Schools of Thought
Throughout psychology's history, a number of different schools of thought have been formed to explain human thought and behaviour. These schools of thought often rise to dominance for a period of time. While these schools of thought are sometimes perceived as competing forces, each perspective has contributed to our understanding of psychology. The following are some of the major schools of thought in psychology. •
Major Schools of Thought in Psychology
When psychology was first established as a science separate from biology and philosophy, the debate over how to describe and explain the human mind and behaviour began. The different schools of psychology represent the major theories within psychology. The first school of thought, structuralism, was advocated by the founder of the first psychology lab, Wilhelm Wundt. Almost immediately, other theories began to emerge and vie for dominance in psychology. In the past, psychologists often identified themselves exclusively with one single school of thought. Today, most psychologists have an eclectic outlook on psychology. They often draw on ideas and theories from different schools rather than holding to any singular outlook. The following are some of the major schools of thought that have influenced our knowledge and understanding of psychology: Structuralism and Functionalism
Structuralism was the first school of psychology, and focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. Major structuralist thinkers include Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener. The focus of structuralism was on reducing mental processes down into their most basic elements. Structuralists used techniques such as introspection to analyze the inner processes of the human mind. Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of the structuralist school of thought and was heavily influenced by the work of...
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