Five Schools of Psychology Through Comparison and Wilhelm Wundt

Topics: Psychology, Mind, Unconscious mind Pages: 5 (1564 words) Published: November 29, 2010
Five Schools of Psychology through Comparison
and Wilhelm Wundt

Krystal Ransome

PSY 401: Physiological Psychology
Dr. Fred Bleck

November 7, 2005

Modern psychology has many divisions and a lot of history only to say that it is relatively new in comparison to other sciences. This paper is to look at five of the major schools of psychology through their histories and theories and some comparison of them. This paper will also look at Wilhelm Wundt and make a case of him being the greatest psychologist. Krystal Ransome

PSY 401 – History and Systems
Dr. F. Bleck
November 7, 2005

Five Schools of Psychology through Comparison and Wilhelm Wundt Modern Psychology has a lot of history and divisions to say that it is relatively new in comparison to the other fields of scientific study. For this paper, five of schools of psychology will be studied. In addition, Wilhelm Wundt will be studied, and a case will be made for him to be considered the greatest of all psychologists. Structuralism came during a time when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first school devoted to psychology in Leipzig, Germany, in the year 1875. Wundt was not seeking to start to a school, or theory, of psychology but to establish a center of teaching and learning for psychology. Wundt would not name the movement because he felt that he was doing “psychology without qualification.”[1] Wundt’s German students later named Wundt’s psychology Ganzheit psychology, or “holistic” psychology. However, Edward Titchener named his version of Wundt’s psychology structuralism in order to distinguish he was doing from those of the American functionalism movement, which Titchener also named. Structuralism, as Titchener knew it, was alive and well until Titchener’s unexpected death in 1927.[2] Overall, Structuralism dealt with the conscious mind and breaking down the mind into basic elements that could be described. The structuralists saw psychology as having a task to discover and describe the elements of consciousness and “determine how they combine to produce the more complicated structures.”[3] Structuralism, as Titchener knew and studied, not only dealt with the basic elements but also looked at different sensations and experiences to figure out what were the basic elements and how those elements fit together. Functionalism, like Structuralism, was not founded to be a separate school but out of a backlash to Wundt. Most Functionalists did not agree with Wundt especially when it came to what to study concerning the mind and conscious. For the Functionalists and the Functionalism movement, the main theme was to study how the mind functions, not just its structures. Functionalism can trace its roots back to Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, and the animal psychology experiments of the 1870s and 1880s,[4] but William James was the one who truly gave rise to functionalism in American with his ideas as John Dewey firmly established it with his essay on the reflex arc.[5] Functionalism was never an organized school because many of those who were considered functionalists were heading into different directions. Functionalism eventually faded away, but out of functionalism came applied psychology and the testing movement. As stated in the previous paragraph, functionalism was about studying the functions of the mind, not just its structures. In addition, functionalists were interested in an organism’s mental functions and capabilities. Like structuralism, functionalism concerned itself with the conscious mind, but unlike structuralism, observation was not enough for studying the conscious mind. This is where the testing movement came in to being because most people during the time of World War II were interested in seeing how and where a person could fit in and/or what role or capacity the person could fulfill. In addition, intelligence testing became popular as Alfred Binet devised his tests to determine how...
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