The origin and development of the psyche in phylogenesis, the...

The origin and development of the psyche in phylogeny

The emergence of the psyche. Criterion of mental reflection

Man - a special and highest stage of development of life on Earth. He is endowed with consciousness as the highest form of mental reflection. For centuries, people have speculated and argued: is man different from other representatives of the animal world or is it the product of a continuing billions of years of hypothetical evolution? There is no single answer to this question until now. Most modern scientists accept Darwin's evolutionary theory of the origin of species and believe that a person has occurred, separated from the animal world through natural selection. In psychology, this problem is considered in the aspect of the emergence and development of the psyche in phylogeny.

Phylogeny (from the Greek phyle - genus, tribe and genesis - origin) - is the gradual change of various forms of the organic world in the process of evolution.

There were many points of view as to when and at what stage of the evolution of life the psyche arose. According to one of them, the psyche is inherent in all nature, making it spiritualized (J. Robine, G. Fechner). This theory was called panpsychism. Other scientists linked the psyche only with the appearance of man - anthropopsihism (R. Descartes). It was also widely believed that the psyche is a property of all living matter - biopsychism (E. Haeckel, W. Wundt). These views did not receive any theoretical justification or proper experimental confirmation.

In the domestic psychology, the original teaching on the origin and development of the psyche in phylogeny was developed by AN Leontiev.

Living matter, even in the simplest forms, differs substantially from the inanimate nature of the nature of interactions.

In inanimate nature the interaction of one object with others contributes to their destruction or transformation into something else. So the interaction of water with air at an appropriate temperature leads to its evaporation, the interaction of metals with oxygen - to their oxidation.

With the advent of living matter the nature and functions of the interaction of the organism with the environment change fundamentally. Interaction in the form of metabolism has become a necessary condition for the preservation of life. In the process of evolution in living organisms, the ability to select the necessary substances from the environment and react to them has formed, which made the body active in the course of metabolism. Activity manifests itself in a special property of living organisms - irritability.

Irritability is a dopsychic form of reflecting the external environment, manifested in the response to substances (biotic) necessary to maintain the existence of the organism.

The conditions of life at the stage of pre-mental reflection are such that the organism does not need a special orienting search activity. He was able to reflect only a narrow circle of external influences - those on which his existence depends. Such impacts are called biotic. The response reaction is also carried out only on biotic stimuli. Dopsychic reflection takes place in plants and some elementary forms of life, intermediate between plant and animal life. At the stage of dopsychic life, organisms are only capable of a specific type of movements, which are called tropisms.

Tropisms are movements in a certain direction under the influence of biologically significant stimuli. Tropisms can be positive - movements to conditions necessary for life, or negative - movements from conditions harmful to the body.

Examples of tropisms: the movement of plants to the sun ( phytotrophism ); the movement of the roots deep into the soil, where there is moisture and substances necessary for life ( geotropism ); movement to heat ( thermotropism ).

Organisms that are irritable, live in a strictly defined environment, where there are all the conditions necessary for life. But the environment is constantly changing, violating the existing ways of interaction between the body and the environment. If one or another species begins to lack the necessary conditions for metabolism, it will either die out, or change the form of interaction with the environment.

The complication of living conditions (the emergence from the aquatic environment on land, lack of food resources, etc.) required the improvement of forms of adaptive behavior, the expansion of reflective functions and the transition from elementary tropisms to more complex behavioral acts that could provide search important for life conditions of existence. Organisms begin to react not only to biotic stimuli, but also to those that are themselves indifferent, abiotic, but can signal the appearance of biologically significant agents. They perform signal and orienting functions in the life of organisms. A new form of reflection was called sensitivity.

Sensitivity is the ability of an organism to respond to abiotic substances that perform a signal function with respect to substances of biological significance.

A new property of organic matter - mental reflection, characteristic of the animal life form. psyche emerged as a special property, consisting in the active reflection of objective reality and self-regulation on this basis of its behavior.

The world of objects, which the body was able to perceive, significantly expanded, which increased the adequacy of its orientation in the environment. There is a new kind of behavior - active search for a biologically significant object, which is signaled by an abiotic stimulus.

The appearance of sensitivity determined a higher, qualitatively new level of reflection of objective reality and, according to the hypothesis of A. II. Leontief, acts as an objective criterion for the emergence of the psyche.

The variety of external conditions of life, their constant change have become the reason for the further development of the psyche, the appearance of its new, more perfect forms.

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