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Sports Psychologists


In the 17th century, French philosopher René Descartes described his belief that human behaviors could be classified in two ways—voluntary and involuntary. Those behaviors which were completely mechanical, instinctual, and similar to those of animals, he characterized as involuntary; behaviors which required or submitted to reason were characterized as voluntary. Based on this early model, and the subsequent work of others, including John Locke, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill, later philosophers and scientists experimented with sensation and perception, culminating with an introspective analysis of the many elements of an individual's experience.

William James advanced modern psychology by asserting the theory of a stream of thought; G. Stanley Hall, a contemporary of James, established the first true laboratory of psychology at Clark University in 1883. Sigmund Freud introduced the medical tradition to clinical psychology. A physician and neurologist, Freud's methods of psychoanalysis included word association techniques and later, inkblot techniques as developed by Hermann Rorschach.

After World War II, psychology became formally recognized as a profession. The American Psychological Association (APA) has developed standards of training for psychologists, and certification and licensing laws have been passed to regulate the practice of professional psychology.

Since psychology deals with human behavior, psychologists apply their knowledge and techniques to a wide range of endeavors including human services, management, law, and sports.

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