Psychology, the study of human nature and behavior, has come a long way. In the nineteenth century, much of what was passed for psychological practice was based on guesswork. Contributions by many researchers and thinkers gave birth to the modern science of psychology. The objective of psychology is to figure out why people think, feel, act, and do what they do; to anticipate what, when, and how they will do it, and to change the parts of human behavior that cause us emotional, mental, and at times physical pain. .
Accomplishing this is much easier said than done. People perceive each other based on prior experiences, cultural values and beliefs. Psychologists often focus on the motives steering a person's behavior. They look for connections between things that happen and how people respond. Much like mystery buffs that believe motive in a whodunit is as important as who did it. Psychologists want to know, why do some, but not all abused children become abusive adults? How does a brain tumor affect someone's personality? Does watching too much violence on television lead to violent behavior? .
It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the Psychology community went beyond just thinking about human nature and started studying it. In 1879, William Wundt (considered the father of clinical psychology) founded the first psychological laboratory at the University of Lepzig, in Germany. This is where psychology as an academic discipline was born. It transformed psychology from a philosophy to a science, and forever changed the study of human behavior.
Not everything can be directly observed in a laboratory. Human activities, such as, reasoning, creating, or dreaming are private; we assume they happen, but we can't see them. Because human beings are so complex and multi-layered, physiologists have theories for just about everything from learning to child development, from memory to mental illness.