The history of Experimental psychology is as old as Psychology. The founding of the Experimental laboratory in Leipzig by William Wundt (1832 -1920) in 1879 was a significant and important contribution to the developing school of psychology.
It was significant. Because it was the beginning of psychology no longer being viewed as an offshoot of philosophy and biology. But science in its own right. It was the foundation of many off sprang concepts in the field of psychology such as functionalism and behaviourism.
Experimental psychology presents us with a concept that the mind could be broken into elements and components. This process of experimentation was known as structuralism. This new concept put forth a new understanding called introspection.
The introspection concept pointed out that it was not caused by causal events. But it was a high practice of examination of the self. The experimental laboratory became a centre of study for students all over the world. It became the focal point for a person interested in this new science.
The practice of experimental psychology made use of highly trained associates from all over. They were often given ticking metronome as a stimulus and were asked to reflect on their experiences. The experimental laboratory provided training for 186 graduate student and about two-thirds became a psychologist.
However among the students that graduated very few earned Ph.Ds. The experimental method is relevant in this day age because it has made a significant contribution to developmental psychology. Its contribution in the areas of mental functioning such as thought process, images, and feeling is a very important part of the school of Cognitive Psychology.The experimental method was also significant in its contribution to behaviorism.
It was the research provided by the experimental method that played a major part in thinking of modern behaviorist. Behaviorist utilized the experimental method as scientific approach in developing and accessing behavior.
As we examine greater into the system and the work of Wundt, we see that there is a great relationship between philosophy and psychology. Many believed the work and even the laboratory itself provided an extensive philosophical and psychological system. Araugo (2012) point out that the two the main aspects of psychological analysis in Wundt’s work are logical causality and psychophysical.
The experimental science of psychology was to do research in controlled conditions. McLeod (2008) explains that the approach encouraged behaviourist in later research to follow the same example in order to find their studies more scientific. McLeod further goes on to say however many psychologists such as B. F. Skinner argued that introspection was subjective and unable to be verified and observable behaviour.
The most reliable way to measure behaviour objectively. Even though Wundt will always be seen as the founder of experimental psychology. It has secured a place in the science of psychology even he believed that the experimental approach was limited.