

Psychology has always straddled the borderlines between the natural and the social sciences. In a sense one can say that psychology originated from the rise of mechanism in the 16th century. The category of consciousness seemed to defy mechanism according to some, while others set out to reduce the mental to the material. In another period, the 19th century, the theory of evolution made inroads into the introspective philosophy of mind, and introduced new approaches to the study of behavior. In fact some thought the proper object of psychology was behavior instead of consciousness. Psychology has exhibited interesting ambiguities both about its own nature, but also in relation to scientific method. It is these ambiguities and the developments surrounding the various approaches to psychological problems that the course will trace out. The following topics are subject of the lectures:

1.The Scientific revolution as the birthplace of modern psychology

2. Consciousness. Mind and body, materialism and spiritualism

3. The experimental method and the rise of psychology in the 19th century

4. Man’s place in nature. The theory of evolution and its influence on psychology

5. The suffering mind. Mental health, medicine and psychology

6. The psychological society. The penetration of psychology in the workplace, culture and our personal life

7. Behaviorism and the cognitive revolution. The elimination and return of the mind.

8. Brain as mind. The rise of the cognitive neurosciences and its implications for the mind

These topics are dealt with in the context of the development of the sciences and will take into account relevant cultural changes and their impact on psychology.


A course manual with details on what to read per topic is made available at the beginning of the course. The main book that is used for the current course is: Leahey, A History of Psychology: From Antiquity To Modernity, (7th ed.).

Learning outcomes:

To become familiar with some major developments in psychology since the 16th century, the period of the scientific revolution. To acquire knowledge about context in which psychology developed, both the intellectual, scientific and social-cultural context. To gain understanding of contemporary psychological science as the outcome of historical and ongoing developments

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Assessment is based on a short paper and a written exam at the end of the course. The exam makes up 65% of the final grade and the paper 35%.

The exam consists of several open non-essay questions based on the lectures and recommended readings listed in the course manual.

For the paper, the students will collect 1-2 papers from the internet from the history of psychology, and write a review of about 1800 words, placing these papers in their context and explaining their position in the development of psychology. Grading criteria for the paper and guidelines for the presentations are made available in the beginning of the course.

There is mandatory attendance requirement for the lectures and seminar meetings. Students can miss 2 lectures without it having any consequences for passing/ failing the course. If they miss 3 of the lectures, they can make up for the missed extra lecture by means of an additional assignment. If students miss 4 or more of the lectures, they will have automatically failed the course. The same rules apply to the seminar meetings.

Students must respect the principles of academic integrity. Cheating and plagiarism (including copying work from other students, internet or other sources) are serious violations that are punishable and instructors are required to report all cases to the administration.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.
Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28
00-927 Warszawa
tel: +48 22 55 20 000
contact accessibility statement USOSweb (2023-02-27)