Experimental psychology


Among the wide range of social sciences we can find psychology , a discipline that focuses on the analysis and study of the way in which human beings behave, their behavior and all the processes that occur in the mind. human in certain situations. Psychology covers a very broad field that is divided into different branches, among them we can find experimental psychology.


What is experimental psychology?

Experimental psychology is one of the branches of psychology that is in charge of carrying out studies of different psychological phenomena and that is based on observation through scientific practice, manipulation and recording of all possible variables that affect a person. person.



The psychology experimental is a current that focuses on the use of the experimental method to understand and study the way human beings behave. It is a science that uses methods such as observation , manipulation, and proper recording of a great variety of variables that can exert some kind of influence on the object that is being studied. Experimental psychology can be considered as a controlled study also using a series of instruments that can guarantee precision in research.


Characteristics of experimental psychology

Among the most notable characteristics of experimental psychology are the following:

  • Use steps from the scientific method to draw conclusions.
  • You can examine and study the different relationships that exist between the behavior of man and the mind.
  • It is based on collecting facts .
  • Conduct studies based on memory and motivation .
  • The studies are done in controlled settings , in other words, research laboratories.
  • Provides statistical results.
  • Use test subjects.


The antecedents of experimental psychology begin between the years 1800 and 1850 when the sensory and motor nerves began to be differentiated . The birth of the sensory study of touch and vision as well as the development of the idea that said that the nervous system had the ability to establish a measurement between the world that surrounded a person and their mind.


With the beginning of the 19th century , the branch of psychology began to give more importance to studies focused on things that could be observed, thus using a type of science that was based more on observation and experimentation with facts. This type of psychology emerged in Germany , where the first experimental laboratory was created . In the year 1860, Gustav Fechner tried to prove that there was a link between the senses and physical magnitudes using experimental data, however, the true experimental psychology appeared until the year 1879.

Who is the father of experimental psychology

The father of experimental psychology was Wilhelm Wundt , a philosopher and researcher who managed to introduce the experimental method to carry out studies on the different mental processes of the human being-

What is it for

This type of psychology serves to be able to obtain answers to a series of questions related to the human mind and how it behaves and makes decisions influenced by its surroundings. It is used to evaluate the motivation of a human being to perform an action, it also studies learning , memory , human sensations , emotions and cognition . It looks for the way to be able to give an explanation to the phenomena that are related to the forms of learning and how the information arrives and is processed in the human mind.

What do you study

This type of psychology studies everything that is related to memory , with the ways of learning, the different sensations that man experiences, the way he perceives things, cognition , emotions and motivation . It looks for a way to be able to explain all those phenomena that are related to the way of obtaining , processing , learning and translating the information obtained.


The main objective of this science is to be able to carry out an analysis on the causal relationships that exist between the variables in order to understand human behavior and the way it behaves in different situations that are presented to it.


Among its main functions is to be able to carry out studies on the way in which the human being behaves through a series of experiments that can analyze different feelings of man in certain situations. It also has the function of being able to carefully observe the subjects under study while manipulating the variables to obtain results.

Areas of experimental psychology

The areas in which experimental psychology is based are the following:

Cognitive psychology

This type of psychology focuses mainly on the study from the cognitive point of view of man, in other words, it is responsible for studying the human mind and the processes that it follows in order to save knowledge. It analyzes the mind but at the same time takes into account learning , memory and perception to find out how different concepts are formed in the mind, logic and reasoning.

Affective psychology

It is responsible for studying the need for man to obtain affection from others, as this is an essential aspect to achieve survival . It focuses on the fact that man needs a certain amount of affection in order to obtain emotions and feelings.

Behavioral psychology

It studies behavior itself, and, together with behaviorism, they form a set of levels of organization that have the ability to provide feedback and complement each other to carry out studies on human behavior.

Educational psychology

It has its own theory about the learning of man in society because the theory says that the human being is also capable of learning outside the educational centers, when he is in contact with society.

Evolutionary Psychology

Also known as human development , it analyzes the changes that occur in people, trying to understand the life cycles that arise throughout the years of an individual’s life and the impact they cause on the mind.


The problem within experimental psychology refers to the matter that needs a solution . They are those elements that prevent the normal and functional performance of the processes from being developed as it interferes with them. The problems derive from the actions of the human being that always change and that, for this reason, produces a variety of new situations which can become problematic.


The theories of psychology experiment are mentioned below:

  • Structuralism , current that is related to the processes of perception , which are determined in the brain structures of the human body, which are obtained through a learning process.
  • Gestalt , theory that says that the human being is more than simply the union of the parts. Use the experience of the observer to objectively describe the scene data. 
  • Behaviorism , a current that focused on perceptual experience in order to increase the possibility of explaining the experiments.
  • Cognitive psychology that focuses on the studies of the processes that can transform the way in which information reaches the subject . A science that showed that information could be decomposed to control it.

Experimental Psychology Laboratory

This type of laboratory is a tool used by experimental psychology in order to obtain greater, objective and reliable knowledge about the different phenomena and elements that affect human behavior. It is the place where the experimental method is developed to obtain greater knowledge and understanding of the way of behaving and acting of man.


The main importance of experimental psychology is that it has been proven that, thanks to it, it is possible to obtain accurate and safe knowledge about the subject under study in order to get to the truth and to know what moves the human being to have a certain type of behavior .


Among its main representatives we mention:

  • William James
  • Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt
  • Stanley Hall
  • Harry harlow


An example of this type of psychology was known as the Monster Study applied to orphaned children. One group that spoke well was given positive therapy while the other group, who were stutterers, were given negative therapy. Children in the group who spoke well showed difficulties while those in the group who stuttered improved considerably.

Books on Experimental Psychology

Some books that cover the subject are:

  • Experimental psychology, methodological approach (FJ McGuigan)
  • Experimental psychology, research methods (FJ McGuigan)
  • History and method of experimental psychology (Paul Fraisse and Jean Piaget)
  • Elements of experimental psychology (A. Álvarez Villar)

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