Structuralism: Founded by E. B. Titchener

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Unit 9 Project
Kaplan University

Professor Erica St. Germain
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Structuralism was founded by E.B. Titchener but only lasted two decades because of newer movements in the psychology; however it was still know as the first school of thought. Structuralism is a mode of thinking and a method of analysis practiced in the 20-centruy social sciences and humanities; it focuses on recurring patterns of thought and behavior, it seeks to analyse social relationships in terms of highly abstract relational structures. In other words structuralism is a study based on ones unconsciousness and observation, the things a person does, the way a person acts in his/her society, which is acted out unconsciously. Although there is a dispute between who is actually the founder of structuralism between Wundt and Titchener it is still considered a great contribution to psychology. Psychologist like James Gibson felt that his generation had no intentions of using the theory or method of structuralism. Just like many things in life structuralism was also criticised, “structuralism provided a strong, established orthodoxy against which newly developing movements in psychology could array their forces” (Schultz, 2011). All people think in to terms of opposites so as to classify-meaning we must be able to distinguish between our conscious and unconscious behaviours. Functionalism

Functionalism is concerned with the functions of the mind and how the organisms adapt to its environment (Schultz, 2011). It is something that we use in our everyday lives. Our minds functions according to what environment we are in, then our bodies react. To help with the understanding of how functionalism works here is an example: take for instance you put some figures into a calculator to be added (15+7). On one level what is happening in the calculator is dependent on the hardware; on the other level the calculator’s calculating the answer. But we have to remember that a calculator, computer, etc. is only as smart as the person inputting the information, what you put in is what you get out. Humans and animals use functionalism from day to day, in my opinion it’s a matter of survival. We can take the calculator example and translate it into terms of the brain. Mental states are dependent upon brain states in the same way that the function of a calculator is dependent on who is inputting the information to get the right answer and the hardware of the calculator. As Darwin stated, “a continuing struggle for survival takes place, and those life forms that do survive are the ones that have made successful adaptations or adjustments to the environmental circumstances to which they are exposed. In brief, species that cannot adapt do not survive” (Schultz, 2011). “ Behaviorism

“Behaviorism is the philosophical position that says that psychology, to be a science, must focus its attentions on what is observable -- the environment and behavior -- rather than what is only available to the individual -- perceptions, thoughts, images, feelings” (Boeree, 2000). I would say that behaviorism definitely has a lot to do with more than science, your thoughts, images, feelings and things that we learn are from what you feel therefore it determines how we behave as human beings or animals. However, Watson’s behaviorism was that of the first stage in the evolution of the behavioral school of thought. Behavior can be described and explained without making reference to mental events or to internal psychological processes. Take for example Hans the Wonder Horse, who was the only horse in the history of psychology. Hans was able to add and subtract due to a behavior that he learned which made him famous. Behaviors are caused by situations that we deal with day-to-day. Ivan M. Sechenov stated; “all behavior is caused by stimulation” (Boeree, 2000). There are ethical and unethical reasons to modify a person’s behavior....
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