University of Petroleum & Energy Studies
College of Legal studies
Academic YEAR: 2014
Under the Supervision of PRIYANKA SHARMA
Major Schools Of Thought In Psychology And Their Contributions 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 behavior began. Structuralism emerged as the first school of thought and some of the ideas associated with the structuralism school were advocated by the founder of the first psychology lab, Wilhelm Wundt. One of Wundt's students, an man named Edward B. Tichener, would later go on to formally establish and name structuralism, although he broke away from many of Wundt's ideas. Almost immediately other theories surfaced to vie for dominance in psychology. In response to structuralism, an American perspective known as functionalism emerged under the influence of thinkers such as Charles Darwin and William James. In 1906, Mary Whiton Calkins published an article in Psychological Review asking for reconciliation between these two schools of thought. Structuralism and functionalism were not so different, she argued, since both are principally concerned with the conscious self. Despite this, each side continued to cast aspersions. William James wrote that structuralism had "plenty of school, but no thought" (James, 1904), while Wilhelm Wundt dismissed functionalism as "literature." Eventually both of these schools of thought lost dominance in psychology, replaced by the rise of behaviorism, psychoanalysis, and humanism.
Structuralism was the first school of psychology and focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. Researchers tried to understand the basic elements of consciousness using a method known as introspection. Wilhelm Wundt, founder of the first psychology lab, is often associated with this school of thought despite the fact that it was his student Edward B. Titchener who first coined the term to describe this school of thought. Structuralism as an approach to the study of internal mental processes is attri- buted to Edward B. Titchener (1867-1927), who incidentally was a student of Wilhelm Wundt. Like his teacher and mentor, Edward B.Titchener was also interested in studying the mental processes along the line he was tutored in. He started by giving another definition of Psychology as the analytic study of the generalized adult normal human mind through introspection. To him the subject of Psychology is the immediate experiences of human beings. Therefore this meant that the main occupation of practicing psychologist is to work hard and to discover the elements and the manner in which they are compounded. This then formed the foundation of his approach, which became known as ‘structuralism’. Structuralism became very popular in Germany in the 1890’s among young psychologists. Instead of following the path of Wundt, ‘structuralists’ as they later became known; it sought to explain mental processes by studying the elements. This is because the subject matter of psychology is consciousness, and it can only be understood in terms of the structures or in terms of what it does. The argument Titchener advanced was that it is possible to study psychology and the consciousness by breaking it down into minute parts and then systematically studying them. This definitely entails breaking up the brain and then embarking on studying the consciousness. To Titchener, consciousness is the sum total of a person’s experiences at any given time. The mental elements are then the focus of any study. Later, he divided psychology into a number of parts, which he code-na- med the various areas as child, animal, abnormal and...
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