Although the discipline of psychology, in its contemporary form, is only a century old, psychology's historical antecedents reach back to the beginnings of civilization. Whether defined as the study of the soul or the study of human faculties, as it was in earlier times, or as the study of consciousness, mind, or behavior, as it has been over the past hundred years, psychology has dealt with some of the fundamental questions and issues pertaining to the functions, processes, and mechanisms of human and animal nature.

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Copyright © 1992 Pergamon Press. This book chapter first appeared in The Encyclopedia of Higher Education.

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