Functionalism And Structuralism Essay

1252 words - 6 pages

Cathia A. Scicluna 1.10 24.10.14Assignment: write at least 250 words on structuralism and functionalismStructuralism and FunctionalismPsychology is a relatively new science, its first experimental laboratories being built in the late 19th century, Wilhelm Wundt being one of the first to establish his experimental laboratories in 1879. Thus the fist schools of thought debated over how the human mind and behaviour should be described. Structuralism and functionalism where such 2 primitive schools of thought that looked upon the human behaviour from 2 completely different perspectives.The first school of thought was that of Structuralism, founded by Edward Bradford Titchener. Although Titchener ...view middle of the document...

Introspection was the preferred method amongst many psychologists. This was due to the fact that it came directly from the person experiencing the phenomena and that by analyzing these reports, psychologists could better understand the structure of the mind.Psychology had its birth through structuralism. This school of thought gave us a way of interpreting and understanding human behaviour even though their approach was not very 'scientific-based' as it is very subjective. Structuralism had also established the foundation for the future researchers, laying out outlines of what to do and what not to do. However, Structuralism was heavily criticized by people at the time. Many labelled it as pointless as it tried to discover "what is there" and "in what quantity" and not why it is there in the first place or what is its function. There is no sure answer as different results will be produced depending on who uses it (patient and psychologist) and for what purpose.Functionalism, although developing as a reaction to structuralism took a different approach on understanding the mind and human behaviour. Founded by William James, this school of thought focused more on the function of our actions, behaviour, thoughts and emotions rather than their components. Functionalists contradicted the teachings laid out by the Structuralists, saying that functions of consciousness were always changing and hence, had no basic structure of their own. William James was heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. In fact he and many other functionalists stressed the importance of adaptive behaviour and how man's consciousness led to adaptive behaviour which is vital for survival. Their ideas were that nurture dominated nature because a person's behaviour differed according to his/her surroundings which shaped him/her over the years of his/her life. Another theory of James' was that our habits are not innate, but learnt through life by repeating the same action for a number of times. An example of this is opening a door, which gets easier to do the more times you do it. His theories managed to incorporate the principle of evolution and the adaptability of a human being. This concept then helped in the development of applied...

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