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History of Psychological Assessment

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History of Psychological Assessment

Jeffrey K. Kelley

University of Phoenix


Instructor: Gregory Fabiano

In the study of the history of psychological assessment there are numerous educational systems and individuals who contributed to its expansions. Individual's such as Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution and his book called "The origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, then there was Galton's study of inherited differences, which laid the foundation for information to be gathered and stored for other to use in the future. Then there were the education systems such as occurred in China and later in Germany which helped bring education to the masses and not just a select few. As these researchers and leaders labored for better education for the masses and for more experiential research to be done they helped pave the way for others such as Wilhelm Max Wundt (1832-1920) who was responsible for establishing the first school of experimental psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany in the year of 1826 (Cohen & Swerdik,2010). Throughout the remainder of the paper I will examine the historical climate which brought about this establishment of this school and take a look at Wundt's methods of practice and his laboratory and finally examine how his contribution to psychology continues to impact us today.

Historical Foundation for Wundt's research

When Charles Darwin wrote his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" it caused a great stir across the nation and in many parts of the world, as it laid the basis for the theory that man and animals were not created by God but that they had evolved from other life forms and continue to evolve today. And though many disagreed with Darwin's theory of evolution, (and many disagree with it today) there was an additional benefit to the writing of his book and that is found in the fact that it caused many to realize and believe that the world is understandable and through research things can be explained and proven by science, and that it also can be controlled. As Darwin stressed his theory of evolution and genetic changes, his theory and writings led others such as Francis Galton to conduct research on the subject of heredity in sweet pea pods (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Through his research Galton would develop such criteria as anthropometric records which is essentially the measurements of height, arm span, strength of pull or squeeze, weight breathing capacity and many other such factors, and then the collection of such information collected and stored in educational institutions for the use of others in further research. Through his research Galton was able to show to the world that human behavior could be measured experimentally and then through the use of storing the discovered information could be quantified numerically as more research was gathered that would support the previous research. During this time of Darwin and Galton's research and the subsequent development of their various theories, the German educational system was superior to many other parts of the world and were responsible for doing most of the publication on science and chemistry and responsible for many of the scientific discoveries at that time. Then as these factors



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