What is psychology? There is little dispute about the broad definition of psychology as the study and understanding of human behavior, cognitive processes, experience, and emotion. However, the history of psychology has been colorful, peppered with disputes about how such understanding and study should be done. The different views on the “how” of psychology have impacted on the psychological study of religion.
This entry will highlight some important features of the history of psychology and suggest how these features may have impacted on the psychological understanding of religion.
Psychology and the Early Study of Religion
In its early days, in the nineteenth and very early twentieth centuries, psychologists had no problems with asking people to introspect or report on their “inner” experiences. Two often-cited examples are (1) the Wurzburg school (Wundt 1902), who asked for detailed introspective reports on what went through people’s minds when they saw a picture, for example, or...
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