Most modern psychology developed along the lines of John Locke's view that the source of human knowledge was experience. Locke believed that all information about the physical world comes through the senses and that all correct ideas can be traced to the sensory information on which they are based. However, some European psychologists remained loyal to Descartes' ideas that some mental organisation is innate and this concept still plays a role in theories of perception and cognition.

Complimentary to this philosophical background, psychology also received contributions from physiology. German physiologist Johannes Müller tried to relate sensory experience both to events in the nervous system and to events in the organism's physical environment. The first psychologists, Fechner and Wundt, introduced experimental methods for measuring sensations in terms of physical magnitude of the stimuli producing them, and in 1879 Wundt founded the first laboratory of experimental psychology. So, it was from this scientific climate that Freud developed his theories of psychoanalysis and dream interpretation, calling attention to the instinctual drives and unconscious motivational processes that determine people's behaviour.

Behind all of Freud's work, however, was his belief in the universal law of determinism. In terms of physical phenomena this may have been derived from his experience in Brucke's laboratory, - i.e. the school of Helmholtz. But in extending this into the field of mental phenomena he may have been influenced by his teacher, the psychiatrist Meynert and maybe the philosopher Herbart.

In comparison to his previous major theoretical work (The Interpretation of Dreams) written 15 years before, Freud now had some 25 years of psychoanalytic experience behind him, so not only were his ideas and theories more elaborate and developed but also had a more confident expression as his thoughts were being acknowledged. The fact that this writing coincided with the outbreak of the First World War also ensured he had a concentrated amount of leisure time - as his practice shrank - in which to write these papers and thus provide the stable theoretical basis for psychoanalysis.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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