Psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Throughout psychology's history, a number of different schools of thought have formed to explain human thought and behavior. 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. Some of the major schools of thought in psychology are Structuralism, Functionalism, Gestalt psychology, Behaviorism, Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Psychology. Each school in psychology followed a certain viewpoint or perspective that defined it and its research and treatment methods. From each distinctive viewpoint there arose unique theories and concepts that can be seen applied widely in various fields in today’s world. These perspectives can be seen in contemporary fields within applied psychology like clinical psychology, social psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, industrial or organizational psychology, community psychology, consumer psychology, applied behavioral analysis, environmental psychology, legal psychology, military psychology, political psychology, religion psychology, sports psychology, school psychology, child psychology, adolescent psychology, geriatric psychology, personality psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, cross-cultural psychology and folk psychology. In addition to fields related to psychology, contemporary applications of the various schools in psychology are seen in non-psychology related disciplines such as business management, ergonomics, occupational health, interaction design, architecture, town planning, fashion designing, art, media, medicine, artificial intelligence etc.
THE SCHOOLS IN PSYCHOLOGY WITH THEIR CONTEMPORARY APPLICATIONS I. STRUCTURALISM
What is Structuralism?
Structuralism, also known as structural or content psychology, was a system of psychology that defined its subject matter as the study of consciousness or the normal adult mind. It was largely invented by Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) and championed in the United States by Edward Titchener (1867-1927). By 1930, it ceased to be a viable conceptualization of psychology. What is Introspection?
It can be said that the biggest contribution of structuralism seen today is its experimental method of introspection. Wilhelm Wundt defined introspection or internal perception as a highly controlled method by which a trained psychologist could presumably study the contents of immediate experience. In general, however, it refers to an individual’s reflection or contemplation of subjective experience. Contemporary Applications of Introspection:
The Field of Interactive Design: One contemporary application of introspection is in the field of interactive design which is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services (Cooper, et al., 2007). In this field, the Think-Aloud Protocol [TAP], derived from the method of introspection, is used to gather data in user-centered techniques like ‘usability testing’ where products and services like foods, consumer products, web sites or web applications, computer interfaces, documents, and devices are evaluated by testing it on users (Nielsen, 1994). In this protocol, investigators cue participants to speak their thoughts aloud in order to study an active thought process without forcing an individual to comment on the process itself (Hayes, 1986).
The Social Sciences: Introspection is also used in a range of social sciences like psychology and political science. It is used in process tracing is a method used to evaluate and develop theories in psychology and political science (Schulte-Mecklenbeck, 2011) and in usability studies which focus on perceived efficiency, elegance and usefulness of a product. The Field of Literature: Introspection is also used in fiction-writing used to convey a...
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