Compare and contrast structuralism and functionalism schools of psychology

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Compare and contrast structuralism and functionalism schools of psychology

Since time immemorial, men and women have pondered over questions that are psychological in nature. From the early Egyptians to the ancient Greek philosophers, there has been no letup in efforts to understand human thought and behavior. Yet, in spite of its long past, the formal history of psychology dates back only years to — the year when Wilhelm Wundt opened the doors of the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany.

As a result of this significant move, Wundt is widely regarded as the founder of psychology. He went on to become the first of several spirited speakers to engage in an ongoing debate over what should be the focus of psychology.

The history of psychology is indeed short, but it has never been short of drama. Tichener, who formally established this psychological school of thought.

Anil Pinto: Main differences between Structuralism and Post-Structuralism

Structuralism, as the name suggests, was centered on investigating the structure of the mind. Wundt believed that psychology should focus on breaking down consciousness into its basic elements, in much the same way a child would pull apart a toy to reveal its component parts. The idea of determining the specific structure of something so abstract and dynamic as the mind may seem absurd to many today.

Yet, structuralists were confident that not only could they accomplish this goal, but that they could do so scientifically.

Introspection involves looking inwards; reflecting on, analyzing and trying to make sense of our own internal experiences as they occur. Reports would then be examined to determine the basic elements of consciousness.

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For example, if you were presented with a slice of cake, it would not be enough to simply identify the type of food before you. You would also need to explain the basic elements of the cake that you able to sense. For example, you might describe the taste, smell, texture, colour, and shape of the cake in as much detail as possible.

Structuralism played a significant role in shaping the field of psychology during its formative years. Wundt and his followers helped to establish psychology as an independent experimental science and their emphasis on scientific methods of inquiry remains a key aspect of the discipline today.

Nevertheless, structuralists could not escape criticism. Despite their noble attempt at scientific investigation, introspection was less than ideal because no two persons perceive the same thing in exactly the same way. Some of the fiercest criticisms of structuralism came from the person of William James, one of the leading proponents of the functionalist perspective.

Functionalism From the point of view of American scholar William James, structuralists were sorely misguided. The mind is fluid, not stable; consciousness is ongoing, not static. Attempts to study the structure of the mind would therefore be futile at worst and frustrating at best.

Function in this sense can mean one of two things — first, how the mind operates — that is, how the elements of the mind work together — and second, how mental processes promote adaptation.

Compare and contrast structuralism and functionalism schools of psychology

Clearly influenced by the teachings of Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection survival of the fittestJames believed that mental processes serve vital functions that enable us to adapt and survive in a changing world.

It extended both the subject matter of psychology as well as the range of methods use to acquire data. Functionalists are also credited with bringing the study of animals, children and abnormal behaviour into psychology, as well as an emphasis on individual differences Hergenhahn, In addition, while the structuralists established psychology as a pure science, the functionalists broadened this narrow focus by also concentrating on the practical application of psychology to real-world problems.

Nevertheless, functionalists had their share of flaws. Psychoanalysis Mention the word psychology, and few persons would fail to recall Sigmund Freud. Like the structuralists and functionalists before him, Freud believed in studying covert behavior, but unlike his predecessors, Freud was not content with examining only conscious thought; he dived head-first into the unconscious.

Freud compared the human psyche to an iceberg — only a small portion is visible to others with most of it lying below the surface.Jun 14,  · structuralism reduced the conscious to its elementary components in order to analyze its processes.

Compare and contrast structuralism and functionalism schools of psychology

While functionalism looks at the components of consciousness as a whole in order to analyze. And to compare, both schools used some form of introspection as a tool for Resolved.

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Difference between structuralism and functionalism | Difference Between Posted on October 6, by libbyayres As soon as psychology started to gain scientific relevance, so started the debate over how it was most appropriate to describe behavior and the human mind. This sparked the still continuing debate, Structuralism vs.

Compare and contrast Titchener's and Wundt aproaches to psychology TEST: Wundt What contributions has Titchener's structuralism made to psychology?

Criticisms of structuralism. Compare and contrast these three perspectives (specific theories) of early psychology. Structuralism, Functionalism. The Different schools of psychology Structuralism- the first school of thought headed by Wilhelm Wundt, a German, and later by E.B.

Titchener started in when experimental psychology was gaining more incentive. Essay Title: Compare and Contrast Functionalism and Marxism. 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. Functionalism, Behaviorism, and Evolutionary Psychology: Rise, fall, and contributions to developmental psychopathology.

The history of psychology is filled with the rise and fall of different schools of thought, from structuralism to humanistic psychology, each of which has contributed greatly to the development of the field of psychology.

Functionalism and structuralism compare and contrast essay