Structuralism and Functionalism

Topics: Edward B. Titchener, Wilhelm Wundt, Psychology Pages: 3 (649 words) Published: August 26, 2013

Structuralism and Functionalism
Cesar De La Riva
National University
Psychology 426 – History of Psychology
Professor Mary Rogers

Structuralism and Functionalism
The 20th Century has provided people today with the ability to sit down, turn on a computer and educate themselves on a historical subject such as psychology, up to its present state. Psychology was established as a science, structuralism and functionalism emerged as theories to explain how the human mind works. Structuralism was the first school of thought as the ideas were associated and advocated by the founder of the first psychology lab, Wilhelm Wundt. Soon after, many other theories began to surface with their own ideas to gain dominance in psychology. Charles Darwin and William James later provided their own perspective to counter structuralism, calling it functionalism. Despite structuralism and functionalism’s different view-points, they both had similarities and ultimate concern with the conscious self.

Structuralism was the first American school of thought and lasted approximately 20 years” (Schultz, D.P, Schultz, S.E, 2012). Edward Bradford Titchener, a student of Wilhelm Wundt, later became a professor at Cornell University, first introduced his idea of psychology and called it structuralism. His ideas emphasized on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. Titchener believed that this method would help discover the nature of conscious experiences. This writer believes this was the uniqueness between structuralism and functionalism because functionalism focused on the purpose of consciousness and behavior, rather than the elements. As structuralism surfaced many researchers tried to understand the basic through a method known as introspection. This writer believes Wundt, who founded the first psychology lab, is also often referred to as the founder of structuralism, even though his student, Titchener created the term to describe the school of thought....

References: Schultz, D. P., Schultz, S. E. (2012). A history of modern psychology (10th Ed.) Wadsworth, Cengage Learning
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