Each episode of Psychologia examines a new facet of human behavior and the stories, laws, and research behind it.

Psychologia, a History

The term psychology is derived from the Greek, psukhe, meaning "breath, spirit, soul," and logia, meaning the "study of" or "research." 

Iterations of psychology date back thousands of years, and a brief history of the word itself reveals a great deal about its origin and intent. The earliest appearance of the term psychologia can be traced to the long-lost late 15th century text Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae, written by the Croatian humanist-poet Marko Marulic. The first recorded use of the English word psychology occurred in 1694 when Steven Blankaart wrote The Physical Dictionary concerning both "Anatomy, which treats the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul". 

The earliest known literary reference to psychology appears in the seventh line of this catalogue of Marulic's works, spelled psichiologia

Dr. Benjamin Rush's "tranquilizing chair", an early psychiatric restraint

Dr. Benjamin Rush's "tranquilizing chair", an early psychiatric restraint

The 18th century saw therapeutic measures rise to the forefront of the discipline, with an increase in treatment of the mind through moral lessons. This shift is evinced by the work of Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independent. 

In more modern times, psychology became increasingly academic, originally defined as "the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions" by William James in 1890, and then as a science whose "theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior" by John Watson in 1913.

The subject itself has long been a topic of fascination, mystery, and study as we strive to understand the causes for our own actions and those of others. As the word psychology has evolved, so too has the science supporting it. Through observation, psychoanalysis, humanism, behaviorism, and neuroscience, the attempt to untangle the ephemeral web of human motivation has progressed across time, slowly bringing us closer to understanding ourselves.

Your host, Amaia Perta, has a master's of science in forensic psychology and is a graduate of Bard College and a former student at UCLA.   

All episodes are created and produced by Amaia Perta, with writing help from Mario Rivera. Sound design and original music composition is done by Cambron Carter.

Come explore the science behind why we do what we do.

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