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verstehende Psychologie

understanding psychology (German): an approach to psychology advocated by German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911). Dilthey argued that psychology belonged to the human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften) as opposed to the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and that its goal was therefore understanding (Verstehen) rather than explanation in terms of natural laws. For psychology, the object of understanding is lived experience (Erlebnis), and the goal must be articulation of the meaning of the experience from the perspective of the person living it. This approach was influential in the development of phenomenology, modern hermeneutics, and existential psychology. See Geisteswissenschaftliche Psychologie; Naturwissenschaftliche Psychologie.

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Psychology term of the day

June 19th 2024



n. in infants, lack of psychomotor response or failure to gain weight or produce purposeful behavior, often thought to be a response to separation from mothers and subsequent institutionalization. See also reactive attachment disorder.