Structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related Work concerned sensation and perception in vision, hearing, and touch. The structuralists depended on the method of introspection, or the careful, systematic self-observation of one’s own conscious experience.
Introspection required training to make the subject—the person being studied—more objective and more aware. Once trained, participants were typically exposed to stimuli under carefully controlled and systematically varied conditions and were asked to analyze what they experienced.
Functionalism was based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of consciousness, rather than its structure. The chief impetus for the emergence o f functionalism was the work of William James (1842–1910),
Consciousness consists of a continuous flow of thoughts. In analyzing consciousness into its elements, the structuralists were looking at static points in that flow. James wanted to understand the flow itself, which he called the stream of consciousness.
Differences between the two schools of thought:
Whereas structuralists naturally gravitated to the research lab, functionalists were more interested in how people adapt their behavior to the demands of the real world around them. Instead of focusing on sensation and perception, functionalists such as James McKeen Cattell and John Dewey began to investigate mental testing, patterns of development in children, the effectiveness of educational practices, and behavioral differences between the sexes.
Functionalism fostered the development of two important descendants: behaviorism and applied psychology
Freud, the unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great infl uence on behavior.
Psychoanalytic theory attempts t o explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior.
The concept of the unconscious was a major departure from the prevailing belief that people are fully aware of the forces affecting their behavior. In arguing that behavior is governed by unconscious forces, Freud made the disconcerting suggestion that people are not masters of their own minds. Other aspects of Freud’s theory also stirred up debate. For instance, he proposed that behavior is greatly influenced by how people cope with their sexual urges.
The widespread popular acceptance of psychoanalytic theory essentially forced psychologists to apply their scientific methods to the topics Freud had studied: personality, motivation, and abnormal behavior.
Between 1913 and the late 1920s. Founded by John B. Watson (1878–1958), behaviorism is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behavior.
Watson (1913, 1919) proposed that psychologists abandon the study of consciousness altogether and focus exclusively on behaviors that they could observe directly. if psychology was to be a science, it would have to give up consciousness as its subject matter and become instead the science of behavior. Behavior refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism. Watson asserted that psychologists could study anything that people do or say—shopping, playing chess, eating, complimenting a friend. However, according to Watson, they could not study scientifically the thoughts, wishes, and feelings that might accompany these observable behaviors.
Nature vs. Nurture
Watson argued that each is made, not born. In other words, he downplayed the importance of heredity. He maintained that behavior is governed primarily by the environment.
Influenced by Ivan Pavlov’s discovery of the conditioned refl ex (see Chapter 6), the behaviorists eventually came to view psychology’s...
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