School of Thought

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When psychology was first established as a science it separated from biology and philosophy, the debate over how to describe and explain the human mind and behavior began. 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. The following are some of the major thought that have influenced our knowledge and understanding of psychology: Structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism: Structuralism:

Structuralism was the first school of psychology, and focused on breaking down mental process into the most basic component, Major structuralism thinkers include Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchner. This school of thought was based on the notion that the object of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related. Structuralism explores many aspects of the mind; thought research is mainly concerned with sensation and perception in vision, hearing and touch. Through the method of introspection, or the systematic observation of one’s own conscious experience, subjects were trained and the exposed to different visual stimuli, optical illusion and auditory tones. They were then asked to analyze what they experienced. During the first two or three decades of psychology, structural psychology was the psychology. It provided psychology with a strong scientific identity within the academic community. Structuralism was the dominant school of psychology in Germany, and was led by Wundt and Titchener. The main critique of structuralism was it focused on introspection as the method by which to gain an understanding

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of conscious experience. Critics argue that self analysis was not feasible, since introspective students cannot appreciate the process or mechanism of their own mental process.
Functionalism:
Functionalism formed as a reaction to...
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