March 7, 2021
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.


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.

The 1920s saw experimental psychology come under intense criticism by those who believed that the process design was unable to take into account the independence of experiences of cultures, economics, and history. They believed by neglecting mental process and one could not get the full picture of behaviour. Critics believed that the process of experimentation in the psychological processing was inaccurate in representing human nature and that in the lead too much support to the social order.

Criticisms of the Experimental MethodExperimental psychology came under criticism because the method tried to predict individual behaviour by subjective observation as well as though the embellishment of similar circumstances expecting similar responses. Other reasons for the eventual fall of the structuralist process are because of the flaws in Wundt’s methodology due to the lack of reliability and agreement. One thing that is very important to realize is that concrete data is often difficult in psychology.
To ensure that all has been done to ensure much accuracy possible there was a need for multiple observers who could agree independently on the phenomenon. Critics pointed out that the biggest problem with Wundt’s experiments is that all his observers were his students which no doubt provided bias and inadequate outcomes.
Researchers today go to great lengths to make sure that research is impartial.
In addition, agreements are made prior to the research as well as those areas to be researched. This is done so that all parties making the observations can come to objective conclusions. In modern-day research of sensory and perceptual phenomena things such as vision, touch, smell and taste all stimuli that bring about responses; efforts are made to include objective parties and that agreement is research among those participating.

Experimental psychology was considered an intellectual achievement in the 1800s.In its time it may even be considered revolutionary because its concepts promulgated that if the mind can be broken down into components researchers could learn more about its responses. It was unlike philosophy saw life as ideas that are summed process of logical conclusions. Experimental psychology provided scientist with a way to deduct psychology concepts, develop theories and develop a process by which those theories could be tested.
There were many individuals that made major contributions; individuals such Ernst Weber who presented the idea that the differences in sensory judgment are not absolute but relative. Another person that is a great contributor is Gustav Fechner has been credited for publishing the works of experimental psychology. Oswald Kulpe, an assistant to Wundt, who founded Wurzburg School of Germany.
There will always be a place in the psyche of psychology for the experimental method.
The fall of this discipline has not over the years, stopped scientist from engaging in experiments to understand the human race better. Laboratories still exist as a necessary and regular process for proving and disproving theories.


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